hiking metaphor

Hiking: A Powerful Metaphor for Life

Melissa and I recently went hiking in a new area. We were excited to see some different scenery and spend a day outdoors. We packed up our CamelBaks, snacks, sweatshirts, first aid kit, sunglasses, lip balm, and gum. All the essentials.

That is, until we got to the trail head. We weren’t expecting so many bugs this early in the season! Fortunately there was another couple who had just finished their hike who let us use some repellant.

Unfamiliar with the trails, the terrain, and the landscape, I took our trek carefully. I had to be centered and present so as to hiking metaphornot slip and fall. I had to trust that I could navigate what was around that corner; over that hill, without knowing what was in store for me. At one point, a wrong turn cost us 30 minutes, so we had to backtrack to find the right way.

Wanting a water view for our lunch break, we ended up hiking for two-and-a-half hours before finding the perfect spot. My legs were tired. I was a bit shaky from hunger. Perhaps we should’ve compromised the view and stopped sooner or eaten an apple as we walked. Something to think about for next time.

Toward the end of our five-mile hike, I was spent. I was stumbling and tripping over small roots. I didn’t have much strength left to climb up and over boulders. Fortunately, we were only 1/4 mile from the end.

When I reached our car, I was exhausted and elated. I felt proud, strong, and determined. I set a goal and I didn’t let unforeseen circumstances deter me. 

I honored my body’s pace. I used my hiking poles for extra support. I let myself be vulnerable when I was struggling. I didn’t give up when I took a wrong turn. 

While it was a long and tiring journey, it was worth it in the end. 

Sounds like a pretty powerful metaphor for life, if you ask me.

Think about it: You set your eyes on a target. For you, that might be a new job, a stronger partnership, a healthier body, world travel, a clutter-free home, or a better relationship with your kids. You can’t possibly know each and every turn coming your way, or if you’ll be thrown a curveball or two. 

People often talk about the “fear of the unknown.” How can you fear something you don’t know? It’s impossible. The real fear is that you can’t handle the unknown. But when you stick with the journey, despite any bumps in the road, you prove to yourself over and over that you have what it takes.

You recalibrate as you go. You don’t mistake an obstacle as a sign to give up. You try a different route. You ask for help. And when you stumble, you get back up.

And that, my friend, is your challenge for this week. Take one step forward. Then another. And another. You have what it takes. Remind your Little One of that as often as he or she needs to hear it.

Now go get ’em.

4 replies
  1. Cathy Leavitt
    Cathy Leavitt says:

    Thank you for your post. We are from Colorado and love to hike, and I love writing blog posts with metaphors! There are so many things we can learn from hiking!

  2. Dana Law
    Dana Law says:

    Thank you for your deepest thoughts about hiking. I realized I needed a better metaphor for hiking. I give a talk about hiking, and I realized I needed to convey what hiking is about. You say it’s a metaphor for life. A successful life. Stepping out in fear into the unknown, prepared as much as you can on an adventure. For me, it was finding out I had the stamina and resolve to do it. Noel Coward said, “life is for living.” I believe you both have summed it up.
    Dana Law
    San Diego

    • Kerri
      Kerri says:

      Oh yes, Dana! It is about finding out a lot about yourself. That you have the stamina and resolve, and the trust in yourself. It’s a powerful thing, hiking.


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