The slippery slope to becoming “those kind of people”

Frosty Selfie

We’re those kind of people now aren’t we?

Spring said this as we sat down to watch a nature documentary and drink a liter of some kale, ginger, beet and other various fruits and vegetables concoction she had made with our extremely expensive masticating juicer. We’d just spent the weekend Skiing, Rock Climbing, Mountain Biking, Trail Running and felt a little anxious that we hadn’t crammed in more to do.

Our spare bedroom has never seen a bed since we moved in, we have racks of our gear strewn about the place in various states of being dried out, aired out, packed or unpacked. We haven’t bought a piece of non-technical clothing in years. It doesn’t matter what garish color it comes in, if it wicks sweat and is quick drying, or has a high heat retention to weight ratio I’m sold. In fact, the more obnoxiously colored the better. I buy my clothes now based primarily on the assumption that I want a search and rescue helicopter to be able to see me better if I have an accident deep in the wilderness.

Yup, we’ve become “Outdoorsy!”

I used to hate people like me. They made me feel lazy. I’d go play soccer on a Sunday and as I was making my way home from my one bout of aerobic exercise for the week I’d see that guy. That guy who I’d see biking on a Tuesday, running on a Wednesday, carrying a tennis racket on a Thursday. I hated him. How did he have that kind of energy?

Like everything, our progression has been a slow process. I’ve heard others say to us: “Wow! You guys are progressing quickly” but to us it feels like we are moving at a snails pace. I guess because we can see each link in the chain it feels slower, like the adage “a watched pot never boils”. We just try to learn something new each time we do something we love outdoors. Our “comfort zone” is something we actively try to find ways to get outside of.

Without even noticing it, through doing this, we’ve completely overwritten our past way of life.

When I used to see “Outdoorsy” folk and overhear them talking about chia seeds or a new Hot Yoga class they were attending and how strenuous their coming weekend was and how excited for it they were I always thought: “How do people become such a cliché? I mean don’t they see it happening?”

Well, as a recent convert I can enthusiastically say, “no, we did not, until now”.

It’s only in retrospect that I can see the process. Like dominoes toppling against each other in succession.

It all started with a simple curiosity. Around the time of the 2008 recession I became curious about how indigenous people around the world, completely untethered from monetary bonds, eked out an existence. A life that did not rely on the stability of world markets was appealing.

I consumed as much media on the subject as possible, like survival skills documentaries by Ray Mears and Les Stroud. Nothing came of it for a few years but in 2010, myself and my wife moved from Ireland to BC, Canada.

British Columbia, for those that have never been here, is wild. I was no longer surrounded by the urban sprawl and farmland of my home country. I could see the wilderness from my doorstep.

So began our adventures away from civilization. I never got into practicing survival skills much as I quickly became aware of the “leave no trace” ethic to being in the wild and liked it. Nevertheless, we still wanted to explore. We started with simple trails, then hikes to lakes, then hikes to lakes close to the Alpine and eventually the summits of Mountains.

We kept wanting to go higher and further. Eventually we realized that we needed our bodies to be faster and stronger to accomplish this. It was that realization that slowly started to change our diets. Foods that would slow us down got phased out for natural foods that helped our muscles heal faster and our energy levels increase. We now eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, a little meat, grains and dairy and try to avoid all processed foods. We see our bodies as vehicles that have the capacity to take us anywhere we wish on this Earth and give us memories that will last our lifetimes so we look after it by giving it the best fuels known to man and caring for it with restorative pursuits.

We both started Yoga for its benefits towards flexibility, stability and strength.

At the same time, the routes up mountains we had our eyes on started to increase in difficulty so we needed to work on our technical skills to ascend safely. We’re currently working on learning how to Rock and Ice Climb. We’ve also taken up Skiing as it will aid us in getting further into the wild in the Winter and will make descending a lot more enjoyable.

We’ve taken up Mountain Biking for diversity, and I can see us learning how to Kayak or Kite Surf in the future.

For media consumption we try to watch documentaries and shows related to our interest in the outdoors.

In the future I would not be surprised if we stop watching TV altogether as we’ll be going to bed earlier at night to get up earlier and do something outdoors in the morning.

So, there you have it. That’s how becoming Outdoorsy can happen. Do I wish it upon others? No, I wish excitement and happiness upon others. I won’t say our way of life is “better”, it works for us. We wake up and we’re excited about the day, what we can learn and what activities we can get better at. If you wake up each morning excited, then you are living your life right in my opinion.

Author: Leigh McClurg

I grew up in County Dublin, Ireland and moved to British Columbia, Canada with my wife in 2010. I fell in love with being in the Backcountry and Mountains that are all around me here and try to spend all of my free time exploring those wild places. My main goals are to chase happiness, see as much of this planet and its cultures as possible and grow every day through knowledge and experiences.

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  1. Have you seen “Out of the Wild: The Alaska Experiment”? There is also a Venezuela series. Totally. Awesome. 🙂

    I’m with you. I hiked a bit when I was little in Girl Guides, then in University a friend hauled me up to Deeks Lake. Then suddenly in my 20s a friend suggested a weekend trip up to Black Tusk. Holy smokes I’ve never turned back.

    Now trying to figure out how to do it with a 3 year old and an infant… it’s a bit tricky but I’m managing!

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  2. Does that mean I’ll have to pack extra peperoni and chips for you guys on our next escapade?

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  3. You’re our kind of people Leigh and Spring — and we love seeing the amazing photos from all your new adventures! Great post.

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  4. Thanks Arc’Greg. It’s great that you stopped by.

    CWB, the breaks come off in the Mountains. We tend to eat whatever will replace our calorie deficit the quickest which is pretty much everything you’re not supposed to be eating at Sea Level.

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  5. Having been in BC for almost 20 years, I’ve never seen “outdoorsy” people as a bad or negative thing but, in fact, someone to look up to. I have always envied those who were able to organize their lives such that they could spend more time out in the planet to which we were born. I only recently found a way to do that…. and that involved quitting my deskjob for starters ;). Also, it is much challenging with very young children… but that’s just a small moment in time.

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  6. I think I was more intrigued as to how someone can become the full gamut of a cliché, such as engaging in a lot of outdoor activities, talking about bohemian diets, practicing yoga and restorative activities, taking an interest in ecology and living a low impact lifestyle. As an observer, I could understood how someone could make one of those areas their lifestyle but why become all of them.

    It’s only from glissading down that slippery slope ourselves that I can now look back in hindsight and see how the dominoes fall against each other and how it is all related.

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  7. Oh my gosh, Leigh, David and I are totally “those kind of people” too now! We also have a spare bedroom that we call our “Travel Room,” which basically means it holds all of our hiking and camping gear. We have a desk and a chair, but other than that, it’s just our gear in that room. 🙂

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  8. A great post. My wife and I fall into the “outdoorsy” category and sometimes it’s almost weirdly awkward around friends who are not into this sort of thing and really have no idea how enjoyable it can be. On the other hand, I know it has inspired others around us to pick it up and see what it’s all about.
    Love the comment about the spare room. We are fortunate to have a house with a garage and I long ago realized I was not going to ever be able to use it for parking due to the amount of gear packed in there. Particularly after we started storing a canoe in the garage!
    Keep up the great work.

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  9. Thought i would share this with you guys:

    Speedriding is a deadly mix of freestyle skiing and paragliding, the exhilarating, but extreme, sport is hit with daredevil athletes all over the world for many reasons, but mostly because you can ride down a mountain slope in about two minutes.

    No terrain is too advanced for Valentin Delluc and Martin Schricke, the super skilled riders who literally fly through mountain crevices and scale small ski towns, while resembling a badass James Bond scene.

    Every part of the footage is outstanding from the unbelievable panoramic angles to the stunning views, the video will make your heart pound and mouth open in awe:

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