The first step of a thousand miles…

Starting out hiking

All beginnings can be difficult, and many hikers, even the most experienced ones feels that the first steps on a new hike, in a strange way, often is the most difficult part of it.

A classic situation is the time where you finally arrive at the starting point of the hike, and while you still sit in the warm comfort zone of your car, you realize that you have to leave it behind.

Man sitting in a car looking at the good life
Today the first step is often getting out of the car

For a second you pause while you look out of the rain stained window, out at the beginning of the trail.

Right there it can seem like the whole weight of the long journey ahead suddenly  looks more like a vertical wall than a trail.

But it is also one of the most magic moments known in almost all storytelling, the moment where the hero is about to leave the known world behind and take the first steps out on the new adventure,  to become the hero.

Experienced hikers say that a good trick here is, not to be overwhelmed or pause to long, but just grab your backpack and focus on the first and then the next step, as you head on along the trail without stopping.

Maybe it can also be a good thing here to remember that this is a feeling that anybody who ever started out hiking can feel, and it is also a feeling that has been described in stories and writings about heroes heading out on new adventures as long back as we can find these stories.

A good example about the special moment of the start of the journey is a famous old saying, from Tao Te Ching, a very ancient Chinese text:

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”

 (6. century BC, from Tao Te Ching ascribed to Laozi.)

Post and drawing by HikingArtist