Sarah Tiedemann in the Adirondacks

Book review – “Traveling with Baggage: A Guide for the Hesitant Hiker”

We’ve all had those moments of panic while saying yes to a trip, finalizing packing lists, realizing we don’t have anywhere to stay or when facing a charging bear. Sarah Tiedemann has experienced all these and more, but it hasn’t stopped her from hitting the trails.

The book
Sarah had serious anxiety as a kid. Over time she learned to talk herself down, but it all came back when faced with upcoming outdoor adventures. Her new book, “Traveling with Baggage: A Guide for the Hesitant Hiker” is a hilarious mix of serious advice and tales of her personal terrors.

When you hear of her intense anxieties, you may wonder how she has spent so much time outside. She has truly learned how to identify her fears.

Author Sarah Tiedemann
Author Sarah Tiedemann.

“Keep exploring and traveling. You won’t necessarily become comfortable, but you’ll have the tools to deal with yourself,” she wrote.

Sarah’s tools include thanking her body and mind for doing their job in going into panic mode. This is quickly followed by identifying her fear, rationalizing why she’ll be fine and moving on. When she and her husband tried ziplining for the first time, she acknowledged her fear of heights, realized the chances of equipment failure were slim and jumped off the platform. She had so much fun they went back weeks later with friends in tow.

In the book, you’ll learn how to plan for a trip of any size, from gear to bring to safety information, what to do in case of an emergency and how to handle fears that pop up.

The author and her husband enjoying the Adirondacks.
The author and her husband enjoying the Adirondacks.

Sarah also shares the importance of adventuring with a partner you trust. If you’re totally in your head about your fear of falling over a cliff, requiring an air evacuation or getting giardia (no thank you!) it’s best to say so out loud. This way you can combine brains to figure out why the chances of your worst fears happening are low, and move on to enjoying yourself.

Sarah typically hits the road with her husband who knows just how to coax her over a fallen log in the middle of a river and help her to the summit. She doesn’t need him, mind you, but he’s helpful in those moments of sheer panic. He also does the packing, with the guidance of Sarah’s extensive lists. Pairing up with someone who may be more of a risk-taker is also not a bad idea as finding a compromise will ensure you are getting a bit out of your comfort zone while still staying safe.

Sarah also suggests this tip: if you’re still panicking about one thing or another, think statistics. You’re more likely to die in a car on the way to the airport than while in flight. Stick that fact in your think tank and bring it back when your plane starts to taxi for takeoff.

Despite all the author’s rational (and not-so-rational) fears, she heads out on outdoor trips all over and is always back for more.

You can follow Sarah’s hesitant hiking and other travels:
On the web
Email [email protected]

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