How to share a trekking adventure… and not kill your team mates!

Embarking on a big adventure is an exhilarating decision, whether it involves climbing a mountain, undertaking a trek, or venturing on a multi-day hike. The thrill of the unknown and the sense of accomplishment that comes with conquering a challenge can be truly remarkable. However, to make the most of your journey, it is crucial to set clear and meaningful goals. In this article, we will explore the importance of setting goals beyond the physical aspects, discuss effective communication with fellow your fellow team mates, and highlight the benefits of aligning expectations. By understanding exactly why we are committing to this challenge and what we want to get out of it, we are well on our way to making sure that everyone’s expectations are met.

The Power of Intentions

When it comes to setting goals, many people focus solely on the physical aspects of their adventure. They have a specific route in mind, a mountain to conquer, or a distance to cover. While these objectives are essential, it’s also important to acknowledge the underlying intentions that drive us. By gaining an understanding of what we want to achieve and why, we give our journey meaning and purpose.

Research in psychology emphasizes the significance of setting intrinsic goals, which are personally meaningful and aligned with our values and passions. Studies have shown that pursuing intrinsic goals leads to higher levels of motivation, satisfaction, and well-being compared to extrinsic goals, which are driven by external rewards or pressures (Kasser & Ryan, 1996).
An Extrinsic goal would be wanting to achieve your adventure goals, to prove yourself to friends and family or to prove to others that you can do it. Whereas the intrinsic for the same achievement would be that the journey itself becomes an opportunity for self-reflection, building resilience, and developing a deeper understanding of one’s capabilities.

So, take a moment to reflect on your adventure and ask yourself:
What do I want to accomplish? How do I want to grow as a person? What experiences do I want to cherish? By exploring these deeper intentions, you can create a more enriching and transformative journey.

A goal shared…

Once you have identified your goals, if you are travelling with a spouse, friend or a team it is crucial to communicate what you are hoping to get out of the journey with them. Open and honest communication sets the stage for shared experiences, prevents misunderstandings, and fosters a supportive and harmonious environment throughout the adventure. Each person brings their own aspirations and expectations, and by sharing them from the beginning, you can align your goals and create a cohesive group dynamic.

A study published in the Journal of Applied Communication Research highlights the importance of clear communication in group settings. The researchers found that effective communication from the start enhances group cohesion, reduces conflicts, and promotes a sense of shared understanding (Rogers & Steinfatt, 1999). Therefore, when embarking on an adventure with others, take the time to discuss your goals and listen to their aspirations as well. Are they seeking a physical challenge, a leisurely experience, or something else entirely? Understanding each other’s desires allows for better planning and ensures that everyone’s needs are considered.

The D Word .. embracing Diversity

Whilst setting clear goals and communicating them, you are more than likely to come across the varied interests of your fellow travelers. Just as you have your own passions and curiosities, others may have different inclinations.

For example, I love understanding the flora and fauna of the environments I find myself in. To indulge in this interest, I carry field guides on plants and birds and you’ll regularly finding me stopping to identify a species of plant I haven’t come across before. For others it might be the culture of the area they are in and for some it may be purely the physical challenge of what they are doing. To ensure a harmonious journey, explicitly communicate your intentions and encourage others to express their interests as well.

What’s interesting, especially for expedition environments is that studies have shown that having diverse perspectives and experiences and acknowledging them with each other in a positive and supportive way fosters an environment of creativity, problem-solving skills, and innovative thinking (Leung & Chiu, 2010)… and what expedition couldn’t benefit form that.

Aligning Expectations for a Fulfilling Journey

By gaining a clear understanding of your own goals, communicating them effectively, and embracing the diverse interests of others, you can align expectations and set the stage for a more fulfilling journey. When everyone’s intentions and desires are acknowledged and respected, the adventure becomes a truly shared endeavor that enriches each individual’s experience.

Aligning expectations also minimizes the potential for disappointment and misunderstandings along the way. When everyone is on the same page, the group can collectively navigate challenges and celebrate achievements together. This sense of camaraderie and support not only enhances your trip but also strengthens the bonds between team mates and travelers.


Setting goals is not only about reaching physical milestones; it is about infusing your adventure with meaning and purpose. Mountaineer Ed Viesturs said, “The summit is just a halfway point.” To me what Ed is saying is that reaching the summit is not the ultimate goal but just part of the journey. Embrace the entire adventure, and everything that you can learn and observe along the way… the challenge that you are undertaking, the environment you are in and the people whom you are with or meet along the way.

By delving into your intentions, being an enthusiastic, positive and curious team member, by communicating effectively, and embracing the diverse interests of your fellow travelers, you can create an awesome,  transformative and enjoyable journey.

So remember, as you embark on your next big adventure, set your sights high, communicate your aspirations, and embrace the joy of shared experiences. As you climb those mountains, trek those trails, or travel off into the unknown, enjoy the process, and make the most of every step along the way.

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Kasser, T., & Ryan, R. M. (1996). Further examining the American dream: Differential correlates of intrinsic and extrinsic goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22(3), 280-287.

Leung, A. K., & Chiu, C. Y. (2010). Multicultural experience, idea receptiveness, and creativity. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 41(5-6), 723-741.

Rogers, P., & Steinfatt, T. M. (1999). Intergroup communication as a function of perceived group and audience characteristics. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 27(3), 181-201.

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