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Backpacking is an escape from everday life for me. I grow tired of being told what to do, how to do it, and why I did it wrong. There is a certain freedom when backpacking. You can pretty much do whatever you want whenever you feel like it. I guess there are a few rules: Don't pee in a stream, Don't set a forest fire, and Don't litter. But I have never been inclined to do so anyway. Along with this freedom and lack of mental harassment, you can think. Not just about what comes on T.V. tonight or whether you want a Big Mac or Quarter pounder w/ cheese for lunch, but really think about stuff. What kinda person you want to be? or What do you want to do with your life? You know the questions you always put off because you are busy with more important stuff. I am not sure that the sole cause in this change in mental state is the lack of mental harassment however. Your mind is supplied with positive reinforcements. Halfway up the side of a mountain, you think there is no way I can do this and that the mountain will never end. But the mountains alway do, and you are amazed that you made it to the summit. You take in the summits view, and you can almost feel the self-confidence building inside of you. There is also a physical reward with climbing those mountains. Your muscles get stronger and your body's endurance increases.
Another cause of this mental change is the direct effect of nature. Once you remove the boundaries we put up between nature and ourselves(houses, cars, roads, ets.) you realize that there is alot more out there. Humans are not the only living thing on this earth. We are just a small part of huge diverse collection of living things. You notice all the the insects and animals and how they all fit together. The only things they want are food, water, and shelter. These are the same things you work for when you enter their world. When you can't go to the kitchen and pour a glass of water, you begin to appreciate water. And it is not just water, you eventually appreciate all the simple things in life. I think this is one of the greatest rewards from backpacking. I stop acting like a spoiled brat, when I have to wait in traffic for a half an hour or when my pizza that I ordered is a little late. I just feel lucky that I have a car or that I can order a pizza at all. I can't say enough about the rewards of backpacking, and I encourage anyone interested to give it a try.
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