Dromomania – The Reason I Hike
Thru-hikers tire of answering the one question we get asked many times: why do we do it? A few cannot answer; others will spoil you with many reasons. Perhaps it’s just the pure act of hiking itself, or maybe the thrill of spending several months in the wild.
I have pondered this question many times over the years but it wasn’t until a few months ago that a definitive answer presented itself. So definitive in fact I reclined in my chair, clasped my hands behind my neck and I smiled.
Zion National Park Hiking Map Photo Gallery
Crikey, that’s it!
Dromomania, from the Latin dromas and mania is an uncontrollable impulse to wander. It’s often appeased at the expense of careers, relationships and with a blithe disregard to mortgages, pensions and general financial planning. When I first saw the word, despite it sounding like an illness, a dazzling light bulb blinked on upstairs.
In extreme cases, a dromomaniac may have no memory of their travels – such as Jean-Albert Dadas, a Frenchman from Bordeaux who walked to far-away cities such as Moscow with no recollection of his travels.
The fact that mania is tagged on the end of this word is unfair. Let’s face it; most of us consider anyone with a mania to have been dealt some rough cards. The act of indulging in dromomania should not be frowned upon, it should be embraced. I believe that instead of chastising the condition, the blame should be laid firmly on the act of being stationary, being in one place for too long.