The instructions you’ve brought with you don’t make any sense.
It says ‘turn left at kissing gate’, only there’s no kissing gate and, more concerningly, no obvious left turn. With only a battered old map and compass to guide you back to the starting location, you are, without doubt, lost.
You’ve probably scoured all the walking websites, made notes and printed off multiple maps and images of way markers, but how many times have you stood in a field cursing your lack of organised preparation?
Good news - I’ve found the answer, and it lies in the form of a mind map.
What’s a mind map, then?
Mind mapping is the process of unloading one’s brain in order to make sense of the jumble of ideas, wishes and nagging to-dos that jostle for attention. A mind map is a beautifully visual way of planning virtually anything, be it a conference speech, blog post or, in this case - a walking holiday.
How to mind map a walking holiday
A mind map is a brilliant way to plan a walking holiday in advance. Rather than oodles of scribbled notes, you’ll end up taking something like this away with you:
Take another look. I wager that, within just a few seconds, you’ll start to understand the mind map, even though you had no part in creating it. From a central theme, lines are extended out to ‘nodes’, which break down the overall plan into bitesized chunks and use colour coding to help categorise each item. It’s digestible, easy to edit and multiple people can contribute.
In the above example, we’ve picked the stunning Mourne Mountains as the location for our ramble and, in particular, the Mourne Way. Here’s how the mind map is constructed:
The central theme
Mind maps start with the central theme in the middle of the page, circled. In this case, the theme is The Mourne Way - simple (and no confusion as to what this mind map is all about).
Node 1: Key details
Every walking holiday contains a bunch of relevant details everyone needs to be aware of. This particular holiday features one walk, so we’ve listed the distance, how it will be broken down, the difficulty and type of terrain. You can add further to this with suggested dates and transport options.
Node 2: Party
Who’s coming? This node features the people who are coming along for the walk. In particularly large parties, such information can be incredibly useful for head-counting during the walk itself.
Node 3: Walk
The meat of the walk is contained here. Both days are broken down with detail on who holds the full route description, the location of refreshments en route and a reminder of the start and finish points for each day.
Node 4: Kit list
There’s nothing worse than forgetting your flask or hunting around for nonexistent crampons when the going gets tough. This node is where you brainstorm absolutely everything you’ll need to take on your walking holiday, kit-wise. Spend plenty of time on this one!
Node 5: Online reference material
Thankfully, walkers in the modern age have access to a wealth of online support documentation and route guidance. It’s handy stuff to have by your side, which is why we’ve noted the most important links and PDFs against this node. We’ve even extended further and made a note of a to-do in order to ensure that Mat remembers to print off the PDF before setting off.
We’ve used a relatively simple example for mind mapping a walking holiday in this post, but they can become as detailed as you require. The great thing about mind maps is that the larger they get, the more interesting and engaging they become.
Reduce those instances of being lost or forgetting essential gear - give mind mapping a go for your next walking holiday.
Image Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/away-path-hiking-trail-nature-509966/