When I was a young, I was a perceptive little girl and figured out that being outside amongst nature made me happy. I used to spend summer days and after school evenings outside. When I look back and think about my childhood, I remember this:
- Walks with my folks around the block or local parks
- Riding my bike all over the neighborhood
- Playing backyard ball with the neighbor kids
- Making up games in the dirt
- Catching fireflies
- Lazy afternoons dreaming on the house sized rock in the backyard
- Climbing trees
- Jumping on the trampoline
- Explore the local woods
When I moved away from Ohio and ventured west, I had no idea how the great outdoors would become a greater part of my life. That summer in Big Sky, I explored endless amounts of trails with and without friends. The mountains and wildflowers sold me, but the community held me.
I learned to bring the outside within. Lessons from Mother Nature, meaning that if you go out unprepared, you could get your butt handed to you. Just like in life. If you go along unprepared, life will smack you down. No questions asked. Bringing the outside within is a concept that when you spend time outside in nature you bring back its calming qualities. Mother Nature is stoic and delicate, just like you. If you learn to use it for support you will find the healing benefits towards your mental health.
Have you ever returned from a walk outdoors in nature unrefreshed or more stressed? Nine times out of ten, I bet you came back with a clear head and possibly with renewed clarity or creativity. I know spending time outdoors does have that for me.
Thankfully I discovered this at a young age, and when I moved to the mountains, it was definitely a natural fit. Another opportunity came and I moved from Montana to Alaska and the outdoor adventures continued and expanded. I lived three summers in the bush at a fly in/out lodge exploring places only a handful of people have ever gone probably and I did solo, learned how to mush sled dogs, climbed a ridiculous amount of mountains, and found myself on the arctic slope. I’ve slept near grizzly bears, moose and wolves, kayaked glacial waters, and fished for trout. I had a couple near death experiences in the outdoors (or what seemed like it at the time).
All these experiences have made me who I am today and how I appreciate what life has to offer. Being an avid outdoors person makes you take charge of your life, appreciate it or, like I mentioned; gives you a smack down to put things back into perspective. I personally love the challenges that the outdoors brings to my life. Happily, I will hike or bike five to ten miles into wilderness with or without friends and not think a thing about it. When I was younger, I found myself alone a lot, typically because I got tired of waiting around for someone to decide whether they wanted to come on my adventure or not. If I wanted to do something, I just went and did it. Never thought too much about the consequences.
What I discovered was that I didn’t let fear stop me. I figured out ways to get into the backcountry, or to different countries or wherever by myself. The feeling of empowerment that I gained by just going for it was overwhelming. I would often think “Did I really just freaking bike 10 miles into the middle of nowhere by myself? Oh, wait, now I have to go back!” Mind you, I always left a note where I went in case something went wrong but it never did. When it did go wrong though, I had a plan and thankfully had someone with me and/or rescue options.
My experiences don’t honestly rival those of true mountaineers spending time in high elevations waiting out snowstorms or surviving avalanches. Believe me some of the situations were crazy and a couple times dire but I managed to get out of them with strength and persistence to live. They were meaningful to me and I learned resiliency from all those experiences and want to share the joy of bringing the outside within.
If you want to bring the outside within, contact me, or join one of our programs.
Let’s adventure together!
Diana is an Adventurer, Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist (CTRS), worked as professional outdoor recreation educator for people with and without disabilities for the last 20 years, traveled to over 20 countries and is also certified in Wilderness First Aid. She climbed many mountain peaks, biked numerous trails and paddled all around the world. Join her on the next adventure here.
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