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Seven Tips for a Successful Expedition
After traveling over 5,000 miles on the Appalachian Trail and Mississippi River, I've found seven things that help make for a sucessful expedition. Success means different things to different people, so throw out whatever doesn't work for you.
1. Take less stuff: Before you leave, split your gear into three piles - Essential (sleeping bag, toothbrush), Might Want (camp chair, extra towel), and Nice To Have (radio, expresso mug). Get rid of the last two piles—you’ll never miss them. Less gear means less to buy, less to carry, less to keep dry, and less to repair.
2. Schedule: Make a schedule at home, then burn it as soon as you start your trip. Those things never work anyway and just cause more stress. Better yet, don't have a firm ending date at all. Who knows, you might end up on a sailboat in Bali. Weirder things have happened.
3. Money: Estimate how much you'll need, then take double that amount. Make sure to put some funds aside to live on when you return.
4. Re-entry: Take some time when you're done to reflect on the journey. Jumping into the rat race too soon is a good way to forget those lessons you've worked so hard to get.
5. Raingear and duct tape: don't leave the driveway without them.
6. Sense of humor: Pack plenty. Resupply often.
7. Go with the flow: Something's going to mess up. It's just going to happen. How you deal with it is up to you. (I need to remember this one more.)
That's about all there is to it. Now go get outside.