Pre-Walk – Don’t Worry, Be Happy

I would love to be one of those laid back, chilled out individuals.

One of those people who seem to cruise through life and things seem to effortlessly fall into place.

But, No. That’s just not me…

I am a planner, an organiser, and I try to cover every eventuality. This goes into overdrive when I am planning a long walk, but now that I have completed my fourth long distance stroll, I have finally identified the top five things I DON’T need to worry about.

a large rain drop splashes
Rain drops keep falling on my head…. Photo: Sourav Mishra from Pexels,com

1. Weather

Too hot?

Too cold?


What to pack to cover every change in the weather?

What if I pack it and don’t use it? Meaning I have carried the damn thing 1000km unnecessarily.

The only thing I can be certain of is that there is going to weather wherever I go. I can’t control it and wishing it was different in completely pointless. I just need to prepare the best I can and then take each day as it comes.

Get on with it and get over it.

Bar bells and heavy weights lined up on shelves or racks
I lift backpacks instead of barbells. Photo:

2. Fitness

Am I fit enough?

Am I going to handle the daily mileage?

Will I last the full distance? Or will my body break down?

I worry about this every time and yet after four long distance hikes, I seem to handle it OK.

I know I need to train before I leave and often I start in a blaze of enthusiasm, only to lose interest after three weeks. Then the panic kicks in as the serious countdown to departure looms and finally the week before, my attitude changes once more to, ‘ah stuff it, I’ll just wing it’!

So far this haphazard fitness regime has worked in a random sort of way. Definitely room for improvement here and that would definitely reduce the time and brainpower I waste on worrying about the physical demands of a walk.

Different coloured Euro notes displayed
You can never be too rich… Photo:

3. Money

Will it be expensive?

Have I budgeted correctly or sufficiently?

Will I be safe carrying bundles of cash?

How much is safe to carry?

I have no idea why I worry about money so much. I do travel ‘cheap and cheerful’, I have never run out of money in all my previous travels, and I could always borrow more money from home if things got tight.

And yet, it is always something I watch like a hawk. I guess that is a good thing, but it is silly to tie myself in knots before I go and equally silly to scrimp and save and watch every penny and perhaps miss out on some fabulous experiences.

Work in progress.

sun hat white sneakers and colourful clothes
This is far too colour-coordinated for me! Photo:

4. What to Pack

Too much?

Too little?

OMG, my pack weighs how much?

I worry about striking the right balance between taking everything I need versus looking like the original ‘bag lady’. Knowing that I have to carry EVERYTHING on my back is a great disincentive to throw in that extra pair of shoes or shirt. It is also the perfect way to stop me shopping as I walk. See Point 3.

On the flipside, it is not as if I am going completely off the beaten track. There are shops and supermarkets etc. in the countries I travel to. If worse comes to worst, I can easily pick up what I need.

Why do I still worry about this?

Lost teddy bear looking for a friend
Nigel No Friends. Photo: Marina Shatskih from

5. Loneliness

I seem to be making a habit of heading out on cross-country walks on my own. Not that I don’t like walking with other people, it’s just that there are not many other crazy people like me out there.

If truth be known, I am a social animal, a tad extroverted, and I do like to share the sights and special moments of travel.

While loneliness is a genuine feeling at times, it is not powerful enough to stop me from traveling to destinations that are calling my name. Time to turn this around and look at it as an opportunity to put myself out there and meet some wonderful new people in the world.

A backpacker's shadow on a paddock
Stepping out on my own in the early morning light

They say that with age and time you get wisdom and don’t let things worry you so much.

I obviously have some aging to do yet to get to that carefree stage and perhaps I should consider the many small worries as little bundles of excitement around very specific topics!

Yes, ever the optimist!

What do you worry about before travel?

Or are you my laidback, chilled out role model?

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