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When does the trip begin? When does it end?

The kernel of a trip idea begins the adventure for me, as planning and packing have me visualizing myself in my happy place.

When I lived on the South Shore of Tahoe the trip really began with a cued up "On the Road Again" by Willie cranking loud right when we hit the pass leaving the basin.

That signaled time to stop griping about life and fall into appreciation for life. "I can't wait to get on the road again."

For some of my companions their trip seemed to end on the morning of the last day to walk out. I walked less with those companions.

I choose to travel more with people who continue a good feeling of being on vacation all the way until the day you go back to work. They didn't complain about unpacking all the gear, or if you can't figure out what to do first: eat, shower or sleep.

The less I let thoughts of the confusing civilized world invade my mental space while I am outside in the sanctuary the more my thoughts seem to link together into a continuous stream of me being held in the gentle arms of Eden.

How about for you? 

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I spend most of the winter’s ‘down time’ planning future trips. Really enjoy the process.

Yikes! Did I just say winter downtime? Some say it’s the best time to get out into the wilderness.

REI Member Since 1979 YouTube.com/philreedshikes

I think for me, I get the feeling of vacation starting when the car is backing out of the driveway. All the planning and packing ahead of time doesn't trigger it since it's still all mixed in with work and other usual daily tasks. This could also be because our trips aren't very structured, there is no specific itinerary, we roll with the flow.

Curiously, I don't find the reverse to be true: vacation is over NOT when we're back home, but when we start the drive back home. I'm going to chalk that up to the fun stuff being over, and our return trip is usually all business. Put in the miles, pit stops only, no other destination stops, just getting home as the singular goal.

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For me a trip begins with the planning, especially on a multi-day backpacking trip to someplace new. Studying the maps and guides, creating a detailed trip plan, reserving permits and backcountry sites, making a menu and creating our gourmet DIY dehydrated meals, selecting, gathering, and checking gear and supplies are all part of the fun and adventure for me!

On the back end, the trip isn't fully over until all the gear is cleaned, checked, and stored away properly.  That said, with all the photos and memories from our big trips, the adventure will always live on in our minds and they fuel the dreams and plans for whatever comes next!

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Get outdoors, stay safe, and happy trails!
Todd the Hiker