by Kettler Thomas
Elevation: 4,800 feet
Far too often we live in constant fear of missing out. We are afraid that others are having rewarding experiences of which we are not a part. When we live in this constant state of fear what we actually end up missing out on is our own experiences.
It’s no secret that social media and cellphones keep us more connected to our friends and loved ones, but this comes at a cost. We end up caring less about what we are doing with our own time and more about what others are doing with their time.
I have personally realized the most gratifying experiences for me, come from when I am able to distance myself from the constant digital connections and instead create my own unique experiences. This past September I was able to do just that.
Previously I had done a lot of traveling with friends and family, but never on my own, and never without an agenda. My goal for this trip was to be able to clear my head. Strike out on the road by myself with no agenda and no itinerary— and I that’s exactly what I did. I packed my Subaru with sleeping bags, tents, photo gear and enough instant coffee packets to last a lifetime. I headed north from Park City, Utah up to Glacier National Park, Montana.
From the moment you cross into the Glacier National Park your iPhone turns into an overpriced paperweight. I spent a few days in Glacier exploring all the beautiful and unique landscapes that it had to offer. After about 4 days of eating instant oatmeal, having no cellphone reception, and just getting a few quick hours of sleep each night I proceeded on to Banff, Canada.
The drive from Glacier National Park to Banff during the end of September is one of the more amazing things I've ever done. Along the way I was driving through foggy mountain passes filled with lush, moss covered pines, vibrant fire colored aspens and perfectly still lakes every few miles. When I got to the border I was pulled into a small dark interrogation room where I was interrogated and searched for a good hour and a half. After finally being set on my way my first stop was Lake Louise. When I reached the lake I was in shock. I had never seen something so unreal and beautiful in my life. I had seen millions of photos of the lake online but no photo could hold a light to how amazing this place truly is. The vibrant turquoise water was unlike anything I had seen before. Off in the corner of the lake was a small cabin with canoes stacked right out front. The clouds sit perfectly along the tips of the large green pines, slowly moving in and out to expose the frosted peaks of the mountains that surrounded the lake.
That night I stayed in a beautiful Swiss hotel packed into a dense forest of pines. From my window I watched as huge soft white snowflakes fell quietly. After receiving its first major snowfall of the season, Banff was turned into a new world. All types of animals came down from the higher elevations in search of food, including huge elk and massive grizzlies. After spending a few more days exploring this snowy dream world I proceeded to head back home.
Throughout the duration of my eight day trip I wasn't able to use my phone. So instead of worrying about what other people were up to I spent the time creating new experiences for myself. I talked to new people, tried new things,(Canada has this candy called Maynards fuzzy peaches which put American Peach-Os to shame) explored unfamiliar lands, and learned things about myself that I previously didn't know.
All in all it doesn't take going to a new country, sleeping in a tent and getting uncomfortably close to a grizzly bear to create your own unique experiences. It just takes setting down your phone and enjoying the moment that you are in.
You can follow along with my other adventures at Kettlerthomas.com or on Instagram @Kettler_
Get The Summit Delivered to Your Inbox
"Create Your Own Experiences"
by Kettler Thomas
The Summit is created by a team of guest writers and photographers.
Header photo courtesy of Kyle Sipple