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These Are the Happiest Outdoor Users and How You Can Be One (Hetty Key)

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Hetty Key was so curious about how people experience the outdoors and what it does to their lives and attitudes, that she started her own research company to look specifically at women in sport. Her U.K-based firm, Women in Adventure, has now produced three studies on women in the outdoors. In this episode she walks us through her findings about mental health and nature, detailed in her 2019 report on her Mental Wellbeing Survey. We loved hearing her most surprising discoveries, and how we can use her findings to fuel our everyday life outdoors.

Some of the good stuff:

[1:54] Hetty Key’s favorite outdoor space

[2:59] How Hetty became someone who liked to go outside

[5:40] How she found something she likes to do outside

[9:45] All about Hetty’s research

[15:57] What Hetty’s research shows about mental health and adventure

[17:24] What is adventure?

[20:24] This many women thought adventure has a positive impact on wellbeing

[21:40] Breaking down mental wellbeing

[24:52] Why do some activities help mental health more than others?

[26:22] How does going outside impact how women see themselves?

[35:10] Why she didn’t look at “dosage”

[42:42] Hetty’s favorite and most essential outdoor gear

[45:12] Hetty’s favorite outdoor moment

Connect with this episode:

Here’s an edited transcript of our conversation on The Humans Outside Podcast.

Listen to the episode on iTunes, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

Amy Bushatz 0:53

Hetty Key is an endurance athlete and adventurer, and even cooler, the lead researcher at Women in Adventure, a UK-based organization that, among other things, researches the link between mental health and spending time outside. That’s something that really speaks to us here at Humans Outside Podcast where we are exploring for ourselves, that intersection of mental health and a regular outdoor habit. And she’s going to talk to us today about that research and what it means for those of us looking to the outside for that help. Hetty, thank you so much for joining us today on the Humans Outside Podcast.

Hetty Key 1:30

Hi, there. Thank you so much for having me on. It is absolutely lovely to have the opportunity to talk to you.

AB 1:37

So we start our podcasts imagining ourselves in our guest’s favorite outdoor space, like as if you were not in the UK and I was not in Alaska. And we were just hanging out having a chat outside somewhere. So where are we with you today?

HK 1:54

I think probably because the seasons are changing here and it feels like it’s becoming more wintery, I naturally am gravitating towards a snowy memory. That was earlier this year back in January, back when we could travel a little more. And I was lucky enough to be ski touring in Kazakhstan. And that was absolutely incredible. So well I’ve got in my head is this incredible, vast, open, snowy landscape with incredible powder. Lots of trees, below the mountains and big skies.

AB 2:35

Yeah, and I don’t think we’ve ever recorded a podcast in Kazakhstan. So that’s new for us here.

HK 2:43

It was an incredible place to visit.

AB 2:47

So can you start by telling us about your own relationship with the outdoors? And how did you become a person who loves adventure and spending time outside?

HK 2:59

So I grew up in the Peak District in the UK, which is one of our national parks. And so I was lucky enough to have the outdoors, essentially, on my doorstep. I spent a huge amount of time outside as a kid, not necessarily doing anything particularly like active or sporty. I mean, I did enjoy sport, but I wasn’t like I wasn’t kind of in inverted commas – a sporty kid. At school I was, you know, like middle to bottom being picked for teams, tried pretty hard, but maybe didn’t really have a particular like natural flair for sport.

And so I think the outdoors has always been part of my life and the time where it really kind of came alive for me was actually just after university, I found that a lot of my friends in the city – I live in Sheffield – had gone down to London or to various places for jobs. And I was left in a city that I knew incredibly well but suddenly knew no one in and it was very bizarre. And I felt really inspired to get back into the more outdoorsy things I’d enjoyed as a kid, like walking, cycling, a little bit of climbing. And I didn’t really have a clue where to start. So I like turned to Google. This is like many years ago, I turned to google and was kind of like — where do I go? What do I do? And I essentially spent like two years like, like trying to run up hills, falling down on my bike. So just giving everything a go and like not really having a clue what I was doing, but absolutely loving it and kinda like feeling my way through, working out what I like doing and what aspects of the outdoors I enjoy the most.

AB 4:59

I love that because I think a lot of people who maybe aren’t outdoorsy and who are in that place where you were before your friends moved off, think about being outdoorsy as something that’s naturally occurring, not something that you have to like try for. Before we started recording, I was talking to you about how at some point, my husband and I went to the outdoor store and just bought everything for camping, because we didn’t have anything and we never camped before. But that was that moment where we decided that we were going to do that. And when you sat down to Google, you had to decide as an adult, that this is something that you are going to try and go back to or or start.

HK 5:40

I went and borrowed my dad’s mountain bike. I think it was like 20 years old or something. And I had no idea, like really what I was doing or how it worked, or the fact that it was like, really, really out of date into technology. And everyone, like most of the people I met, I met because they commented on how old the bike was and how inappropriate the bike was to what I was doing. And bits of it would fall off coming down the brake foot. But I was having a great time. And I think something that really helped me was knowing that you can try lots of different things like, I’m definitely like a jack of all trades, and Master of None. Although someone once said master of fun, which I thought was clever. And I like doing lots of different things. I’m not particularly an expert at any of them, but it’s okay to like, try, you know, you might try watersports, and be like — that’s not for me. And then maybe climbing or hiking really like takes your fancy. So I think there’s a huge amount to being outdoors and adventurous. And we don’t have to love every aspect because we love the outdoors.

AB 6:59

That’s such a good point. People are like — well I don’t like being cold. I don’t like being hot. Well, you don’t have to like those things. You can find something else to do that does not involve that, although if you live somewhere hot or cold that might be difficult.

But you know, if you don’t like being cold Well, you know, wear more clothes I don’t know you know, there are ways to over to overcome these things and or you find that you don’t dislike the thing about it that you just liked at one point quite as much as you maybe did at you know when you started like you get used to it. I don’t know.

HK 7:40

Yeah, definitely. There’s always that I think running is one of the worst for that. Like when you first start it’s so bad. I’m not entirely sure it gets easier as though you just get like fitter and so you can do a bit more. But that first stage I think is definitely about like perseverance.

AB 8:01

Yeah, and and I hear people say that they tried running and that they still hate it and that’s okay too. You know?

HK 8:07

Yeah, absolutely. But we all like different things.

AB 8:12

So if you hate running, try cycling. I personally really like to run but really hate to cycle.

HK 8:19

I do love the bike. I find something very meditative about cycling. I think the other thing is, especially if you’re sporty and then kind of you do a lot of like urban sports or gym, sometimes coming to the outdoors is different because it doesn’t have to be competitive. Like it can be, but I mean I have no idea how fast I cycle and I have no idea how fast I run – probably not very fast because I like going a long way very slowly. But I think it’s an interesting concept that away from you know, somewhere like the gym that we can do something just for enjoyment and but that is a change of mindset from maybe more urban sports.

AB 9:20

That’s such a good point too and on the getting easier thing, I find that the things that annoyed me when I first started running don’t annoy me now – and I can only credit that to it being easier, that everything is not terribly irritating.

So we have you on today to talk about your research. So tell me about your career in research and Women in adventure and how you got started into that and about your company that you run.

HK 10:03

I have quite a connected kind of career pathway, I originally worked in digital health. And that’s kind of where my interest in women and adventure started. Because I was going outside and I could, I was really interested. You know, as I mentioned before, I tend to Google when I was getting into the outdoors. And I was really interested, the more I was doing, to read all these different opinions online. And, and that triggered a really strong interest, being a scientist at heart to try and understand, like, whether there was some way that gathered these opinions as like a collective voice, and offered a platform for everyone to share their thoughts, as opposed to just those with like, you know, maybe like a large social media following or a blog. And so Women in Adventure came about to try and create the opportunity for collective voice. Because I felt that if brands and organizations were going to make change to help more women access the outdoors, change should be based on the opinion of as many women as possible, as opposed to just maybe the particular exposure of that organization or brand. So that’s how Women in Adventure was born. And it originally started as an unusual hobby. And, and kind of over the years, like I moved into the outdoor industry. I was working there and Women in Adventure alongside this was growing from strength to strength. And then two years ago, I actually took the decision to make Women in Adventure my full time job. And that mainly came about, which I’m sure most people who do research and who kind of go on these hunts to try and find more information and data find. You do find the answers you’re looking for. But you always come away with more questions. And I felt so passionate that I wanted to try and increase participation in the outdoors, improve diversity and improve accessibility, that I wanted to make this my full time focus. So that’s how Women in Adventure came about.

I think as well, like there comes a point where you’re trying to balance so many different things, sort of, you know, this was basically a full time job. My other job was a full time job. I also organize a climbing festival. So I think it was also a tiny bit of taking my own advice of getting outside the point where you’re hanging up your climbing shoes for spreadsheets on a repeated basis, I think you need to like look at your work life balance.

AB 12:49

As somebody who has many full time jobs, I sympathize. I hear that. So why women specifically? Why not, you know Humans in Adventure, why dial in on just women?

HK 13:07

I think initially, it was a starting point. I was intrigued to find out or to hear – it was said a number of times that the female perspective on adventure was or females experience adventures, potentially different than men. And to be kind of, to rewind back to the beginning, I am a woman who does adventure. It felt like a really good starting point. Like that was the initial interest and the conversation or the kind of debate in my head that got me going on this research. And I think it’s important to point out like, when I say women in adventure, and all my research like this is this is talking about anyone can choose to engage and connect with. This isn’t isn’t kind of specifically meant to be excluding anyone’s opinion, or opinion that just creating that space to look at women in the outdoors, I felt was important at the time.

AB 14:18

Yeah, and I hear that because I mean, I’m over here doing a challenge, asking other people to jump in and spend 20 minutes outside a day, but it’s purely selfish. I started it for me. And we’re here talking about it, because I think it’s interesting. So you know, and I think other people think it’s interesting too, but you have to start somewhere. Right? You know, if it’s interesting to you, it might be interesting to someone else. So why not?

HK 14:49

I fully agree.

AB 14:55

So I’m really excited to talk about your research into mental health and adventure. So let’s do some quick level setting and define adventure. For the purposes of your research, what is adventure?

HK 15:57

So my research looks at adventure sports. So what that meant in the context of this is that you are moving in an outdoor environment, you’re doing something adventurous. The breadth of the different, you know, sports types of adventure that people took part in was so broad, that it’s probably easier to give examples of maybe what’s not included. So for example, indoor climbing, although that’s kind of adventurous, that’s indoors. So that was not counted in the results and survey. Outdoor climbing and bouldering, walking, all of that was included, but not indoor, because this is about being in that outdoor setting. And likewise, photography, although outdoors was not counted as an adventure sport. So it was that combination of being in the elements being outdoors and moving your body.

AB 16:56

But you can certainly be doing photography while running or whatever.

HK 17:02

If you put your kind of activity as hiking, and even sort of hiking and photography, or you just had to have the active element in the kind of definition I had.

AB 17:16

I asked this because I think a lot of people don’t think about themselves as being an adventure sport, when they actually are.

HK 17:24

It’s a really tricky term. I could have done research on what to call it. But the way I tried to approach it was, again, as I said, anyone who identified as engaging with the outdoors was more than welcome to put their opinion and share their opinion. And when we’re talking about women, this is anyone who identifies as a woman, including those outside of the gender binary. So that was something that was very important to me that this was very welcoming, the way it was positioned, and hopefully put to people was very welcoming and inclusive of all different opinions.

AB 18:09

Have you heard any feedback from the people who have been involved with this, that they started thinking about themselves differently as a result of just participating that like, choosing to see yourself as participating in adventure, when before this moment, you just thought about yourself as going for a walk? Which a lot of people probably don’t think of as adventure, like I just go on a walk every day. Have you heard any feedback?

HK 18:40

I certainly had a few comments. So people say — well, I don’t know if I am a woman. And it certainly sparked a few discussions. And I think that that was really interesting, because I think I probably have a very broad view of what adventure is, but I know that for some people, and maybe the perception is kind of exclusively maybe someone who climbs massive mountains and does things that are very hardcore. And I think that actually over the past few years we’ve, as a society and as an outdoor community, have really been expanding on that and I feel that the space we’re in now adventure is thought of as a broader concept, and feel like it can be found in every aspect of life.

AB 19:33

It’s this idea that whatever it is we’re talking about is for someone else, you know that adventure is for someone else. Adventure isn’t for me because I just go you know, on a walk in the woods every day or adventure is for you know, somebody who’s kayaking you know, amazing rivers and I don’t kayak amazing rivers. I just take my kayak down this little creek near my house. And, you know, when we expand our definition of how we see ourselves, we expand our opportunities, I guess. So give us a broad overview of what you found in your research. What is the correlation of adventure, sport and mental well being?

HK 20:24

So the responses to the survey were absolutely fantastic. And I was blown away with how many people participated and also the depth in which they wrote and, and then kind of the headline statistic was that 99.6% of women agreed that the outdoors had a positive impact on their mental well being. Now when I was writing up the kind of the main report, which is available on on my website, I was going to run the numbers up to the nearest whole number, just because for the, you know, the main infographic, that’s like, that’s basically 100% everyone’s gonna think I’ve rigged it, but it really was that high. And, and then other areas that also benefited were self esteem, resilience, physical well being, and also like the future outlook. So how you perceive your kind of future life prospects. So it was really brilliant to see that the outdoors had helped, and had an impact on women in a really positive way.

AB 21:30

Talk to us specifically about the findings around happiness, which is a factor of mental well being, right?

HK 21:40

Yeah, so. So basically, I used what the Office for National Statistics in the UK used to measure mental wellbeing, okay. And that’s broken down into life satisfaction, and how satisfied you are with your life, how worthwhile you perceive what you’re doing to be your happiness on a day to day basis, and also your anxiety. And what I did is I looked at all these different measures, and in relation to different sports. So, so many different sports took part in this in terms of the main ones like hiking, cycling, running, swimming, climbing. We had some really, really nice, but very passionate individuals who, for everything from like Dragon Boat paddling and I think we even had like orchid hunting. It was amazing, I absolutely loved looking into all these different sports. But going back to the results, what I did was try and have a look at the different sports and put them in a kind of scale of which sports benefited the individual’s mental well being the most. And that was where some really fascinating trends started to come out. So for example, kayakers and skiers had the kind of the strongest mental well being, whereas actually climbers, for example, were lower on the scale. Now this is kind of relative, we have to remember that this isn’t a scale. And this isn’t like climbers have bad mental well being okay. This is like a relative scale: the outdoors helps individuals mental well being. And this is just taking that a step further, right. And what gets really interesting, and tell me if I’m like going on, is when we looked at these four measures, so life satisfaction, worthwhile, happiness and anxiety, we can also look at that for the different sports. And that to me was the most fascinating trend that started to come out. So for example, surfers had really high happiness and low anxiety, compared to the survey average. However, their life satisfaction, and their worthwhile were much lower. So it’s really interesting to see how these trends kind of shifted for the individual sports. Generally as participation increased, so you know, you’re getting out more often, happiness increased and equally as as increased, happiness increased and overall, so therefore those getting out more we’re finding they were happier.

AB 24:29

I’m tempted to ask you, why are surfers you know, but at the same time, I know that you already said that you finished research and then you have more questions and I suspect that the research that to you know to this point does not show why surfers experience experienced that, although I could guess like you you know you’re not catching a wave like that’s not very satisfying.

HK 24:52

I think this is a really interesting aspect of this and when I’m you know, when I’m kind of musing on potential Why’s, these are these are personal thoughts. I’ve not researched as yet, this is what I want to look at, you know, I want to look at whether surfing, although you’re part of a really strong community, when you are in the water, you are often by yourself, you know, as maybe compared to other sports, which tend to be done as, as a group. And I also wonder about access, like how easy it is to always access something like surf or conditions or, you know, something like cost to be able to take part, I think there’s so many different factors. And I’m really interested to see in, in future research how that all pans out and really explore these different mindsets and benefits. Because I think it could be really useful for, you know, activity providers and organizations.

AB 25:57

What, why does going outside make us happier, which is what your research has shown? And specifically, like, what did your research uncover on that, if anything, you know, on the why?

HK 26:22

So I think something that was really interesting was looking at the kind of like, I use the word like internal impact of outdoor adventure. And that being kind of the change in opinion of the potential change it causes to you and how you view yourself. And women in the survey reported that they felt more confident; there was this ability to like, live in the present and believe in themselves, there was also a change in how women saw their bodies, you know, there was an amazing quote, one of the women from the survey said, “I used to see my body as fat and useless. And now I see myself as adventurous, brave and strong.” And that transition from the, you know, seeing yourself as strong seeing, you know, your legs or something that were able to get you to do something is amazing. And then alongside that, there was a lot of talk about how it changed women’s perspective on how not only they looked at problems, it was easier to overcome because of that outdoor experience. It’s also like the bigger picture and putting things in perspective, I think, often that was used alongside like the sheer scale and size of nature. And a real sense of appreciation for the landscape.

AB 27:44

Yeah, it’s going back to what we were saying earlier about seeing yourself as adventurous as participating in adventure, and how that matters.

HK 27:55

Yeah, and having a sense of like, self reliance and self respect, and knowing that you are able, in many different ways, I think, if I had to draw one thing out of how it changed, or how women felt it had altered their kind of lives and perception was it gave a sense of belonging, and a sense of self esteem, self worth and confidence and that like connected connectivity to both yourself and the world around you. I think that was something that came through incredibly strongly through the kind of long written answers.

AB 28:37

You can experience a sense of belonging in a lot of places, right, you can experience inside and outside in any kind of group. But that connectedness to the world around you is unique to tasks experiencing the world around you. But I do wonder if you can experience that through creating art, or, you know, through music or things like that.

HK 29:04

I encourage anyone to go and do research because I’m a data nerd. But I highly suspect that something like you know, creating music, creating art. You know, if you’re passionate about something, and it is an outlet for expressing yourself, I definitely think that’s going to be beneficial for mental well being. And, you know, I think the outdoors is one of many ways we can help our minds and bodies.

AB 29:38

I have these two memories that came to mind while you were talking. The one is a mountain run I did with some friends a lot this summer, but in 2018 I guess where we summited these seven peaks in a day and it was you know, in the Anchorage area there are mountains all around so it’s not as out of reach as it sounds. But you get up there and you do have that moment where you’re connected with the world around you that you worked hard to get here, you’re standing on top of this of literally a mountain and you’re looking around, there’s no one else around just viewing the people you came with. And you’re, you feel this moment of being both the biggest and smallest thing in the whole world. And it’s this just incredibly humbling and empowering feeling of that I just, I don’t know that I could replicate anywhere, honestly.

HK 30:34

I think it is, it’s so unique. And that ability to think, or at least for me, personally, like quiet and that internal voice, whether that’s, you know, it’s different for everyone, whether it’s kind of self doubt, or, you know, for for some like sadness and grief or, or even, like, there are so many. The outdoors is so pure that when you’re like, I think when you’re doing something and you’re in that moment, it is all absorbing, and it really kind of takes your whole mind to what you’re doing. And I think that’s, that’s really incredible. I find it particularly with climbing, you know, you get moments where you’re like — Oh, my God, I don’t I just don’t think – Oh, this is so scary. This is so and every bit every, every bit of us goes — Nope, nope, nope. And you kind of just, you have to, like reassure yourself, like rationalize. And you can have the power to kind of, I don’t know, couldn’t not control in a bad way. But like, support yourself through that. Right? I think you can get through that, then there’s many things you can, you can, like, apply that to, and then help in real life outside of the outdoors.

AB 31:50

The second thing that comes to mind is the first time I took my kids camping by myself without my spouse. And I very specifically remember being like one, I just set up this huge, like, we went to the outdoor store, by the way and bought all the things like we bought the biggest tent our eyes could behold, okay. We call it the Taj Mahal. All right, it’s humongous. The Taj, and we bought it, you know, in our defense, because we wanted to be able to camp with my then one year old in a portable crib, called a pack and play. So we wanted something that had room in it, because more than anything else, I wanted to go to sleep at night. And I knew if my kid was in his own bed, that would be possible anyway. So we go camping for the first time, just my sons and I, and I set the tent up all by myself. And this was a very big deal for me, because I’d never done anything like that before. And then we spent the night there, and no one murdered us with an axe. The next miracle was we had a good time. You know, I’m here with a two year old and a five year old and we’re having a fantastic time together and nobody has drowned and nobody’s died. And you know, everybody is dirty and happy and fed. And just I remember sitting there and looking at these little boys playing and thinking about how I, you know, survived the night and this tent that I set up by myself — if I can do this, darn it, I can pretty much do anything.

HK 33:29

Yeah, it’s a real sense of achievement. So one of the things I do alongside the research, I love putting research into action, and they organize a climbing festival called Women’s Trad Festival. And we support everyone right through from total beginners that maybe have like, never put on climbing shoes before, through to kind of outdoor professionals. And one thing that’s incredible there is that it doesn’t matter whether you come to the festival, and what, what you’ve overcome your fear of heights that day, or you’ve, you know, overcome like, I don’t know, you’ve led the hardest route you’ve you’ve done today, or even that you’ve been able to come to a festival by yourself. And you’ve overcome the social anxiety or the fear around doing that. That kind of feeling of taking one step closer to having accomplished something yourself or beating that goal or, you know, overcome that fear. Like the joys the same, whatever level you’re at, and I think it really brings people together and unites them in like a really lovely way. Because it doesn’t matter like what area you’re trying to push yourself in. It’s the same or similar experience.

AB 34:50

I love that. I wanted to ask you about your focus on instances and the research. Just describe that for folks, because obviously I’ve read that study, but they haven’t. What do you mean by instances? And then talk to us about why you talked about that versus like, timing out time.

HK 35:10

I wasn’t asking people, how long did you spend outdoors? I spent 60 minutes, or I spent two hours 45. I didn’t mind whether on that day you got out for three hours, or you got out for like 15 minutes. And that felt important to me, because of the breadth and variety of sports, and also the forms adventure can take. So if I look at that in like a personal context, I look at something like I love cold water swimming. It’s a nice hobby, but I really enjoy it. And I love getting in very, very, very cold water throughout the year. And when I do that, I’m actually in the water for maybe, like, in the coldest time as little as like two minutes. Yeah. And, and I would say that the benefit mentally from that is equal to the same as doing like a three hour run. So it didn’t feel from, you know, the difference between the sports, it didn’t feel fair to say that it was a time threshold, as opposed to being able to get out.

AB 36:34

There’s a lot of curiosity and talk around this idea of dosage, that, you know, time, how much time is a dose? How much time is worth it? You know, where does the benefit start? And where does it end? So for my challenge, I set my dosage, quote unquote, at 20 minutes a day, in part because I needed something to aim for. Because I knew that if I didn’t have an expectation for myself around that, in the winter time in Alaska, I would go outside for two minutes. I’d go outside and – I can just see me doing this – you know, I’d stand in my driveway. And I’d look around be like, it’s cold, goodbye. And I’d go back inside. So by saying I require myself to do 20 minutes a day, that would have been me standing in the wind in my driveway, being sorry that I was there, turned into a little bit more preparation, you know, I get a bigger jacket on and go walk in the woods, where I’m actually glad that I did it.

But when we talk about dosage, are we focusing on the wrong thing?

HK 37:49

In terms of like, advice for people getting out and wanting to try and get more into the outdoors, I think it is really good to have kind of a not a hard and fast goal. But like, a certain amount, you know, you can work with, like, it’s a little bit of a challenge, but it also just fit with your life. And, you know, it’s all great and wonderful that we would all love to be outdoors, or at least I would love to be outside all the time all day, like for everything that’s not realistic around like work life commitments. So actually, maybe having that commitment of a dosage time that works for you, is really good. And I think in terms of what I was looking at, within the research was not to not to exclude anyone that does, you know, does get a benefit from longer or shorter kind of those times, and keeping it about trusting the individual to decide themselves, what counts as getting out. Because they at that point feel it must feel they have experienced the mental benefit. You know, if you’ve been out for 20 minutes and you know, it helps you then that counts. But I think you know, there’s so much to look at, and there’s so many different studies and so many different areas in this that I just like, even though I can just think of so many interesting questions to explore that surround even looking at kind of time versus frequency.

AB 40:09

What surprised you out of your research?

HK 40:12

And I think aside from like the depth in which people wrote was probably that as a survey average when I looked at the different measures, so life satisfaction worthwhile anxiety and happiness compared to the UK female average. And actually my survey average was lower than the UK female average, which really surprised me initially. So I think what the outdoors, it’s so good for our mental well being like, why is this occurring? But actually, when you then break that down and looked at like, you know, maybe those that were able to get out regularly, or were kind of sweating more often. That was about the survey average. But for those that were not, that loved the outdoors, but were not able to access it, they were kind of suffering because they couldn’t get out and they couldn’t access it. But I think what it comes back to as well, though, is that, irrespective of whether your happiness is like a 10 out of 10, happy or a one out of 10 happy, the one thing that 99.6% of women agreed on was that the outdoors helped. So actually, whatever level you’re coming from, whether you’re coming from the top of the scale or the bottom, the outdoors was beneficial and provided that support and improvement. So potentially imagine what those numbers might have been without the outdoors. But yeah, that was quite surprising initially.

AB 41:44

I love that you were able to dial down in there and sort of figure out what’s going on there. And yeah, I’ve heard that too, from people that the only problem with developing an outdoor habit is not that they wish they were outside all the time.

HK 42:04

I think it’s quite common.

AB 42:06

So we’ve come to our leftover round, where I like to know a couple of things from the people we have on the podcast that you know, just like some leftover stuff, I guess. I love to know what people’s most essential and then favorite outdoor gear is because then I go shopping. So tell me, what is your favorite outdoor gear? What’s an item that you just love? Yeah, maybe you can live without it, but you just love it.

HK 42:42

Am I allowed to include my bike? I didn’t know if that was like too big a thing. I got a gravel bike. And I love riding it everywhere. I like the fact it can just do a bit of everything. It’s really fun to explore, even in winter when it’s super muddy.

AB 43:08

We’ve had people say that their favorite thing is snacks.

HK 43:13

The essentials, though, are probably slightly different. Like my favorite thing is my bike. Essentials, like in terms of something I carry with me irrespective of what I’m doing, is normally I didn’t have this is like just a British term, but like duct tape, you know, like gaffer tape. Super strong tape. Then anything, whether it should attend your bike, your rucksack, that’s just like a go to. And then maybe aside from that, it’s like, keys.

AB 43:46

You will be relieved to hear that duct tape and keys are both universal.

HK 43:51

So amazing. Yeah, thank you. I had an unusual item, it would be my Kindle. And it doesn’t matter how level I pack or how long the trip, the Kindle always ends up coming. Oh no, I am reading books.

AB 44:04

In fact, a backpacking trip is a way for me to go somewhere where I can read without being distracted.

HK 44:15

You’re cutting weight left, right and center. You know, you’re getting rid of your extra pair of socks. Yeah, bags are really heavy. You know, you’ve got a limited amount of like space on the bike, you can store stuff, and then you’re like, the Kindle has to come too.

AB 44:29

It’s so much lighter weight than a huge book.

HK 44:31

I’ve used the argument many times before what I’ve been told — you can’t take this up this mountain. Like — I can and I will.

AB 44:41

And it has like 17,000 options.

HK 44:48

So many books on this.

AB 44:50

Love it. Okay, so we’d like to end just sort of walking back with our guests and, and hearing about a favorite outdoor moment. So if you thought of your favorite outdoor moment and just close your eyes and envisioned it, where are you? What are you doing? Take us there.

HK 45:12

So it’s really vivid in my mind. I was climbing in the Alps and we were halfway up this big, like, kind of it’s sort of around 4000 meters, multi pitch climb. And there’s this huge granite slab. And it was just the sun had just come up because he kind of he got up super early for an Alpine start. And then, as I came across this slab, and it was, it was like, if the rock was so beautiful, and the sun was just coming up. So it was like, kind of slightly sparkling, because the light was catching some of the granite and I remember looking across it and thinking, I have no idea how you’re gonna climb that. But it is the most beautiful thing I’ve seen.

I did make it across. And actually it was one of those incredible climbs where actually the moment you start and you’re looking for the next sort of handhold and foothold, they just, they did appear. And that was it just made the experience so magical, like just the sunrise, the color of the rock, the color of the sky, and to be so high above everything was very breathtaking.

AB 46:27

Beautiful. Thank you so much for being on the Humans Outside Podcast today.

HK 46:31

Thank you very much for having me. It’s been so nice to chat.

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