Hike & Work
Table of Content
The goal was to test whether it is possible (and sensible) to have your office with you while hiking. Or rather not only his office but also the bedroom and the kitchen.
Of course, this can only be possible if the work takes place asynchronously to a high degree. So you don't have to hang around in meetings all the time. Here I helped a bit and from the two synchronous working hours we have during the day, I only left the one in the afternoon from 15 to 16:00.
Further, I wanted to see if it was possible to combine sporting activity with work in a simple and straightforward way. I am not an extreme athlete and so it's perfect enough for me to be active in sports for 5-6 hours a day — so if I sleep 7 hours and need 3 hours for my personal organization (personal hygiene, eating, and so on), I still have 8 hours left for work before a 24 hour day (24-7-3-6 = 8). Logical?
In the past, I've done several such experiments:
Introduction: About hiking
It was the first time in my life that I've ever undertaken a multi-day hike. Accordingly, several insights were mixed in here.
The first big realization for me was that you have a much more limited radius of action when hiking than when cycling, for example. This comes to bear negatively when it comes to finding opportunities to sleep but also to fill up water or shopping.
A detour of 4 km is considerable if you walk only 24 km a day (which isn't a bad average if you carry a lot of luggage). So depending on the distance you run, you have to be very flexible or carry an extra portion of food and water.
I don't know about such problems from the bike tours. A detour of 10 km doesn't really matter.
But back to the beginning:
Route and equipment
As a route, I've chosen the Hermannsweg in the Teutoburger Forest. A big plus for me is the closeness: only 30 minutes by train.
Even if the first part is a bit boring, the entire route is very varied and quite demanding due to the many meters of altitude (of course, there are no big mountains to force, but the constant up and down also keeps you quite on your toes).
Unfortunately, the Herrmansweg isn't particularly well equipped in terms of accommodation, refreshments, and shopping. Especially when staying overnight, I've had to plan for quite a long time until I've had a reasonable stage planning (remember, I'd my bedroom with me, so wanted to spend the night in the tent).
More about this is in the third part of this article.
When it came to equipment, the biggest challenge was the office, and by that I don't just mean the notebook (I opted for an old MacBook Air here because it's significantly lighter than my current MacBook Pro). But you also need a certain independency from electricity as well as from common office workspaces.
Accordingly, I took a large powerbank with me, as well as a multi-charger. And instead of the office chair, I packed an ultralight chair — it has already proven to be very practical during bicycle tours: Because, unfortunately, park benches and the like are not necessarily in places where there's good Internet reception. The chair, which can be placed anywhere, eases the situation considerably.
Speaking of Internet coverage, a good mobile router is of course also a must. I opted for a Nighthawk from Netgear M1. It doesn't have 5G, but the price-performance ratio is reasonable. I'd estimate that the entire office equipment weighs 3 1/2 to 4 kg.
Bedroom and kitchen
As I said, I’ve not only had my office with me, but also my bedroom (ultralight tent with also very light air mattress, sleeping bag, and so on) and the kitchen. In addition, the water supply is a not to be underestimated. On the hike in summer temperatures (up to 30 ° C), the 2 l in the Camel Bak were used up very quickly, so I had to access my reserve (0.5 l) several times.
The clothes took the smallest share of my luggage. It was basically a change of clothes for the night and a rain jacket, because other than that I'd merino wool-based clothes with me, which I aired overnight.
And the only luxury I allowed myself was the lightweight biwak sandals. Since I opted for high hiking boots (once twisted, all the fun is over), it was a relief to take off the boots at some times and wear the sandals instead. Mainly in the evening or morning, of course.
Otherwise, there isn't much more to say about the equipment. As a backpack has served me an Ortofox touring backpack. The 45 l were well-sized. I also had trekking poles that have done very good service especially when it went steeply downhill. But otherwise, I find it very pleasant to go with sticks. The only thing that bothered me was the constant clicking of the sticks.
Surprised me that I'm able to carry 14kg with a good backpack. Of course, I was exhausted at the end of the day but I'd no back ache or anything like that.
Hike and work
Some stumble stones
To come straight to the point: The thing that stood in the way of the successful experiment the most was my chattiness. But what can you do: When you're sitting in the middle of the forest with your laptop and working, you catch people's attention. And if you look friendly, a conversation starts very quickly.
And in fact, I wouldn't want to miss any of these conversations. Nevertheless, if you spend 1-2 hours a day chatting with other people, the time you have left to work becomes scarce.
Other than that, I really liked the combination of work and physical activity. I had already written at the beginning that it is essentially important that you are able to do your work very asynchronously. Accordingly, of the two hours a day that we normally reserve to exchange synchronously, I had left only the hour in the afternoon from 15:00 - 16:00 in the calendar.
But even this one hour means stress. Because you have to ensure that you have perfect Internet coverage at that time (for video conferencing, you need much more stable coverage than just for web applications). And since I want to act as a role model, it was important to me that no one would suffer from my experiment and have to accept losses in call quality).
Anyway, finding the perfect place on time at 15:00 means, in practice, that you start looking for suitable places as early as 14:00.
It would be much easier if you could do without such obligations entirely or if you agreed to call when it fits — but that would require increased flexibility on the other side. From my point of view — and that's why I've not implemented it this way — this would be unfair since it's me who's stepping out and doing this Hike & Work activity.
The best solution is to have topics that you can work on asynchronously — with full focus. Because what I've learned to appreciate most in such activities is the focus.
Even, or especially when I'm walking or cycling, I can think very well. And thanks to the smartphone, I can also quickly record such thoughts as a voice memo without having to get out my laptop every time.
From my point of view, many people lack focus. Communication has become faster and faster, but has performance increased at the same time? Has the fact that we are always and everywhere reachable via smartphone and can constantly respond to messages increased productivity?
I haven't read any studies on this. But my perception is that our outcome has not increased. By constantly jumping from one topic to the next, we often lack the time to think about a matter in a concentrated way from all sides, to consider alternatives and so on.
I am a big fan of not staying in theory for ages, but to take the first step quickly. We solve the details as we go, one step at a time. But we have to take the time to decide the direction and constantly take the time in between to rethink the direction.
And for such issues, a Hike & Work can be the perfect setting. Or when you want to work on a new presentation or a new sales strategy or a concept to draft a book.
A Typical Daily Routine
Since I'm an early riser, my day usually starts around 6:00 am. At 7:00 am I'm usually done with the shower and so on and breakfast and start - depending on the temperature - with an hour of work or hiking. On very hot days, I prefer to start earlier in the morning.
Every 1-2 hours, I looked for a nice, quiet place with internet reception (4G or better) and worked there for 1 - 1.5h. Then again 1-2h hiking and so on.
In detail that was then often, as already mentioned, somewhat stressful with the synchronous communications hour at 15:00. In the evening, so from about 17:00/18:00 I then still had a larger block of time for work before I went to bed at about 22h.
The calculation I mentioned at the beginning has proven itself in practice: 24h - 7h sleep - 3h eat, wash, organize = 14h. 14h - 8h work = 6h rest for activities. If you hike at an average of 5km/h, you can manage a few kilometers.
For me, the Hike & Work experiment was a success. I learned a lot: In particular, how important it is to be flexible.
Here's a little anecdote about that. Actually, I had planned the hike in such a way that I had a place for my tent every night (in Germany you are not allowed to camp wild). But because I made such good progress on the third day that I would have arrived at my destination shortly after noon, I spontaneously decided to continue hiking.
Only unfortunately there was no place to spend the night with a tent afterward. And so I stayed in a wellness hotel of emergency. That was not so bad. And the next day the same problem. The solution was this night a pension for long-distance drivers or mechanics. Not so luxurious but very cordial.
And to have this flexibility, next time I would try to avoid synchronous times. I am convinced that we can be very productive also asynchronously.
01. - 04. August 22
Etappe 1: Von Rheine nach Hörstel | Wanderung | Komoot
Emmrich hat eine Wanderung aufgezeichnet: Etappe 1: Von Rheine nach Hörstel. Schau sie hier an und plan dein eigenes Abenteuer mit komoot!
Etappe 2: von Bevergern nach Tecklenburg | Wanderung | Komoot
Emmrich hat eine Wanderung aufgezeichnet: Etappe 2: von Bevergern nach Tecklenburg. Schau sie hier an und plan dein eigenes Abenteuer mit komoot!
Etappe 3: Von Tecklenburg nach Lienen | Wanderung | Komoot
Emmrich hat eine Wanderung aufgezeichnet: Etappe 3: Von Tecklenburg nach Lienen. Schau sie hier an und plan dein eigenes Abenteuer mit komoot!
Pack my bag
- MacBook Air
- AirPod Pro
- Powerbank (25,600mAh)
- 100W multi-charger (3x USB-C 1x USB A)
- USB-C to Apple Watch
- USB-C to Lightning
- Ultralight chair (decathlon)
- Seat cushion
- LTE router
- Peaked cap
- Ultralight Sandals
- Ortovox fleece
- Rain jacket
- Wool undershirt
- Wool shirt (long)
- Hiking socks
- Toilet paper
- Mosquito repellent
- Dry toothpaste
- Solid shower gel
- Hair Wax
- Nail clip
- Paper tissues