A 10 hour shower....

A 10 hour shower....

When I posted I was hiking 70 miles in 3 days solo in a facebook group a while back, one of the first posts was something to the effect of "You shouldn't hike alone, it is dangerous"  Uh... thanks?

So yeah, hiking alone can be somewhat more dangerous than hiking with others. Honestly though, it isn't that much more dangerous IF you know what you're doing and are prepared, which I always am.

I am someone who is constantly in social media, family, news, chat program, and tons of other type of system overload. Also, as someone who is responsible for making tons of big decisions on computer games, I am also someone who really has some massive creative challenges and frequently in need of some massive creative inspirations.

For me there are two things that help be power through extremely tough creative challenges. First is writing. Just put your pencil to paper or keys to a keyboard and just write. It helps in multiple ways. First it helps move ideas around in my brain which helps me riff off my own creativity. It also helps because the more you write, the more you sanity check your own BS. Nothing will help me crush an idea that sounded great as a sound bite bouncing around in my head as trying to write it down on paper for someone else to digest.

Sometimes, just writing isn't enough. Sometimes you're handed what feels like an impossible problem that no amount of writing can solve. For me, when I hit something that I can't break through no matter how hard I try, sometimes all I need is some serious solo hiking.

I think it is a well known phenomena that you frequently have your best ideas while in the shower. There have been dozens of studies on this and it is absolutely true. Basically, do something you've done so much it takes no real thought. Make it relaxing. Make it enjoyable. Mix in some dopamines and before you know it, your mind is free to create. They say what it actually does is help keep your mind from fixating on known, possibly bad solutions so much and helps you move to new ideas more easily.

Anyone who has done extensive solo hiking knows what I described above is absolutely true for solo hiking as well. Except instead of it being a 10 minute mental break, you can do it for hours on end without having to worry about water bills and wrinkly fingers!

This creative surge while hiking has helped me dozens of times. Most recently during a 3 day, 70 mile trek on the Lone Star Hiking Trail, it helped me completely rethink a major game design system that had me stuck for weeks. When I was done with that, I moved on and started thinking about revenue models and again had major breakthroughs on stuff that had long been stagnant.

To better help you on these trips, my advice is to make a list. First make a list of tough problems to try and solve. Then, when you're on the trail and you do come up with an idea or solution, either write it down or make a video of yourself explaining it! The reason I say this is simple. The elements that lead to your mind being more open to let go and stop fixating on old ideas also makes it more willing to let of the solutions! So capture the ideas while you can and get back to enjoying the hike.