Staying at home is great, it really is – you are mostly comfortable, you have company, entertainment, food as you like, water that doesn’t need filtering, you can sit/lay/rest as you wish and many other great things. Yet for some reason we still go outside, to the cold/hot weather, the bugs, the sweat, the wet ground or scorching air, we choose it all over the home comfort – why?
I sin in this regard, a lot. Since starting training for the Cape Wrath Trail I have been away every month on a weekend hiking trip, and throwing in long day hikes and trail runs – so why? What inspires such odd behavior? Some of the answers are obvious, and some are less. First off is my family, and yes, I know it is counter intuitive, I go away from my family for them?? Yes, I do. For some reason after a night or two outdoors by myself I’m a better person, and that is all I want to be for them. I also want my kids to see me as an inspiration as they grow up and learn that they can also make their own choices. Last, I like missing them, and I really miss them every time I go.
Second is the challenge, the self experiment – it is addictive, and the many people who sign up to do races of all kinds will tell you about the excitement and adrenaline. I don’t race, but I do have a challenge when I go outside – covering distance, seeing something unique and inspiring by itself, testing my limits of comfort, etc. The challenge is there and I like to try and rise to it sometimes.
There is something very romantic about the outdoors, we all know it, whether we are frequent visitors or are aspiring outdoors enthusiasts. The novelty of being outside all day, battling the elements, being one with nature, seeing places, finding inner peace and much more, they are all romantic. That I find that this romantic notion inspires me despite the fact that I know it is hollow, and the reality is actually much harder – it is hard and often painful to be outdoors over days, nature often doesn’t want to be at one with you and the wrong timing means that the low cloud will make sure you don’t see anything. Yet somehow, I still like it, and it is still romantic to me.
The last is an external factor: I read a lot about the outdoors – from books, to magazines, from gear reviews to blog posts and seeing what other people is inspiring. It doesn’t have to be some thing huge, but the small things are also great, and some times even more inspiring. Let me mention a handful of external inspiration sources:
– Adventure Travel magazine – this is a bi monthly magazine and I enjoy being subscribed to it. It gives the right mix of activities to really inspire anyone to go out more.
– Outside Online – covers everything that is outside and active. When I want some more sleek inspiration or to look out of my comfort zone.
– Adventure Journal – among the many great articles and regular pieces, they have “essays” – they can be anything from investigative journalism, to critical views to great pieces that do nothing but inspire, really worth the read.
– Seattle Backpackers Magazine – I know this is a random one as I live in London UK, but this community of writers is really great and you can find amazing jams to read. Many of the writers are parents themselves and I’ve learned a good amount of things there.
– Backpacking Light – One of the nerdiest group of outdoors people that love to geek around about gear, weight and backpacking philosophy. The site is a membership site that I think it is worth it, even just to support the great community of light weight seekers.
– Semi-Rad – My favourite outdoors blog out there, really. Brendan is a regular guy that is just not quite professional enough, but likes doing things outdoors, he is also a really good writer (at least in my opinion). When I want both to be inspired and reminded that outdoors people are a good crowd I read one of his posts.
That is my inspiration, my driver to go outdoors more even when the weather is terrible or the idea of sitting on the sofa with a beer sounds really, really good. What inspires you to go outdoors?