On our active trips – whether it be hiking, biking, kayaking, skiing or skating – we generally like to have one guide toward the front of the pack to help steer the group, and a “sweep” guide toward the back that makes sure nobody gets left behind.
This summer on our Beartooth Hiking Adventure in Montana, I was hiking with a wonderful alumnus named Jake Jacobson. As is my preference, I was the “sweep” guide on our hike to Mystic Lake, and I noticed Jake was stopping to simply take in the great views and snap photos. Jake is a fit hiker and it was clear to me he was being very intentional about how he was spending his time on the trail and I told him so. He replied, “Oh yes, I am just being a Ferdinand.” You may recall the children’s story of Ferdinand the Bull, who preferred smelling flowers than fighting in bullfights.
I have thought of that moment so many times since that day in August because it struck me that *I* am also a Ferdinand and having a name for what I am brought me great joy (thank you, Jake!). We are the ones who appreciate the journey more than the destination (although we like the destination, too!).
On our trips there are also what I call “Heathers.” (I named these people Heathers for our alumnus Heather Caruso, who has done many, many Zephyr trips over the years. If you have been lucky enough to travel with her, you’ll agree this is an apt description).
I have spent a lot of time over the years as the guide in the front of the group as well, so have witnessed the behavior of Heathers! These are the people who are very goal-oriented and before setting out for the day have already decided they are going to do every mile or kilometer available to them. They will be the first to finish a route and the first to begin walking, cycling or skating after taking a break with the group. They keep a spanky pace, are anxious to get going and keep going, and don’t spend time dawdling. Their enjoyment comes from not only appreciating their surroundings while they are on the trail but also from completing their route.
Are you more of a Ferdinand or a Heather?
Most of our trips can accommodate both Ferdinands and Heathers, but if you lean more towards being a Ferdinand, you might enjoy our Danube Biking Adventure in Germany and Austria next year. Heathers will be able to tackle a few longer routes and some hills on our Tuscany & Cinque Terre Hiking & Biking Adventure in Italy!