Survival skills in a modern world ?

Two days coming back from a 3D2N trekking and camping in the best mountain route in Central Highland Vietnam with Dalat Discovery, I still hesitate to write anything about it. Definitely a splendid area which leaves us many photos to show off in social media and another experience to solidify the “strong girl” image I want to create, but part of me feel uneasy. I never trekked or camped before the trip, and may not trek or camp often (or ever?) in the future. In a zoom-out stretch of time, the 3-day adventure seems lost, like a red puzzle piece in a green mosaic. I came back to my modern world and the trip was so unfit to the normal schedule that it felt like a dream. Did it really happen?

Abundance in scarcity

When I brought my carry-on small suitcase to the meeting point, Tuan looked at me, bewildered

Are you serious? Just leave it here and take as little as possible!

Mind you, this is the freaking first time I went trekking. With careless character and lack of experience, I throw everything and brought with me just 2 trousers, underwear and 1 piece of snacks. “The rest I can rely on the organizers”, I thought.

Yet the moment rain dropped and my only pair of shoes got soaking wet, I started to feel that there is not much to rely on. A feeling of immense scarcity surged inside me. When everybody finally got to the hill to set up the camps and we found out that we left an essential device at home, I became so sleepy and tired that I just lied there and slept for 2 hours while others give a hand in setting things up.


When I woke up, around me everything is set like I have been in deep sleep for the whole night

lua trai
Fire is lit (photo credit goes to Tan – the owner of The outdoor life)
porter don cui
Wood ready to warm us up at night

Shoes are dried up from fire smoke

Tea from flowers of this little monster plan along the way

a feast waiting for us
A super delicious feast at the top of the mountain

At that moment, my shame goes away and makes way for the admiration for all the people around me, at that top of the hill. Fear and scarcity pushes people to optimize whatever available around. Necessity is truly the mother of invention.

In modern life and especially in big cities, this rarely happens. With so much available around us, we have become so lazy and reliant that there is no need to strive. We live in such a convenient and protective society that sometimes, it pays off to jump out and be in the wild, to get a slap in the face on how much behind we are in the path called “development”, to remind us skills we lack and more importantly, how much we can learn.

Lost, fickle and self limit

The trip in total was 55km stretching in 3 days with many ups and downs. To professional trekkers, this should be as easy as a cake, yet to me and some others, this was a challenge. By saying challenge, I mean many times I was pain and uncomfort.

Tired in a not so beautiful stop over

Before we departed, all we pictured in mind was lush green hills and the motivation that we can tell our all friends “we did it”. Everyone knew there are challenges included but in a way, we were not mentally prepared.

Or maybe just me, I was not mentally prepared. The moment water nearly runs out and there is still a long distance before we can camp, there was nothing but an overwhelming unease.

dirt path
Keep going

There is a saying “never give up”. That 4 words are said too much that it becomes cliche. In this trip, even though 80% of the trail is super beautiful, many parts were purely dirt. To finish, we gotta move on nevertheless and keep a consistent pace.

As someone who cycles very often, I have been very confident about health, yet once in a while I felt exhausted. Consistence and stamina are required. We cannot rush because rushing does not help so there is only one option left .”Keep going”. Looking up or looking back does not help. Just keep going and concentrate on where we are, one step at a time.

A trip to humble us all

In this trip, I met many people who are way more talented, travel-savvy, those been in incredible trips, yet none of them seems arrogant. Is there a correlation between arrogance and ability? Not always. Yet in trips like this, when we swing ourselves into nature, either intentionally or unintentionally, there are always some moments to shut us all up.

Being so small within immense nature has a profound effect. It helps us to realize how small we are and decrease the big ego inside. It humbles us and therefore, gives us strength to improve.

waking up with sunrise 2

immense beauty
photo credit – Tuan Anh Tran

amazing sunrise

amazing trail

Sometimes just better feel and say nothing.


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