Embrace the Suck!
As we wrap up the 2018 Exped season, there were lots of great memories made along the way. There are a few things we picked up along the way that we think can be beneficial moving froward. Furthermore, looking back at the last 3 years of expeditions, there are some key aspects to us and you making a trip great...not good, but great.
Heading out soon? Follow these few quick tips...
Embrace the Suck!
We've heard this phrase before and it is so true - just embrace the suck every step of the way. Know from the start that you will be wet 95% of the time, lots of bugs, hot and humid, etc. We believe that any type of expedition is mostly mental and you can easily trick yourself into having a terrible time. With our current packing list, we encourage trekkers to wear one set of trekking clothes the entire trip (aside from sleeping, of course). This makes for an uncomfortable 10 minutes each morning...nothing like putting on wet socks and underwear. But, within 25 seconds of the trail is a large creek to cross, and you guessed it...there is no bridge. So, embrace the suck!
Participate, Not Spectate!
Yeah, you read that right. All to often we get that one client on a team that only wants to spectate. Not only does this rob you of getting the most out of your expedition, it ultimately robs the rest of the team. Constantly having to stop, give words of encouragement (kinda like you give a baby who is learning to walk..."you can do it, come one...yeah, goooooood job!").
This rule can be applied in all sorts of ways. Bottom line is have fun with whats going on. Sure, there are some things we do on our expeditions that really push some folks, but that is part of the fun - overcoming fears. A participant on a recent trip said - "we're only here once, lets go and have fun." Yeah, thats the spirit (high five to you)...!
Trust the Guide!
Stepping close to the narcissist line here, but its the real deal...trust those leading you out in the jungle. Something I've heard before (and quiet often at that) is "yeah, its hard to plan because we've never done this before." My first response is to slap them, but that wouldn't be professional. But I do respond this way..."thats why we provide you with a detailed packing list or detailed My Route Plan." It never fails, folks ignore the info we provide a still go out and buy the entire REI camping section.
I get it, walking in the woods is fairly a simple thing. Its not complicated. However, the jungle itself is complicated and can be quiet dangerous. Its easy to show up thinking "I've got this" and that is when things go wrong. Have you ever been to Disney with a friend or family who has already been? They kind of become obnoxious about, well...everything - Do this, go there, don't do that, eat here, not there, stay here, ride that, etc, etc, etc. You know the game. Basically, what we are saying here is don't be that guy.
Culture Dive (head first)!
We are located in the heart of indigenous culture. There is nothing "American" about the culture here. You won't find a McDs, Spicy chicken sandwich or a large glass of sweet tea. What you will find is regional fruit juice, fish soups, xibé, and so on. You will hear multiple languages, stay in a sub-par hotel, see some stuff you probably could go without seeing.
Take the dive and learn what you can. Enjoy the new culture. Enjoy the people. Try new foods (just be careful with the water...urgh). We have noticed that folks who dive head first on culture really make the most of their trip and leave super satisfied.
So, the next time you head out the door for your next adventure - take on these few helpful hints. Truth is, there is only so much planning and prep that can be completed. The rest is up to you - the participant. Make the most of it. Enjoy it.