“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime”
– Mark Twain
Hey you reading this. Let’s be serious.
My biggest fear is that some time down the road one of my friends might call me in tears because they’ve realised they’ve been wasting their life.
How do you spend most of your time? Get up, eat breakfast (some of you skip this which upsets me but that’s another story), get dressed and go to work. You’ll probably do this most days of the week with less time for fun.
Are you serious?
I’m still young and I have lots to learn but I’m grateful that I figured this out. Get a back pack, fill it with snacks and water and get the hell outside.
If you don’t believe me, luckily for you I have spent some time lately doing exploratory research into the fact that getting outside will fix you. Straight up, a big dose of Vitamin N (vitamin nature) is probably what you need if you’ve been feeling lost in the daily grind.
So here’s the back ground story.
This summer I am working for Flexpeditions, an outdoor adventure education company in Revelstoke, BC and one of its key missions is to reconnect people with nature. At Flexpeditions I have a marketing role and I’ve been trying to think of a great way to show people the importance of getting outside and inspire them to do so. Obviously this means I made a super corny Movie Maker edit.
But wait, there’s more!
I decided to interview some of my friends that love the outdoors as part of my research and my results were pretty interesting.
What is your idea of the worst way to spend your life?
That was question one. And it stumped a couple of people but it also got me some absolutely astounding answers.
“The worst way to spend my life, would be inside. Inside a familiar place; a place in which I’ve always known, and never known different. The idea of never leaving the comfort of my own home, never exploring the unknown, not knowing the unwritten stories of what life could be. To be trapped by my own self, to never let the adventure take hold, and step into the endless boundaries in which the outdoors offer.” – Patrick, 24, Canada
But to be honest, my answer would be exactly the same.
As I expected, most peoples answers followed the same pattern. No one wants to be stuck inside, doing something they don’t like. But so many of us do it because, let’s face it, we live in a world where we need money for rent and food and that sweet new *insert whatever you’ve been saving for here* but it leads us all to be sad people who have lost their connection to nature. To help people realise this, my next question was:
What do you do for fun?
“Be outdoors, go climbing, go hiking, go walking; just like, be outside. Be in nature.” Anna, 26, England.
“Usually snowboarding, it has been my life for the past 5 years But recently I’ve started moving more towards hiking!” Kate, 24, Australia
“Being outside and putting myself in new settings and new surroundings, while trying new things. Skiing is my one true love, as a sport it embraces my idea of fun in so many ways through uncharted natural beauty, constant exploration, and new challenges at every turn. Biking, rock climbing, fishing, hiking and camping all have unique draws of fun for me as they all offer the pristine and rugged beauty of nature, exploration, and adventure.” – Patrick
People have fun when they are outside. We are just animals with a pretty good brain and being trapped inside isn’t great for us. For some people who have lost that connection it can be hard to think about going outside and they don’t even know where to start. So I thought for some inspiration I would ask these well seasoned outdoor adventurers how they feel when they go outside –
“I feel free and happy, nothing better to feel the nature and the sun or run in the rain” – Francesco, 36, Italy
“Alive!! When I’m outside it’s like all my senses are being awakened by my surroundings. You take in that first breath and feel like your entire body is relaxing, your head begins to clear and all you start to notice the nature calls in the still woods, you eyes adjust and open to the colours around you. It’s the feeling of living” – Kate
“Alive” was the answer I heard most in response to that question.
So let’s recap. The interviewee’s have all said they would hate to be locked inside and working in offices and/or in jobs that they hate. Then they have told me that all their fun comes from outside and they have told me all these wonderful feelings that happen to them when they’re outside and that they feel truly alive. It upsets me greatly that someone out there, someone even reading this article, might be unhappy and have no idea why. Which got me thinking about my last question
“What do you think would happen to you if you were cut off from the outdoors?”
Most answers were about the complete decline in mental health and happiness but Kate gave me the answer that I think a lot of people might relate to but not realise that their way of life might be in direct correlation with their poor mental health.
“I can actually tell you what my life was like without the outdoors! Before I found the outdoors, about 5 years ago, I was a brunch eating, binge drinking, club promoting kinda girl. Everything was about what I wore, who I was with, and where I was seen. I was constantly bitching and whining about my first world problems and stressing about boys. It was not a good time.”
My goal from these interviews were simple. Show people that being locked inside, “being stuck at a corporate desk job making a bald white man more millions while he destroys the environment with his Big Business”(Georgia, 24, Australia) is most people’s idea of the worst way to spend life. People’s fun and mental well being comes from being outside and if that was taken away, people become miserable.
At the end of my research I decided to ask one more thing, probably the most important question.
Would you consider yourself a happy person?
Okay, you’ve waited long enough. Here is my ultra cool Movie Maker video!
So I’m hoping that one of you reading this might be inspired to get out there because not only is it good for you and will make you happier but it also might inspire you to look after the tiny blue blob floating around space that we call home. I’ll dive into that on my next post.
Thanks to everyone who participated, I loved hearing your answers and it made me appreciate you all even more.
Get outside today,