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.