Group of people becoming a bridge helping a man in the water

Seven bridges over troubled water

Strategies to get from A to B in the best way

Drawings and text by Frits Ahlefeldt; Hiking.org

From diets to disruption – A collection of strategies and bridge metaphors we use to get across a difficult place or gap.

Drawing of two bridge builders
The Practical Bridge – getting things done

Using powerpoints from last year to talk about the future

Hard to find new trails when we all just sit and listen to the same worn out Powerpoint presentations

Text and drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

drawing of powerpoint presentation about the future
PowerPoint presentation concerning the future

I’ve seen a lot of Powerpoint presentations about the future, but not that many from people who walk the talk, not that many of us who talk about what we personally do to face the challenges – instead the future seems to be all about trends, statistics and scenarios

From Climate change to the out over a vertical cliff 58% percent biodiversity loss, to lack of thrive, to the sky rocketing amounts of psycho pharmacy drugs, swallowed by a global stressed out + 7 billion human population, and flushed out through a billion toilets, straight into nature, to drive the still living species out there even more crazy.

The tendencies and trends all point to the conclusion that concerning the future – immediate action is needed. Like we need to start to do things differently right now, to start walking in new and different directions…   But nobody gets up – we all sit there in the dark and listen to the same alarming TED talks about the future, the bleak statistics and All Gore inconvenient, dusty truths scenarios… from a few years ago – still without moving our feet.

Two ways of building community hearts

Building snow hearts up in wintertime, outdoors

The difference between building things, together. And building things together

Illustrations by Frits Ahlefeldt

Group of people building a heap of snowhearts
Building a heap of snow hearts
Group of people building a snowheart together
Building one snow heart together

 

Are you dragging people up or down?

Sometimes attitude is what make all the difference

Drawing and text by Frits Ahlefeldt

It is an old truth that if you want to get to someone fast, go hiking with them, it speed up the whole process of getting people out of their normal armor, and into showing what they really are made of. Pretty fast, it doesn’t matter any more what you do for a living, how much you earn, where you live, or who you know… on the trail you are the one you are… 

Drawing of a team connected by a rope, some dragging together one dragging in the other direction
If you want to get to know someone, go hiking…

Bridge and wall builders

Connecting and dividing in modern and ancient reality

Drawing and text by Frits Ahlefeldt

The basic building blocks in landscape ecology, trail design and maybe even in our understandings of reality, are paths and places. Together these lines, that give direction and connect, and bordered patches, that define places,  might be said to make up the mosaics we use to navigate and make sense of directions and places – both inside and outside our heads

Building bridges across borders, and walls to strengthen the same borders seems to me, to be two of the strongest forces that we have used to form our landscapes and strengthen our understandings throughout human history.

Today we build new walls faster than ever before, and at the same time our technology and global cultures bridge across them, and pull our diverse worlds closer together, even faster than the new walls can separate them.

drawing of wall builders and bridge builders
Drawing borders and crossings

Part of a me team?

Go hiking instead

One of the days where everybody insist on playing with their own ball?

Team each with their own ball
Drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt

 

If everybody only play with their own ball, then stop the meeting, and get outdoors, and walk for an hour or two at least.

Making people walk together do something magical to teamwork… so when you all get back, chances are, everybody will be focused and in tune, sharing thoughts and ideas much more open.

Drawing of the day

 

 

The Campfire and Storytelling

Hiking is so much more than hiking

Drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

There is something magical about sitting at a fireside after a long hike, it’s a space that is so different from walking and still natural, shared and still personal. It’s the archetype of storytelling space. And compared to hiking, the campfire is a contrast so perfect, the match is unforgettable

Storytelling and campfires has been best friends of us humans for hundred thousand of years. And come to think of it, it is strange how so different things as fire and thoughts come together to form the most natural match at night: Maybe even one of the things that most make us stand out from all other creatures on Earth. That special thing that, as we sit down and feel the heat from the flickering lights, we two-legged wanderers can make our thoughts continue to walk onward along imagined trails through the night, in ways no other creatures on Earth do… The ways we call storytelling.

Drawing of the day

drawing of a camp fire
The campfire, drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt, Free to use under CreativeCommons license BY-ND

Hiking vs self-deception, over-confidence and optimism

Three things that can spoil a hike

Drawing and text by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

Self deception, over confidence and optimism show up together
beware when these three show up together

Before heading out on the trails it is important to plan the adventure and also to look forward to it. But be aware of planning the hike together with these three: Self deception, over-confidence and optimism.   They often show up together, ready to head out with an enthusiastic attitude of the sky is the limit, everything is possible and to hell with precautions

The challenges on the trails that make hiking an adventure most often come simultaneously from two sides: the inside and the outside. And a large part of the planning and preparation before any serious hike is to learn to differ between them.

Trail challenges

The challenges from outside can be anything from eroded trails, missing signs, storms, bears, gear that break down, rivers that flood, fallen trees, early snow,  empty wells, dropping temperatures etc. These are the things you can learn about and practice how to handle in advance. Even though you can’t know what will hit you, or when.

Self-deception, over-confidence and optimism from above most often look forward to these challenges, downplaying their size and calling them “the adventure” . Moments that can be recorded and shared on social media for fans and followers, and enjoyed, as if there is never any real risk.

Challenges from the inside: know Thyself 

But where challenges from the trail is most often cheered as welcome, many hikers never consider the possibility of challenges arising from the inside.

Meeting unknown personal challenges from the inside can make hiking a enlightening activity, simply because you can learn a lot about who you really are when the hike gets tough and you have to find (often little known) resources inside to deal with unexpected feelings and differ between what is your emotions and what is the nature of the factual reality the feelings try to embrace.

The thought of getting to know thyself is great, when cool and clear headed. But the chances of this seldom arise when all are going well, but more often when you are tired, wet, freezing, lonely or one of the other billion feelings you can suddenly stumble into out on the trails.

Feelings that can sweep you off your feet faster than a raging river, or fill you with fear, anger or fall into an abyss of lost meaning and hope. You can suddenly find yourself trapped in emotions much harder to escape from out there, when you have neither old friends, family or any of the modern get-away tricks at hand like TV, shopping, social media, good food, lots of sleep, or drugs to use as an elevator away from facing yourself.

The challenges coming from the inside are harder to prepare for, especially when being caught up in self-deception, feeling over-confident and/or optimistic about what is possible for you.

And you could easily end up relying on pure luck to make it through, if you don’t plan and take into consideration the risk of the unexpected to happen and more important – put aside resources and accept the risk of days when the trail is fine, but you are not… and you have to go real slow, taking one step at a time, just to get through the day.

 

The Road less traveled

Go hiking illustration

New free drawing about two different ways of life

Drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt

Illustration of two hikers, heading out while the cars pass over their heads
The Road less traveled illustration

Part of the Hiking drawing collection here: Hiking.org hiking illustrations

Slow hiking is about Relating instead of Rushing

Relating to nature the slow way

Text and drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt. Hiking.org

Hiking is getting more and more popular for people in the huge cities. But sometimes people who spend most of their time in the very different urban world, deal with being in nature and the whole hiking trip like like they would with a tight deadline

Group of people hugging a tree drawing
Treehugging, relating instead of rushing, when out hiking

In Korea hiking is booming with twice as many people heading for the National Parks as just ten years ago. But officials say a new too stressful hiking culture has changed the experience for everybody. And now the South Korean Government have decided to do something about it and try to make people slow down, breathe the air and enjoy the landscapes, instead of just getting to the top of what-ever near mountain, as fast as possible, take a selfie, and back down and home to the city.

According to an Wall street article The South Korean Government has just launched a 10 Million USD “Slow Hiking” campaign to make people take it easy when hiking, and enjoy the trail.

In other places people use different techniques and bring meditation, wellness routines and treehugging to the trails. Either alone or walking together in groups. Taking breaks to relate to the landscapes around them. Something that was as natural as… well walking. To earlier generation. But is much harder for people where all paths should lead to success and progress is something your stocks and not socks are making.

 

Office for Hikers

Hiking and nature can help create better work environments

Logbook

Here’s a sketch of a different kind of office, inspired by the trails and great spots out in the landscapes, where hikers thrive better and relate in different ways than most of us can in the classic cubic, air-conditioned glass cell offices of the city-scapes

Green office in nature
If office life was a bit more like trail life

There is a new breed of architecture on the rise, places that have nature as the starting point and where the designers work with nature instead of trying to fight it. Where the ventilation and the energy comes from sustainable sources and where greenery, office-grown vegetables and meeting trails are new words in the most innovative business headquarters of tomorrow.

To a lot of people this can become a whole new and better work experience, to the hikers, coming back from the trails out in the landscapes, work could become much less of a contrast and much more like a walk in the park

Creative Commons License
The Green Office drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

text and Drawing:  Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

Hikers drawing for intro

Hiking group sketch

There are so many different reasons people go hiking, and also so many ways and types of walking and walkers, from the minimalist hikers to the barefoot, to the gadget freaks and the eternal wanderers

illustration of a group of hikers
Group of hikers, sketch

 

But when the hikers get out on the trails, of some reason, hikers most often connect and enjoy life together, connecting to other people out in the landscapes, whenever their trails cross.  I made a sketch and a new research page/intro about hikers today:

Hiking.org/hikers