What I Learned from Group Hiking Trips

After 2 days of intense hiking, we couldn’t help but shriek in excitement as we arrived at our final camp.

We were a mix of athletes, people with little to no outdoor experience, and others in the middle of the two extremes. The hike was a challenge for all.

We rounded the last twist of ancient Inca trail and the mountainside dropped off to our right. Straight ahead was a manmade ledge wide enough for a row of tents. The lush green valley stretched between mountain peaks that ran as far as vision allowed, no sign of mankind aside from our camp. The clear sky was a canvas overhead, sure to be a wonderous display of stars.

This was our final night on the ancient Inca Trail before reaching Machu Picchu. The determination, strength and command of each hiker over the trek is undeniable. Each overcame their own diversity, coming out visibly more confident and fulfilled than they were 3 days prior. From conquering camping outside for the first time to sickness and fear of heights, each hiker pushed through and overcame.

I can assure you none of us will tell you it was easy, and none of us would likely elect to do it again (3,000+ stairs in one day, anyone?) but we are all grateful we went, we conquered, and we grew.

If you’re ready for something new, to disconnect and reset with nature, consider a group hiking trip! It will challenge and change you, providing for amazing memories and once in a life-time experience.

What makes hiking so great?

My absolute favorite things about multiday hikes are:

  1. You are forced to unplug and be present. When is the last time you went 6 hours without touching your phone? Is there anything else in your life you’re so attached to? Whatever it is you’re addicted to, make this a time to reset from it and just be.
  2. Shifting landscapes. I can’t think of any other experiences that allow you to live the transition of ecosystems like multiday hikes. On one hike, you’re likely to experience rolling grasslands, lush forests, tropical and dewy cloud forests, rocky cliffsides that split open to lush valleys and depending on the altitude, snow! To look and follow a path to the horizon, knowing you traveled it or are about to, is such an amazing feat of man.
  3. The night sky. Remove all light pollution and you’re left with the most incredible twinkling canvas, a clear view of the milky way, and stars so bright you feel you may just be able to reach out and grab one. It’s indescribable and something I pray you experience in your lifetime.
  4. The transformation. This is hard to explain in one paragraph. As with any trial or new challenge, there are moments of gratitude, desperation and everything between. The most valuable lesson mountain climbing taught me is that no matter how big and overwhelming the task, as long as I keep moving forward, I will conquer. It’s increased confidence in too many areas to list.
  5. The people. Learning of the cultures that call the peaks home and how they integrated life together, almost like one wasn’t meant to exist without the other is wonderous. Seeing similarities in countries separated by miles and miles of ocean and living life with them for a few short days is something that lasts a lifetime.
  6. The food. The food is always unbelievably delicious. Popcorn is a global trail snack (also my favorite). In Peru, the chef and his team bake, ice, and decorate a cake with nothing but the supplies they carried in. Hot tea and coffee are staples, and calories are a thing of the past when you spend the day hiking allowing you to enjoy everything guilt-free.

Are you ready to give it a shot?

Check out Machu Picchu or Kilimanjaro if you’re feeling hardcore. If you’d prefer to start with a few day hikes, allowing to reset (and no camping), our Out West Trip is a great starting point.

Happy Trails!

Visit Machu Picchu


How Travel Can Help Set the Course for the Rest of Your Life

The transition period between college life and adult life can be a confusing one.  A common feeling is that after graduation, one should be ready to take on the world, settle into adulthood, lock down a job, house, family and live happily ever after.  Or perhaps take a few months to travel and explore the globe before accepting a job that will launch into a career, then buy a house, build a family, and live happily ever after.

We are here to encourage the latter. And to do so with intention.  You may have read our ABOUT page and learned the foundation of this company is based on the idea that (1) travel changes people for the better (2) it’s great to experience with other people and (3) it unlocks potential you may not have otherwise known.

For most, the opportunity to have a few months – or even one month – to do as you please is very rare after the education chapter has closed. Instead of jumping into something you will be doing for the next 30-40 years, why not hold off a month or two and embark on a journey of self-discovery?

To ensure you receive the most out of your travels, be sure to include a few key components (all of which are included in each State of Unity experience!).

  1. Spend time connecting with locals. Dive into a new culture, learn with is important to them, their religious beliefs, family structure, daily life, etc.  Do all you can to understand and appreciate an alternative life outlook than how you were raised.
  2. Volunteer. Find at least one organization that could use a helping hand, hopefully one that speaks to your heart and mission.  If you don’t know what that is, try several things.  More often than not, one will develop into a fire of passion and a mission for life.
  3. Appreciate the History. To understand another culture, one must understand that cultures past; the journey it traveled, what makes the current trends last.  An excellent example is Cambodia.  This is a country whose history must be understood in order to understand current state and appreciate the kindness in its people. 
  4. Get Active. Bike Tours, hiking, walking, running, are all great ways to soak in the surroundings.  More of the senses are involved, and you’ll find yourself appreciating the architecture, wildlife, even perhaps pausing along the way for anything that catches the eye. 
  5. Eat Local! Learn what some of the favorite local dishes are and be sure to try at a few local, non-touristy spots.  Perhaps even take a cooking class if they offer local cuisine.

The goal of all of this is to help you reach outside what is already known, let go of expectations, and simply live and experience life. It is through this freedom that passions often grow.