Hiking as a creativity booster

img_1558I am more of a analytical person than a creative one. I don’t have much in terms of artistic talent, although my parents have tried for many years to get it out of me by subscribing me to various art classes. In college I studied business administration and accounting, which are not the fields that appeal the most to your ability to create.

I have been trying for the past years to stimulate my creativity while trying to get ideas for projects I have. “How could I do things differently?” I often ask myself. I try to take a concept, identify all the preconceived ideas I have about it and identify how they can be challenged and changed. The process is not artistic in any way, I don’t feel like I have the artistic gene, but creativity can be applied to so many fields, for me mainly business and expedition ideas.

Lately an article appeared repeatedly in the news feed of the social media sites I use, “Doctors Tell Us How Hiking Can Change Our Brains“. I resisted reading the article for a while because I was sure I would agree with it. I try not to read only articles that reinforce my own positions, but also articles that will challenge them. After a couple weeks I finally decided to read it.

Taking time to enjoy the sun is not something I do regularly when sitting at my cubicle.

I could not agree more with what is explained in the article. I have noticed that whenever I am hiking, I get a lot of new ideas. Articles I could write dictate themselves in my mind (how I wish I could type while hiking!). This happens so much that I have started recording some of these on my phone while walking. Concepts for companies I could start appear in my head. New insights on past events or life in general come to me in between two steep ascents. It’s not necessarily something that happens in one day, but getting a good hike in a nice environment almost always seems to reset my brain and get the creative wheel of my mind going.

Is it that life’s complexity is greatly reduced on a hike? I have always found it freeing to own less items, which is similar to relying on 20-30 items to survive while hiking. Whenever I come back from a long distance hike, I feel the need to do an inventory of what I own and to donate what I feel is no longer necessary. It happens every time, I come back to my house and I am overwhelmed by the stuff I own. If I haven’t used it for the past months, it can’t be so useful in my life to own all of this. So I recycle, donate and throw away (until I forget and go out to REI/MEC to buy more stuff, but that is another story…).

Stuck on something? Not sure which project to pursue? Go walk for a couple days in the woods. You might not find the answer you are looking for, but things might get a little clearer.