The outdoors can be frightening, especially when camping overnight. Respect for the great outdoors is a good and healthy thing, because overconfidence in the bush can lead to problems. However, don’t let fear dictate your plans or stop you from experiencing the wilderness. Here are 5 tips to conquer fear, and get outside!
Take Small Steps
You don’t need to go wander off in the bush armed with your tent. If you are nervous about camping or being outdoors, start small. Go on a day hike with friends. Then go on an evening hike- then stay overnight with a big group at a well designated campsite. Work your way down to the nitty gritty until you reach whatever outdoors goal you want to hit. And that could be anything: it could be sleeping in a tent with friends in a campground. Or your goal might be to sleep by yourself under a tarp in the middle of nowhere. Just keep pushing against the walls of your comfort zone, a little at a time, until it’s bigger than you imagined.
- Identify Your Fear
What is it you are really scared of? Take the time to write it down and think about it. This helps personify the fear. Fear becomes less scary when it’s in such tangible terms. Are you scared of wildlife encounters? Learn how to use bear spray, and take precautions against bringing wildlife attractants into the outdoors. Are you afraid of the dark? Bring a big headlamp and extra batteries. Figure out what you are actually scared of- and don’t keep it to yourself. Write it down, talk to someone about it. There is no shame in admitting your fears- especially if it can help you conquer them.
This is the next part to identifying your fears. Be prepared for them! So if it is wildlife encounters, bring your bear spray, bring your odour proof bags. If your fear is of something abstract, like the unknown, bring distractions and comforts. Bring a deck of cards, some chocolate (don’t keep it in your tent!) and some music and headphones for the evening! Once you fall into some familiar patterns and comforts, you’ll really begin to enjoy yourself. Fear and uncertainty can breed from unpreparedness. So meet that head on and be over prepared to meet your fears.
Have a Backup Plan
If something happens- what will you do? While to some it can be scary to contemplate all the things that could go wrong, I just look at it as an opportunity! This is your chance to identify how you would react in those scenarios, and the steps you could take. Use your fear constructively, and ask yourself- what is the worst thing that could happen? Then make yourself a backup plan.
Bring a Buddy
Who says you have to go at this alone? Grab that friend of yours that’s always posting cool photos of trees on social media; the one who has dirt under their fingernails all the time and likely has some crazy bush skills. Don’t have a friend like that? Grab your regular friends and have a ball (and go make friends with a dirt squirrel- they’re cool folk).
Don’t let your fear stop you from experiencing the outdoors. Instead, crush it and use it to become prepared for anything.
How would you deal with fear? Have you dealt with fear in the past? Comment below!
Scared of bears in your campsite? Here’s how to keep them away.
Want some more advice on how to deal with fear? Here’s an awesome article by Richard Feloni that features Tim Ferriss, and what he calls “fear-setting“: an excellent exercise you can use to identify your fears.