Why I Go Outdoors

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Going outdoors is suffering. Let me just get that out of the way.

At least the way I go about it. I car camp, I backpack, I hike extended distances, sometimes just to make sure I’m dead tired at the end. At times, I wonder if I’m even enjoying myself. (The answer as I’m driving home, dirty and sore, is always yes). I’ll post sometime soon about a good hike for stamina.

This is not, however, a post about how people should spend time outdoors, or about the redeeming quality of nature. I will say this instead: being outdoors is the thing that saved me. Every now and again you may find that you have to save yourself. I don’t believe in white knights and swooning maidens, someone riding in and taking my chaos away. I believe in self salvation.

There may come time when you come unmoored, a time when everything that you built your life on comes undone and takes you right along with it. At that time you have to find the thing that pulls you back down and grounds you.

A second scenario: you change. Time moves forward, and you become another person, and the things you enjoy become things you enjoyed, past tense. You have to find yourself anew.

Going outdoors in the middle of nowhere used to scare me, but walking into my fear and hiking across it’s surface, is now a source of great joy.

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