In general, I am an extreme person when it comes to my passions in life. Obsession is something that washes over me the more I dive into something and hunting is far from immune to that. It invades my thoughts throughout the day and affects my attention span. My wife is on the receiving end of all of this and, sometimes, I obsess to a fault. Thankfully, she’s more understanding than I probably deserve. Most of my free time — or vacation time — goes towards hunting. A lot of my nights are spent in the field. It’s my reset. However, it is not everything and taking time for some non-hunting vacations with my wife also needs to be on my radar. These are not only important for her, but also for me. They act as a reset from my reset. Let me explain.
The natural tendency for someone who is into the outdoor lifestyle is to want to do those things on their vacations. I’m not just referring to hunters going hunting either. Doing things under the same umbrella is often a fail safe for hunters. Things like going camping, backpacking, fishing, etc. It might not be hunting, but at the end of the day, it isn’t much different from it. You’re still sleeping in the dirt and smelling less than a million bucks at the end of the trip. Doing something completely outside of that scope, though, is a great way to get out of your own head and hit the reset button.
For my wife’s birthday a few years back, we just randomly made a trip up to Seattle for a couple of days. There wasn’t really a plan in place; we just went. At the end of that trip, I remember feeling so refreshed. It truly broke the monotony of normal life back at home and that was exactly what I needed. I tend to get caught up in my own head about hunting sometimes. Maybe I’m having a tough hunt and am not finding critters or I have a few misses under my belt that season. Escaping that for a moment is nice and I return better than before mentally.
“Why do we always do what you want to do?” I’m sure you’ve all heard that at some point in your life whether it was from someone you love or simply overhearing another conversation. It’s quite easy to fall into this habit. If you love hunting and the only vacations you’re taking your significant other on are hunting trips, something is off. Unless they are as much addicted as you are of course, but that’s a rarity. It is important to spend time with the important people in your life enjoying their interests, especially if they spend time enjoying yours. It is a great way to strengthen your relationships. Keep in mind: that level of thinking doesn’t have to just apply to significant others. It should go for friends and other family members as well.
One of the things my wife loves to do is visit historic places. On that trip to Seattle, we did an underground tour of the old city that lay beneath the actual city. I’ve got tot admit: it was pretty cool seeing that stuff. Another thing she loves to do is visit theme parks. That’s something that I never had an urge to do. Once experiencing it with her, though, I had a great time and look forward to more trips like that in the future. Not only is it nice for me to experience something out of the norm, it brings me joy to see whoever I’m with experience it. Whether it’s a best friend or my wife, happiness is infectious here.
We tend to be hermits. In times like now, I understand that. Why would someone want to pay attention to the craziness of what’s going on in the world today? It’s downright depressing. Staying in our own bubble is much more comforting. However, life does extend far beyond just hunting and the outdoors. And, as off putting these current times are, there is still beauty to be seen and found. Whether it’s seeing a stunning historic structure, experiencing a different culture or witnessing the birth of your child. There is an undeniable value within those things. And those experiences give you a new perspective.
From time to time, I catch myself living in my own little world. Closing off things outside of that realm is quite easy for me. For hunters, this is a common trait. Last year, my wife and I made a road trip out to see a favorite band of ours play for the first time in four years. They were involved in a terrible car accident that nearly cost them their lives. The drummer lost a leg. These fellas needed to learn how to walk again and really how to live again. Watching them get back on stage after that horrific experience moved me. It was inspiring to say the least. I came back from that trip with a new perspective. It reminded me that life is a precious thing that can be taken away at any moment. And, for that reason, it isn’t worth complaining about most of the things we complain about these days — like how many inches a buck actually scored.
Yeah, this might not have been an article on how to get your backcountry set up more ultralight or long range archery shooting tips, but that was the point. It’s different — just like the non-hunting vacations that I’ve been talking about. I’m not saying to go hunting less at all. By all means, do what you want with your time. However, making time for other stuff as well has its perks. As much as I love the hunting lifestyle, there is no doubt value beyond it, especially when you’re spending that time with loved ones. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my wife, great friends and family. They shaped me as did hunting. No matter how extreme my passions are for hunting, taking the time to do the things that, say my wife, wants to do as well needs to equally be on my radar. This world — no matter how big or small it is to us — doesn’t revolve around us. There are good people, amazing places and new perspectives that might do you for the better. In the coming years, we’re actually planning a trip to Hawaii for a family vacation. I hear Hawaii also has some great hunting opportunities, so I could kill two birds with one stone there. There goes that hunting stuff invading my thoughts again…