Who Am I, Really?

Backpacker: (n)

someone, especially a young person without much money, who travels around an area on foot or public transportation, often carrying a backpack

Hiker: (n)

A walking traveler, usually over mountainous paths.

What makes me a hiker or backpacker? What is it that allows me to call myself as such? Why is it that when people ask ‘What do you do?’ that I would rather as answer ‘I am a backpacker and a writer,’ instead of, ‘I am a volunteer coordinator.’ Why do I identify with being a backpacker more than my actual job title?

These are questions I seem to be asking myself a lot lately. But really, what does make me a hiker or a backpacker? Plenty of people seek out trails and hiking and don’t identify themselves with those terms. So what makes me one? Or can I even really call myself that? Sure, I hike a lot, more than most people in the area, and I try to backpack as much as possible. But does that really make me a hiker or a backpacker? Can I really call myself an adventurer? Is it that I’m planning a thru-hike? Does that make me more qualified? Having logged so few miles and so few backpacking trips, I often wonder if I’m worthy of the title.

I suppose that I could use the argument that this is what I love, this is what I’m truly passionate about. I know more than the average person about trails in the area. I tend to know more about gear, brands, and where to go to get the best deals. I could also tell you where to go to get reliable information on gear. I could teach you how to build a fire, cook without a stove, and hang a bear bag. I know what to do for most medical emergencies on the trail. I constantly seek out books about trails and life on the trail. I also seek out knowledge about plant and animal life on the area. I like to know what’s poisonous, or safe, and what is and isn’t edible. I also like to know where I’m most likely to find snakes (I hate snakes so I prefer to be aware). I’m a book junkie.

I guess I just wonder if that’s enough for now? Knowledge? And passion? Because as much as I wish I was, I’m certainly no professional.

In the end, what I’m asking is this: How can we define ourselves? What guidelines are there to say that I am what I say I am? 


6 thoughts on “Who Am I, Really?

  1. Sometimes I think about this too, especially because I’m passionate about so much. I’m a hiker backpacker environmentalist farmer writer musician traveler biker photographer? Or … I’m just me 🙂


    • I understand that feeling so much! I have so many interests that play a big part of my life. Glad to know that I’m not the only one who wonders this! I guess that’s the beauty of being young, we get to choose who we want to be!


  2. The things we love, the things we seek out and keep going back to, that is what defines us. I don’t think that being new-ish to the hobbies you love most keep you from falling into that category.

    Liked by 1 person

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