Luxury hiking. Two words that just don't seem to naturally sit together to those of us who have been walking bush tracks since our little legs were strong and long enough to keep up with our parents. Mud, dust, sweat, burning muscles, dirt. Luxury? Now that word is out of place.
So why are we seeing more and more people on organised, guided, high-end hiking tours?
Well, for starters, life is far more complicated, stressful, superficial, materialistic, over-saturated, digital, automated, concrete and urbanised than it once was.
People are searching for the antidote to the pressures that come with their lives today. They are searching for that reset button. Those who have experienced it will agree that nature combined with exercise has healing powers that can't be found in a bottle. Super-conservationist/environmentalist John Muir knew this before most.
'Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilised people are beginning to find out going to the mountains, is going home; that wilderness is a necessity' - John Muir
Trouble is, although you might know that the answers lie in the mountains, rivers, coastlines and canopies, you don't have the time to organise a hiking adventure. You see, time is our most precious commodity. Once it is spent, you can't earn it back. It's finite. So people want to save their precious time and spend it with family, friends and on the actual travel and adventures that really fulfil them.
They don't want to be wasting it spending hours planning and researching how to logistically coordinate an itinerary to visit places they've never been before. More than that, they don't want to be stressing about any little thing that can go wrong during their walking holiday, where they are meant to be rebalancing and resetting. Suddenly, all-inclusive guided hiking tours make all the sense in the world.
Camping is not for everyone
Just because you feel the call of nature, doesn't mean you have to strap on a 20kg pack, put up with a less than comfortable sleep, pretend to enjoy dehydrated food and learn how to read a topographic map in a strange land.
You don't have to compromise on comfort to experience the magical powers of hiking in nature. Who says you have to? We'll take a hot shower, three-course meal, glass of wine (or two) and a comfortable warm bed over a sleeping mat on the ground in a tent any day. Certainly makes it easier to roll out of bed the next morning ready to do it all again.
Once you've wrapped your head around it, luxury hiking might conjure up images of gentle strolls along river banks and open grass fields. You might think it's hiking for those that haven't really done much of it before. Hiking for beginners. Softcore hiking.
Well, why can't it be for those people, but also for those craving a grittier adventure too?
Luxury, pack-free, all-inclusive, non-camping hiking can also mean steep inclines, uneven ground, burning lungs, a bit of mud and dirt, challenging terrain. It can be for the experienced too.
You won't see or hear the word luxury here
We deliberately choose not to use the word luxury when talking or writing about our tours. For us, luxury is like beauty - extremely subjective. For some people, our tours will be amazingly luxurious, with our fresh, locally prepared food, our comfortable ensuite accommodation and no worrying about the extra weight a bottle of wine might add to your backpack. Others might have experienced luxury differently. We'd rather leave it up to our guests to decide what label - if any - to put on their experience.