Trekking anywhere is serious business, with beginner-level treks starting as multi-day ‘hikes’. Advanced treks can last up to months in duration, and all treks are known for their challenging terrain. In fact, most treks take place in fairly isolated areas, far from infrastructure of any sort.
This means that trekkers must trek in teams, as a safety measure in case of emergency. This way, if a team member becomes ill or injured, other members can journey back for help, while one or two remain with the injured person.
But there is more to teamwork than safety precautions alone, and working as part of a team can have a significant psychological impact as well. While an individual might be faster alone, a group will push further together. There is no doubt that being part of a group is both motivating and inspiring, and trekking can create close bonds.
Although the activity might not turn enemies into friends, it opens up the opportunity for in-depth conversations. These conversations are a welcome distraction from the physical challenge of the trek and may include elements of encouragement too.
Read more: Trekking: How to Prepare the Body, Mind and Soul.
Communication and Consideration
Trekking encourages open and honest communication, particularly in terms of pace. A team is only as strong as its weakest link, and when it comes to trekking, this statement refers to fitness.
As not all members of the team possess the same degree of fitness, there will always be one who is the least fit. But even if the said individual doesn’t speak up about their struggles, it is generally easy to see when a person is suffering physically. In cases such as this, it is up to the rest of the team to adjust the pace to a level that is manageable.
Teamwork and communication go hand in hand, whether in verbal or non-verbal language. That being said, there are numerous occasions during a trek where team members will need to communicate.
This communication should be assertive, and not passive or aggressive. From navigating a route to stopping for the ‘bathroom’, to choosing where to pitch a tent – the situations where communication is needed are endless. As a result, trekking offers teams the opportunity to improve their assertive communication skills in the midst of beautiful natural surroundings.
Encouragement and Comfort
Being part of a team is good for morale, as the casual banter keeps spirits high during tough times. Given the demanding nature of trekking, there are often occasions when members may feel like giving up.
At times like these, being a part of a team can keep a person going when they would have rested or turned back had they been alone. Minor injuries are not uncommon, and a soothing word here and there can prove invaluable on a trek. Psychologically, it is easier to complete a journey in a group as opposed to flying solo.
Teamwork is all about emotional support and creating an enjoyable journey. Where trekking alone may seem tough after a few hours, the same trek would be ten times more bearable in a group.
Embarking on a trek creates a sense of togetherness and community, given the shared goal of the final destination. Along the trip towards the endpoint, trekkers will be placed in numerous scenarios calling for both comfort and encouragement. In light of this, trekking offers team members the opportunity to enhance their interpersonal skills.
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Loaning and Sharing
Solo trekkers must carry every single item of camping and cooking equipment, alongside clothing and food supplies. On the other hand, groups of trekkers can share the load, and distribute essential items evenly. Not every member of a team needs to carry a tent, and sharing equipment will lessen pack weight considerably.
Meals can take on a tastier flare, as sharing seasoning and the like is conducive to variety. Of course, even sharing the food won’t be gourmet, but loaning and sharing in the wild is worth the teamwork!
That being said, the saving grace for solo trekkers is a phenomenon known as the “magic trail”. This tradition sees trekkers (on selected treks) leave behind items such as food and drinks alongside the trekking trail. The act of goodwill serves to assist other trekkers on the trail behind them – strangers who may always remain a mystery.
In the case of solo trekking, the magic trail could well turn out to be a saving grace, as individual supplies could be buried deep within a pack. The weight of food and water also causes many solo trekkers to abandon carrying too much. All in all, it is easier to trek in a team!
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Introspection and Perspective
A trek can be likened to the journey to enlightenment, where every step on the path leads to a final and glorious destination. Although we can’t promise liberation with just one trek, treks are commonly reported to spark spiritual insights.
Given the long periods of time on the trail (or through the wilderness), trekkers have time to reflect. This type of deep introspection serves to shine a different light on problems and sparks a more philosophical outlook. New experiences too, have the effect of broadening one’s perspective.
For example, a person who may previously have identified as an atheist may find themselves moved to the point where they begin to identify as a believer. The beautiful natural surroundings are a profoundly spiritual experience, the ideal setting for mindfulness or contemplation.
Awe-inspiring sights lift the spirit, and as a result, many trekkers attest to finding God. But no matter your religious orientation, the introspection offered by trekking can lead to enhanced relationships. This is due to a shift in perspective, brought upon by in-depth reflection.
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The Bottom Line
So there you have it, a comprehensive explanation of how trekking builds teamwork. Not only does it enhance communication skills, but it heightens compassion and consideration as well. Additionally, trekking can strengthen relationships, both within the team and beyond.
By providing fellow team members with encouragement and comfort, bonds are likely to form. Last but not least, trekking is best done in teams for practical reasons. Aside from the fact that the physical burden is shared, teams benefit from emotional support as well.
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