Last week, I wrote about the difference between an expedition, adventure and a trip. After many comments, I still don’t know if I have the perfect criteria for determining if a trip is an expedition, but I do think that we figured out that expeditions don’t necessarily need to be adventurous. In the comments of that thread, Roman Dial, author of Packrafting! An Introduction and How-To Guide, suggested that we could rank trips on a two axis chart. One axis would run between expedition and jaunt and the other between adventure and routine. I drew up the chart to see what it would look like.
On the chart, point “A” is something like a walk to the store, and point “B” is something like climbing K2. I find this chart interesting, because you can use it to figure out exactly what your trip is. If it has features of an expedition more than a jaunt, move point “C” towards expedition. If it’s routine, move point “C” downward. If it’s adventurous move the point up. At some point, you can determine what you think your trip is. It could be a routine expedition, an adventurous expedition, a routine jaunt or an adventurous jaunt (Or as William Latham and Roman Dial pointed out in the last thread, it might be a jaunty adventure).
Even more interesting to me is what kind of trip rests on the center intersection at point “C.” Logistically it might be expedition-esque, but it’s also has features of just a jaunt. Parts of the trip are routine, but it probably also has adventurous moments. It seems to me that seems like the perfect description of a long-distance trip, something like circumnavigating a large island or one of the Great Lakes or hiking a long-distance trail, such as the Appalachian Trail. Those trips have serious logistical challenges such as getting to the starting point, figuring out resupply on the way and living in the woods for months at a time. But, day-by-day they feel just like a day-long jaunt. There may be adventurous moments, such as getting caught on the water during a squall, but much of the trip is routine; you wake up, cook breakfast, break camp, paddle all day, set up camp, cook dinner and do it all over the next day. Then months later you succeed at your goal.
That intersection at point “C” is exactly the types of trips that I love to do. I think the appropriate term/category to call this trip type is a long-distance trip. I’d also venture that most of the trips that we have called “expeditions,” such as Freya Hoffmeister’s trip around Australia and South America or Renata Chlumska’s kayak and bike around the United States or many of Verlen Kruger’s trips, are actually long-distance paddling trips instead of expeditions.