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Hiking Your Feelings is a companion worthy of anyone’s journey to self-discovery and healing through the outdoors. In her second book, Sawyer Ambassador Sydney Williams shares a valuable perspective on where mental health and the natural world overlap. 

With affirmations, prompts, and reflection exercises throughout — all presented from Sydney’s supportive and self-effacing perspective — Hiking Your Feelings offers a toolkit to unpack your “trauma pack” and step into the best version of yourself.

Speaking of unpacking, there’s a lot of that to be done in these 250+ pages - and we’re sharing some of our favorite gems in this sneak peek with Sawyer. 

Packing the 3 Essentials 

You might be familiar with the 10 essential items to pack for a trip into the wilderness, but these 3 traits are going be essential to have as you dive into the pages of Hiking Your Feelings

Curiosity - Trust the messages your body sends you when it hurts.

Self-Trust - Trust your instincts if something on the trail or in your life sets off alarm bells. Trust your inner knowing about what is right for you at every moment.

Patience - You can’t rush through this. You can’t heal everything all at once, nor should you try. Settle in, double up on your patience, and commit to the journey. You’re worth it.

Unpacking to Heal 

There’s a lot to unpack here, and Sydney doesn’t shy away from tackling some difficult subjects. Sydney refers to a person’s hardest lived experiences as their “trauma pack” and notes the invisible weight folks carry around every day. The first three chapters are dedicated to folks who’ve lived through experiences of trauma related to grief and loss, body image, or trying something new.

“No matter how heavy the load has been, I invite you to take off your trauma pack while you read this book. Feel the burden lift from your shoulders. Roll out your neck. Unclench your jaw. Take a few deep breaths. Settle into a space that feels cozy and safe. You’ve made it this far. You can do this too.”

As the book progresses, unpacking your “trauma pack” continues as a central theme, inspiring chapters focused on understanding distractions, expectations and beliefs, negative thoughts, and more. 

Redefining HYOH

If you’re familiar with the phrases “zero day” or “you pack your fears”, you’ve probably heard someone give you the advice “Hike Your Own Hike” (HYOH). In Hiking Your Feelings, Sydney uses HYOH to empower folks to choose to experience the trail in their own way, and honor their unique process along the way.

“Pretend you’re a scientist and each hike is an experiment. We’re just out here collecting data so we can make more informed choices in the future. On and off the trail, comparison is the thief of joy, and we can have a much more pleasant experience if we allow ourselves to move at our own pace, in our own way.”

Mindful Miles

A gem of Hiking Your Feelings comes at the end of each chapter in the form of activities titled Mindful Miles. Like breath is to meditation, Sydney includes prompts at the end of each chapter to ruminate on the next time you find yourself outdoors. 

“If you’re out on a hike and you find yourself getting distracted by the physical sensations you’re experiencing or the thoughts that come up, simply return to the prompts to refocus your attention.”

Oats’ Favorite Mindful Miles

Who have you lost in your life, and what is your favorite memory of them? 

When was the last time you asked your body what it needs? Have you given it a chance to answer?

Have you lost touch with certain aspects of yourself that you’d like to reintegrate?  

To start blazing your own unique trail to self-love, click here to learn more or order Hiking Your Feelings.


March 5, 2024

Written by
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Katie Houston

Katie AKA Oats is a solo thru-hiker with over 3,000 miles under her belt, making her a passionate conduit for culture, lingo, and other backcountry knowledge. Through her work, she is able to educate audiences on good trail ethics and strive for an outdoor community where everyone feels like they belong. Check out her adventures with Thru the husky on her website and Instagram.

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