I’d like to thank Boulder Canyon for sponsoring this post and for fueling our outdoor adventures with delicious snacks! All opinions are my own.
Are you Indoorsy or Outdoorsy?
I am definitely more outdoorsy. But if you met me today out on a trail or camping ground, you’d never think that this self-proclaimed mountain girl was actually raised in a big city surrounded by skyscrapers as far as the eyes can see!
Growing up, my contact with nature only happened when we went on vacations and was decidedly coastal.
So how did I fall in love with the great outdoors and more importantly how can you find and follow your own path into becoming more outdoorsy?
HOW TO FIND AND FOLLOW YOUR PATH INTO THE GREAT OUTDOORS
My first real hike was at the Grand Canyon when I was 18. I was young, and completely unprepared. My mom, brother and I hiked more than 8 miles from the rim to the bottom of the canyon and back up in the middle of the summer with nothing but a water bottle and a couple snacks.
We barely made it back and were in such a bad shape that we could have been rescued by the rangers.
It’s NOT how you should start your experience into the great outdoors!
But, instead of telling you that you need to overthink your first adventure, I want to tell you that becoming more outdoorsy doesn’t have to be complicated.
You can start by going for a walk in a park near you or you can go all in by booking an adventure vacation somewhere remote.
There is no right or wrong way, but you have to start somewhere!
Take a class
There are many sports that will make you more outdoorsy, and some require a good level of instruction to keep you safe and others that are perfect for beginners.
I recommend you take them. Not only will you learn a lot and avoid putting yourself into dangerous situations (like I did in the Grand Canyon), but you will also get to meet likeminded individuals and even find yourself a partner for those new adventures.
I’ve personally taken classes on scuba diving, hiking, paddle boarding, surfing, camping, windsurfing, kayaking and more.
Try different things
I know you must be thinking that after my ordeal in the Grand Canyon, I fell in love with hiking and never stopped, right?
Wrong! I didn’t go on any other hikes after that until I was in my late 20s, maybe because I was traumatized by the whole ordeal.
But I didn’t let that stop me from trying out different outdoor sports like scuba diving.
My husband and I didn’t go on a traditional honeymoon after we got married. Instead we rented a van in Australia (before #vanlife was a thing) and drove the Gold Coast for five weeks, camping and doing things we hadn’t done before like scuba diving or sailing a racing yacht.
Mind you, I get motion sick riding in a car, but I am game for doing once-in-a-lifetime things like that, because you never know what you will fall in love with.
We loved scuba diving so much that for a decade after that, half of our time off from work was spent underwater – and let me tell you, it’s a whole different world down there!
Get the right gear
Once you find what you are passionate about, getting the right gear is essential.
Going on a hike, for example, without proper shoes, backpack or the ten essentials will most likely leave you feeling like you are definitely not outdoorsy! But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The right gear can improve experiences immensely by providing comfort and practicality and they make you look like you know what you are doing too.
Ask for advice from other people doing the sport, head over to a sports store that employs knowledgeable staff that can provide advice and has a good return policy so that you can try out your new gear on the field. If it’s not the right fit, good stores will take it back- no questions asked.
Buying used can also save you a lot of money- things like tents, sleeping bags, etc, that are not body type related, are great candidates for second-hand purchases.
Find your tribe
There are so many people who love being outdoors! If you don’t know any, it’s because you haven’t found your tribe yet.
That was true for us until we moved to Colorado. When I used to tell my friends in the East Coast that I was taking time off to go camping, white-water rafting and hiking in Canada, they would ask me “why?”.
Now, if I tell my friends I want to climb a fourteener, they say “when?”.
There are many clubs for all types of activities that you can join to find your tribe. If you like scuba diving, there are local clubs that plan and take trips together. If you like hiking, climbing, cycling, camping, running, mountaineering, etc- there are clubs for that too.
These days you can find groups on Facebook or Meetup for just about anything.
I am a firm believer in rewarding yourself for a goal achieved. If that means walking outside for 20 mins every day or running a marathon, it really doesn’t matter.
Whatever the accomplishment, you should reward yourself.
One of our traditions now is to take a treat every time we are on a hike to be enjoyed at half-point or at the end. It allows us to really take in our environment and also reflect briefly on what we have just done.
It’s a small thing to say “hey, we did it!”.
Pack enough food and water
If nothing else, you should bring extra of these things. I can’t tell you how desperate it is to run out of water or food and still have miles to go. It’s not only stupid, but dangerous too.
Now that I know a lot more about hiking (thanks to things I learned in classes and from fellow hikers), I always carry a backpack filled with essentials and emergency supplies. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 2 miles or a 15 miles hike.
Two things I’ll not be caught outdoors without are food and water! And the best thing about being outdoorsy is that you can bring delicious snacks like Boulder Canyon’s potato chips and everyone will appreciate it.
I particularly love Boulder Canyon products, because they are made with simple ingredients and are cooked in unique oils – avocado, coconut, rice bran, sunflower and olive oil!
If you have a special diet restriction, allergy or just a preference for healthier ingredients, you will appreciate the variety.
Besides being a smarter choice for snacking, Boulder Canyon’s thick cut, kettle cooked potato chips are like the outdoors – crisp, crunchy, bold, real! They contain no trans fats, are Kosher and gluten-free! But more important are incredibly delicious!
I love them all, but my favorite has to be the Olive Oil with Sweet Vinegar!
Remember how it made you feel
The proof is in the pudding! And you know you are hooked, when you keep talking about your adventure for weeks or years after it is over.
The trick is to remember how it made you feel and keep doing it. Don’t let your desire to become more outdoorsy be squashed by every day routines and obligations.
For me, being outdoors is a stress and anxiety reliever, it’s where my family connects, where we build memories and where I feel the most alive.
Find out what the great outdoors does for you, and keep doing it even when life gets busy.
Of course, it should never feel like a chore. If it does, that particular activity may not be your passion, so try something new.
And of course don’t forget to take Boulder Canyon with you – now with a new look, but same great taste – because potato chips make any adventure better!
How Do I Know if I’ve Become More Outdoorsy?
So you’ve followed your path into the great outdoors, you’ve found a new passion, made new friends and learned a few things along the way.
You might still be asking yourself if that is all that takes to become more outdoorsy.
The answer is simple- yes!
Living an outdoors lifestyle doesn’t need to be complicated or extreme. You don’t need to climb Everest or know how to build a canoe from twigs (although it would be awesome if you did).
It’s a simple as just making time, every day or week, to breathe fresh air, go for a walk, or do things you enjoy – outside!
I hope these tips have inspired you to take the leap and follow your path to the great outdoors, and who knows, you might be more outdoorsy than you realize!
Please share with me on the comments below how you became more outdoorsy and if you haven’t yet, what steps you are taking towards your next adventure!
You can learn more about Boulder Canyon and its heritage in The Flatirons of Boulder, Colorado here.