6 Lessons You Bring Back From A Backpacking Trek

6 Lessons You Bring Back From A Backpacking Trek

If it rains, don't worry, it's just a little bit of moving water.


I will admit, it's hard for us to incorporate outdoor activities into our daily lives, especially when we have so many other tasks to complete on a daily basis. This set aside, backpacking has easily been one of the best things that I have pushed myself into doing in my life. Places, sights, smells and everything in between are so abundant between even the smallest of biomes. Every environment is substantially distinct from the last. Experiencing ever-changing environments leads to lots of discovery.

Here are six things that I have learned from backpacking:

1. You become grounded.

Alec Baldasare

A quality backpacking trip will be life-changing to say the least. After most, if not all, of the trips that I have been on, I've come back with a new perspective. Everything seems so unfamiliar yet familiar. This is the beauty of backpacking and being in your own little hiking bubble. I've learned certain things on the trail that can't be taught anywhere else.

2. You learn to take on and challenge fear.

Chris Baldasare

Relying on yourself and what you carry on your back will teach you to learn. It forces you to resort to advanced ideas of solving situations. Unfamiliarity is where we learn to grow the most due to our instinctual nature of survival. It's so easy to fall into temptation and stop hiking, take a break (or even a hammock nap) and fall short of finishing. While obviously this is always acceptable, we won't challenge ourselves by constantly taking the easy way out. We have to push ourselves into uncomfortable situations so that we can grow.

3. You lose attachment to things that aren't needed.

Alec Baldasare

After you hike with 75 pounds of gear on your first trip, you'll realize how important some items really are. Once you understand that so many things are absolutely unnecessary to bring and you slim your gear down, you'll begin applying this to your life more. Backpacking for days at a time teaches that we really don't need a whole lot other than food, water and shelter. We slowly lose our attachment to most items we own because they become irrelevant.

4. You gain an appreciation for the world around you.

Alec Baldasare

Growing up in Ohio, I've had to learn this rather quickly. Any backpacking Ohioan can attest to the fact that a creek the width of a water bottle will forever capture our eyes like a shiny object. Being used to the simplest forms of nature's geological makeup is where I first learned appreciation. It slowly becomes easier and easier to fall into awe with our world once you start looking. Hidden gems are everywhere, and the way our world interacts with itself to stay continuously functional is absolutely phenomenal.

5. You discover more about yourself.

Christopher Baldasare

When you hike alone or with a few others, your mind is liberated from all distractions and begins to wander with thoughts and imagination. This allows us to go into deeper conversations within ourselves. After acknowledging these newfound swirling thoughts, you begin to question ideas and learn more about yourself: who you are, your morals and values, and your general stance in life.

6. You learn to be a trailblazer, not a pathfinder.

Alec Baldasare

After breaking the initial scariness of backpacking, you learn to make and travel your own path. Not literally speaking but in a mindset type of way. Trails become a puzzle, and relating this to real life teaches us to set sight on our own visions and to take the paths that lead to them. You learn to solve your own puzzle and how to find your way. You'll become fearless with energy, blazing your own path.

Backpacking really has helped shaped who I am today, and you should start as soon as you can. Wherever you are, find a new place to explore. Live on the edge a little. In my case maybe climb a waterfall every now and again. Start small and continue to go bigger and bigger to explore more.

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20 Of The Coolest Animal Species In The World

Animals that almost seem imaginary.

The world is full of amazing animals. So amazing, that narrowing them down to 20 felt nearly impossible. To determine who made the cut for this list, I used very important factors such as, cuteness and how much some of them looked like Pokémon . I know, very official. So here are some of the coolest animals in the world.

1. Pink Fairy Armadillo

The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest and cutest species of armadillo. It is on the list of threatened species and is found in the sandy plains, dunes, and grasslands of Argentina. The pink fairy armadillo is a nocturnal creature that survives mostly on insects and plants.

2. Okapi

The okapi is an animal native to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Although the stripes make many people believe okapi are related to zebra, they are actually closer to giraffe. Okapi are solitary creatures and come together to breed. They are herbivores, mostly eating leaves, grass, and other plants.

3. Glaucus Atlanticus or "the Blue Dragon"

These little dragon-like creatures are often only about a few inches long and can be found in the Indian Pacific Oceans. The blue dragon floats upside down in order to blend the blue side of them with the water, and the silver side with the surface of the ocean. This tiny dragon feeds on creatures like the man o' war and can even deliver a sting similar to it.

4. The Maned Wolf

The maned wolf is often found in the grasslands of south, central-west, and southeastern parts of Brazil. It is neither related to wolves nor foxes despite its appearance and name, but is actually closer to dogs. The maned wolf hunts alone and primarily eats both meat and plants (about 50% of its diet).

5. Fossa

The fossa is a carnivorous animal located in Madagascar. Despite having many traits similar to cats, it is more closely related to the Mongoose. The fossa is only found in forest habitats and can hunt in either daytime or night. Over 50 percent of its diet happens to be lemurs.

6. Japanese Spider Crab

As the name suggestions, the Japanese spider crab inhabits the waters surrounding Japan. In many parts of Japan, this crab can be considered a delicacy but can be considerably difficult to catch. The Japanese spider crab can grow to 12 feet long from claw to claw. There is only one sea creature-- amongst similar species (aka crustaceans)-- that beats the weight of a Japanese spider crab: the American Lobster.

7. Pacu Fish

Look closely at the teeth, do they look familiar? This fish is found in the waters of South America. This fish, while related to the piranha, can actually grow much larger. They can also be found in rivers like the Amazon and is an aid to the fishing industry. Unlike the piranha, pacu mostly only eat seeds and nuts, though can still create nasty injuries to other animals if need be.

8. Slow Loris

The slow loris is a nocturnal creature found in Southeast Asia. While very adorable, the loris's teeth are actually quite venomous. The toxin on their teeth can also be applied to fur through grooming to protect its babies from predators. Often times these creatures forage and spend time alone, although can on occasion be seen with other slow lorises. Apart from their toxic teeth, the slow lorises have another defense mechanism, in which they move nearly completely silently in order to prevent discovery.

9. Angora Rabbit

These cute, fluffy rabbits are among the hairiest breeds of rabbit of both wild and domestic types. These rabbits originated in Turkey although managed to spread throughout Europe and was even brought to the United States in the 20th century. These rabbits are often bred for their soft wool which can be made into clothing, and often get rid of their own coats every 3-4 months.

10. Axolotl

The axolotl or "Mexican salamander" (who looks like a Pokémon , if you ask me) is often spotted in lakes in various places around Mexico. These little salamanders are amphibious although often spend their adult lives strictly in the water. However, the population of these cute creatures is dwindling due to non-native predators and the continued urbanization of Mexico. The axolotl eats small worms, insects, and fish in order to survive.

11. Liger

The liger, however made up it sounds, is a real (and cute) animal created by a lion and a tiger mating. Ligers only seem to exist in captivity or zoos because the lion and tiger don't share the same habitat in the wild. Unfortunately, these animals don't live very long or are sterile despite being bigger than both the lion and the tiger. While these animals are cool and unique, they are not strictly natural or sustainable.

12. Bearded Vulture

I don't know about you all, but this vulture reminds me of a phoenix which was initially why I looked into the creature. These vultures inhabit a range of places from southern Europe to the Indian subcontinent, to Tibet. This vulture, like other vultures, typically eats dead animals, although it has been documented that the bearded vulture will attack live prey more often than other vultures.

13. Goblin Shark

This unusual shark is also known as a "living fossil" because they are the last representative of sharks that lived about 125 million years ago. It is a deep sea shark that can grow between 10-13 feet if not longer. The goblin shark has been caught accidentally in every major ocean. The goblin shark is not a fast swimmer and relies on ambushing its prey.

14. Red Panda

This cute, small panda lives in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. The red panda is rather small, only about the same size as most domestic cats. Its eating habits range from bamboo, to eggs, to insects, and several other small mammals. The red panda is primarily sedentary during the day and at night or in the morning does whatever hunting it needs to do.

15. Blobfish

This blobfish is, in a way, so ugly that it is cute (although reminds me of a certain Pokémon ) This fish lives in the deep waters of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The blobfish has a density only sightly above that of water. The fish primarily hunts by just floating along and letting creatures wander into its mouth, rather than expending any energy.

16. Leaf Deer

The leaf deer is usually found in dense forests in the northwest region of Putao. The adult leaf deer only stands at about 20 inches high and the males and females are nearly identical except for an inch long horn on the males. It is called a leaf deer because hunters could wrap the deer in a single large leaf.

17. Tiger

While tigers are a more common animal than many others on this list, it is still one of the coolest animals in the world. Tigers are the largest of all cats and once ranged from Russia, to Turkey, to parts of Asia — almost all over the world. These animals are fierce, powerful creatures, although they are on the endangered species list.

18. Narwhals

Narwhals are a species of whale that live in the waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The narwhal's diet changes depending on the time of year: in the spring the narwhal will eat cod, while in the winter the narwhal will eat flatfish. Narwhals can live up to 50 years and most frequently die of suffocation from being trapped under the ice.

19. Cheetah

Cheetahs, while more commonly heard of then some of the other animals on this list, are still incredibly cool. They often inhabit many parts of Africa and Iran. These amazing cats can reach up to 60 miles per hour in three seconds and use their tails to make quick and sudden turns. These amazing cats also have semi-retractable claws which helps with speed. The cheetah, however, doesn't have much besides speed to defend itself.

And finally....

20. Superb Bird of Paradise

This GIF demonstrates the mating dance used by male superb birds of paradise. Typically females reject about 20 mates before selecting one they want to mate with. They are often found in New Guinea although it is unsure just how many of these birds there are. As far as scientists know, the population has remained stable.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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8 Thoughts Your Pets Have When You Come Home From College

Wouldn't we love to know what really goes through our pets minds when we finally return to them?


1. What are you doing here?


2. Why do you think it's okay to just come and going as you please?


3. My human is back!


4. Now that you are back, let's take a nap! Too much excitement for one day.


5. I'm so excited I don't know how to control my emotions


6. I guess since you are here...where are my tummy rubs?


7. Uninterested


8. Well well well, look who finally decided to come back home.


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