‘It’s fun to have fun, but you’ve got to know how’, said The Cat in the Hat.

No tramper would disagree with that sage advice, especially when reminiscing over a prior epic in the Hills. But there is more to fun than just enjoying it. Listening to Lydia Bradey on Radio New Zealand over the Christmas break, I was interested to learn that there are different sorts of fun, which may be characterised.

To paraphrase, Type I Fun is when you come back from a jolly nice tramp in good weather with good friends. The memories won’t be vivid. Type II Fun comes about from getting yourself into sticky situations that, at the time, you rather wished you weren’t experiencing. You look back on that sort of trip with relish and, with time, fondness. They are those ‘character-building’ tramping trips. Type III Fun comes from those outings that, even afterwards, you rather wished you hadn’t participated in. I would guess that a really good ‘epic’ falls into the more severe end of Type II Fun.


Words are important, for they expand and limit our thinking. Over Christmas I found some wonderful words that ought to be appropriated by trampers: 

Resfeber (n.) – A Swedish word referring to the anxiety and anticipation simultaneously felt at the start of a journey. 

Fernweh (n.) – Literally ‘distance-sickness’ in German, the ache to get away and travel to a distant place. 

Sehnsuch (n.) – A German word describing a wistful longing and yearning for travels past and future. 

Dérive (n.) – Literally ‘drift’ in French, it properly translates as spontaneous and unplanned journey where the traveller leaves their life behind and leaves them to be guided by the landscape.

Schwellenangst (n.) – A German word for crossing a threshold to embark on something new.

Sturmfrei (adj.) – German for the freedom of being alone and being able to do what you want. 

Hygge (n.) – An important Danish word describing the warm feeling you get whilst enjoying the company of great friends and all life has to offer. 

However my current favourite is Coddiwomple (v.), which is English slang for travelling purposefully towards a vague destination and sums up my last tramping trip. I am sure there are plenty of others that readers may like to contribute.

Ka kite,

Robin McNeill

This article was re-published from the March 2017 issue of FMC’s Backcountry magazine. To subscribe to the print version, please visit will be regularly re-publishing a number of stories from Uncle Jacko’s Cookery Column here on Wilderlife.