How to Avoid the Adventure Comparison Trap

Oh, adventure. You make might heart swell with excitement at the mere thought of you. Every chance I get, I find myself gravitating toward the trails to run with friends, climb a tall mountain, or try something new in the elements.

Paige Kumpf


And then, I go home and blog about it. Or make a post on Instagram. Oh! But maybe I'll also upload those pictures to Facebook.



c. Heck, the other day I heard about someone who was using Periscope (a live streaming social media app) while on top of a mountain. Why wait until you get back in the car, when there's service on this mountain?

Don't misunderstand; I'm not preaching from my high horse, here. I do the same thing. I've always enjoyed documenting my adventures with photos, but now there's an added motivation to snap pictures because they'll soon be posted for the world wide web to see.

With this phenomenon catching on and taking flight at warp speed, it's easy to fall into the comparison trap. It might sound petty, but I'm guessing at some point you, too, have compared your outdoor adventures to someone you follow on social media:

-Wow! She's gone on SO many more camping trips than I have
-He climbs, kayaks, AND runs ultra races?! All I do is hike...
-Oh, she ran a 50k in THAT park? Maybe I should step up my game
-She went backpacking for 5 nights in those elements? I'm not as hardcore as I thought I was...

And so on.

This isn't to say that comparison can't be used for good. If seeing someone else's adventure sparks a fire in you to get out and go on more adventures of your own, all the better! Clearly, there's no harm in that.

It's just important that you're doing it because you want to, and not because you're trying to win at someone else's game. After all, the whole reason we get outdoors is because it's a passion and it's something we love.




What should you do if you're starting to feel the effects of the adventure comparison trap? 

Here are four tactics I use if I start comparing myself to others — no matter the reason why:

1. Remember it's not a competition.  It simply doesn't matter who climbed what faster and longer than who. What matters is that we're doing the things we love as much as we possibly can. Besides, you can't "win" at nature, anyway.

2. Unplug. Take a break from social media for a while! Even better: go camping where there's no reception. Take a long clean break from social media for a while if it's messing with your head. Delete the apps from your phone, and then go get outdoors — for you.

3, Unfriend. Hopefully the first two tactics will be enough, but if you've got an especially competitive nature, block posts or unfriend those whose posts make you feel less than stellar so you no longer see their posts.

4. Remember that you're seeing their highlight reel. Remember that every single seemingly amazing shot posted on social media has its own behind the scenes moment. If someone seems to constantly be going on amazing adventures and posting the 'perfect' moment, remember that you're not seeing what's going on behind the lens.

What tips do you have for managing a competitive edge in adventure? Share in the comments below!
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