Control your freedom

I am not an adrenaline seeker. I don’t particularly care how fast I ski, or how steep the slope is. Those are not my goals during a ski trip. What I do love, is being in control. Or rather, to be optimally prepared. At the risk of being a know-it-all, I research the crap out of the destinations I am planning to go to. For me, preparation is half the fun.

No surprises

Ischgl, Austria. April 2017

I don’t like surprises. Obviously, there are things that remain sort of unknown until the day itself. Things like the actual weather conditions. But then again, you can prepare for all likely scenarios: ‘IF this, THAN that’. Just make sure you have a scenario ready for every variation, so you can switch in a second if things suddenly change.

What happens in my head is actually complete relaxation once I know all the scenarios are neatly stacked up in my brain. Depending on conditions or things happening, I select the relevant one. No stress or deep rethinking needed then and there. That is what gives me the sense of being in control and completely stressless. That is what I really enjoy when skiing (or sailing, hiking, or scuba diving for that matter). The fact that I feel in control gives me the freedom to relax en just enjoy being outdoors.

Thinking before doing

I am an analyst, a thinker. In my work, those are qualities I use on a day-to-day basis. But they are very useful in an outdoor environment too. Even when being spontaneous, a quick assessment of the possible outcomes and risks helps me to relax and to actually enjoy the spontaneous variant. Or rather: if I wouldn’t do that quick assessment – or if I somehow weren’t able to, because someone else is in the lead and I have no overview – I simply would not be able to just enjoy the activity. 

Call me a control freak then. That’s fair. And that would also explain why the activities I love – skiing (off-piste skiing in particular), scuba diving, hiking, sailing – they all can be quite risky if you are unprepared. Once you are confident that you have managed and mitigated every possible risk, that control will give you the ultimate freedom that these sports also eradiate. That’s the paradox: with greater control comes greater freedom.

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