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In this section I explain how I normally plan my trips. My approach may not suit everyone, as I often bet on chance and improvisation skills. Usually it leads to good results. But sometimes it doesn’t.

Planning a trip always starts with the idea to go somewhere. Whether it hits you randomly in a nightmare or through other people – it makes no difference. In any case, at one point you’ve got the idea sitting in your head.

Then, of course, I go online and look up the highest peak of the country – its exact location, height, difficulty level of the track, and whether there are any travel journals available in Estonian, Russian or English about attaining the peak. Usually there are. If I’m lucky, another Estonian has already been there and we can meet up or exchange emails. Based on the gathered information (and sometimes also maps) I calculate the possible duration of the trek, compile the list of required equipment, define the initial schedule and create a rough budget.

Then I find travel companions and together we define the possible time range for the trip. Sometimes even exact dates. If necessary, we start training as a group. At the same time we’re looking for plane tickets (if air travel is involved) and choosing equipment. It’s wise to spread the process of gathering equipment over a longer period of time – this way it’s remarkably less painful financially.

Once the plane tickets have been secured, I can relax with the knowledge that everything else can be done right before leaving for the trip. That includes planning the menu, buying the food and arranging the insurance.

And then I leave. As soon as we’ve arrived, different variables start defining the course of things and every moment is interesting.