Expedition Mentality Questions Answered


Source of Confidence

Going on a canoe expedition for seven months requires a lot of preparation. You need to figure out your route, pack your food (or figure out where to buy it along the way), acquire necessary gear, and let people who are not coming with you know what you are up to just in case there is an emergency. You also need to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally to be away from modern conveniences like a refrigerator or showers and to rely on yourself and your team in new and unpredictable ways. It’s a lot to think about and prepare for but it all contributes to the success of the expedition. Having the mindset to focus on taking care of yourself, your team, and your resources is called Expedition Mentality (EM).


A good EM means that you make decisions as an individual and as a group that keep you, your team, and your resources in balance. If you spend too much energy on only one of these and not enough on the others, you will likely run into some problems.

In order to prepare ourselves for the ups and downs of expedition life, we answered the following questions about ourselves and each other:

What is your personal purpose? What are your personal goals?
What are you willing to sacrifice for the journey? What are you not willing to sacrifice?
What strengths do you bring to the expedition?
In what areas would you like support?
– Be honest with yourself
– Be open to supportive feedback from your teammates

Who do you have with you?
– What are their strengths?
– Support needs? (Ask them)
What are your strengths as a team?
– When are the moments when you shine?
What are your weaknesses as a team?
– When do you clash?
– What might it be hard for you to see?

What do you have available to help you on your journey?
How do you ensure the continued supply of necessary resources?

Follow the links to view our answers.










Strengths as a team:

  • Commitment to excellence in serving the mission
  • Creativity, passion, the skills and confidence to share it
  • Engaging, bold, enthusiastic
  • Taking care of each other

Moments when we shine:

  • When we understand our roles and feel autonomous and validated within them
  • When we are talking about SOC with other people
  • When we have taken time to get on the same page emotionally; clearing the air and appreciating each other

Moments when we clash:

  • When we feel like we need to compete with each other
  • When our egos get into battles – protecting ideas, values, resources (even though we share many of these things, we do differ on some)
  • When we are tired, hot, stressed, or hungry



The three of us have different backgrounds and skill-sets so we pooled them together to share with each other for the success of the team.

Backcountry skills:
• Awareness of surroundings, self, team – weather, changes in environment, changes in personal and team energy
• 1,000 + days of field experience (re: cultivation of good judgment)
• Shelter-making, fire-building, navigation, food-cooking, knot-tying, and other survival skills
• Wilderness First Responder – medical training for remote settings
• Canoe skills, including whitewater experience and certification
• Ability to find joy in both the beauty and suffering of expedition life

Communication skills:
• Conflict resolution (practiced facilitator)
• Practiced facilitator of vulnerable conversations (for self and others)
• Strong intent to work as a team, solve problems, and support one another

Viki’s support:
• Encouragement, ideas, validation, perspective, mad love
• Resupplies of food and gear
• Documentation, editing, image-crafting

Wilderness Classroom (Amy and Dave Freeman):
• Knowledge, support, advice
• Website infrastructure, networks, audience base
• BOAT; a 17 foot Wenonah Cascade who we call “Drifty”
• Equipment – solar panels, battery packs, waterproof cases for electronics

Kickstarter supporters:
• Family, friends, and kind-hearted strangers who contributed the $$ to fund the vision

Sponsors and donations:
• Food: Simply Native wild rice cereal; GoMacro bars; Ku’l Chocolate; Dunn Brothers coffee; Trailtopia Adventure Food; Bent Paddle Brewing Company Beer
• Gear: Frost River portage packs, Sanborn Canoe Company paddles; Patagonia rain jackets; Alpacka Raft pack rafts; Western Canoe and Kayak portage cart

For Educators: Ideas for bringing our Social and Emotional learning curriculum into your classroom.

Bring our Explore-work into your classroom:

We want to know what you are up to and how you approach challenges in your life. Consider the questions below and share your answers with us!

– What journey are you on or would you like to go on right now?
– What is your purpose on this journey?
– What is shaping your “Expedition (substitute expedition for Life) Mentality?”
o How are you prepared?
o What can you do to prepare to go forward with confidence?
o Who is on your team? How do you best work together?
o What resources do you have?

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