Frequently Asked Questions
We’re Happy To Help
Below are some questions that we get on a regular basis, so please review the answers to see if we have already answered your question! If you have a question that has not been addressed here please feel free to contact us, and we’ll get back to you with an answer soon.
Ask us Anything
Yes. We offer comprehensive meditation instructions, specific to the location and activity you will be engaging in on the program.
Most likely, yes. We offer a range of activities, and many involve sitting for periods on the ground. We recommend bringing a towel, small cushion or a lightweight camping chair to sit on.
For most events, yes. Skillful Silence is strongly suggested. At first it may seem intimidating to not speak for a day but once you give it a try, you’ll experience first hand how the mind can settle down in the stillness of silence. Your teacher will speak more about this at the beginning of your event.
AITW programs are mostly in silence. Silence in this context means “social silence”. The facilitator will be giving plenty of guidance about meditation, the activities and practices, giving mini-talks, engaging in question and answer sessions etc. Social silence means refraining from social conversation while you are on the program though sometimes there are periods at the beginning or end of a program or during lunch where conversation is welcome. You are always welcome to talk to the instructor and assistant when necessary.
At first silence with others can seem strange or intimidating. However once you experience it you will see how silence supports the mind to quiet and how it creates a much deeper intimacy and connection with yourself and the natural world and allows you to hear and see much more wildlife and more.
Of course! You can book as many spots on your account as you like. Please note that you will be responsible for conveying all information about the trip to your guest.
We do our best to make sure that we have an outdoor activity for everyone, but we also want to make sure you’re safe and taken care of. When you register for your trip, you’ll see an option to request a modification. If you select this option, you’ll be contacted by one of our team members who will help find a way to accommodate your needs.
Most Awake in the Wild trips and events are non refundable.
When you complete your registration, you will receive an e-receipt immediately (please check your junk filter). As your trip date gets closer, you may also receive correspondence from our office and your teacher confirming details and asking for any additional required information. Remember, you can always view trip details by looking at the trip page on the website or learn more by contacting us directly.
Each trip page has information on any required items that you should pack and guidance on what you should wear.
In general, you should be prepared for a variety of conditions and dress in layers to account for changing weather. You should avoid cotton or denim for any outdoor activity and opt for fabrics that are moisture wicking for base layers (layers that are first against your skin. When it’s cool out, your mid layer is your chance to gain some insulation with a fleece or down jacket. When it’s rainy, windy, or cold out, you should also be sure to have a waterproof and windproof shell jacket to protect you from the elements.
Hiking boots are highly recommended for all hiking and backpacking trips, as they provide ankle and foot support and are made to grip the surface of the rocky trails we visit. During winter and spring months in mountainous areas, waterproof boots are required to keep your feet dry and warm. In the warmer months, sturdy sneakers or trail runners are acceptable on easy to moderate hikes in dry conditions. If you have questions about footwear, please contact us for more tips and recommendations.
You don’t need to run out and buy a bunch of gear for your trip. Check with friends to see if you can borrow items as well as second hand stores. If you decide to purchase new gear, we recommend checking your local gear shops as well as REI.
No problem! You’ll be provided with contact info for your teacher upon registration. Our office team is also made up of AITW teachers who know the ins and outs of our trips. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions. Note that our offices are closed in the evenings and on weekends, but if you send us an email, we’ll be happy to answer as soon as we get back in.
All of our trips are rated on a scale of 1-10. You can find any trip’s intensity on its main page, along with a detailed description. We recommend that you review this information so you can be prepared for your day. We consider a 1 to be the equivalent of walking a couple of hours in a city park and a 9 to be Mount Kilimanjaro – so there’s a whole lot of room in between. Keep in mind that ratings can be subjective, but we’ve done our best to rank trips appropriately based on mileage, terrain, elevation change, and conditions.
If you have any doubts about a trip, please call or e-mail your trip leader and they can provide more information on any trip’s difficulty.
On Trip Day
Our groups usually range from 4-20 people. Your group will usually have either one or two AITW teachers or a teacher with an assistant, depending on the trip. Your fellow participants will likely come from a variety of backgrounds and locations but the one thing that everyone will have in common is a desire to get outside, meditate, and have a great time!
Probably not! Many individuals sign up to join our trips solo. The best part of an AITW trip can often be meeting new people and joining a new community. Even if you show up as a party of one, you’ll be leaving with new friends.
Each program page has that adventure’s departure time listed. We try to stick to these as closely as possible in order to respect everyone’s time and to avoid impacting the planned day. If you’re running late to your meeting location, please contact your teacher directly (you’ll receive their contact information via email before your trip), but note that there are no refunds or credit available for programs missed due to a late arrival at the departure location.
We hike, trek, and paddle as a team, but sometimes people move at different paces – and that’s completely ok. Our teachers will always have your safety in mind and be keeping attentive track of the group. On longer or more difficult trips, we’ll have a sweeper as well. As long as your group is keeping on schedule, there’s no pressure to move fast; enjoy the trip!
That depends on the trip but in general, when you’re on the trail, nature is your bathroom! Your teacher will brief you on Leave No Trace guidelines for using the bathroom responsibly. Always tell someone when you’re stepping off trail to go.
Many of our guides receive medical training such as Wilderness First Responders, so you’re in good hands, but communication is key. Please notify your teacher if you don’t feel well, are worried about a blister, or any other concerns. Also notify them in advance if you have any medical conditions or allergies.
Forecasts change often in the mountainous areas we visit, so we keep a close eye on multiple weather forecasts leading up to any trip. We don’t let a little rain or wind ruin a chance for an adventure. In most cases, the trees will provide quite a bit of cover from passing rain and, as long as you are dressed appropriately, you’ll still have a great day. Please note that your teacher may alter your trip itinerary in the case of inclement weather. If we decide that the weather is unsafe, we’ll notify you by the afternoon before a trip via email. Please note that, unless the cancellation is made by AITW or the teacher, there is no credit or refund due. If we do cancel, we’ll happily transfer your credit to a future trip.
All AITW events are drug and alcohol free. It is important that the container of respect is maintained to support the mutually shared experience.
If we schedule a snowshoeing trip, we make every effort to select a trail that has adequate snow for a great trip. If this is not possible we will change the trip to a winter hike and use either traction devices like micro-spike or just “bare boot” while we enjoy the beautiful time on the trail.
If you have a great day, a tip is a great way to thank your guide for their work. Our teachers are compensated for their skills and teachings directly from the program registration fees. Tipping is not necessary but is always welcome.
For extended retreats, teachers are often compensated solely by the ancient tradition of dana. For those who are not familiar with the Buddhist tradition of dana, please do some research before your retreat so you know how best to participate in this tradition to support your teachers.
On every Awake in the Wild program, you will learn several mindfulness based, contemplative practices in nature. You will be exploring with all your senses an area of natural beauty, even if it’s in a city park. You will be meditating with others, though most of the time you will be in silence, that supports both an intimacy with yourself and the natural world. You will join a safe, supported group experience where you’ll both have fun and learn a lot about being in the natural world with awareness, curiosity and awe.
We work closely with the parks which we visit to ensure that we’re using trails and itineraries that are not impacting already overused lands. We like to go to places that are slightly off the beaten path and less crowded. We also train our teachers in Leave No Trace practices, which they’ll share with every group.
Awake in the Wild supports local and national charity partners and a portion of all AITW trips helps fund certain non-profits, which protect our natural land and encourage a passion for outdoor experiences.