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The following is an edited transcript of this episode of Humans Outside.
It was one of those beautiful moments where you get out of your own way and realize the possibilities.
Social media informed me that a glacial lake about two hours away from me had frozen over, was free of snow — at least temporarily — and home to some gorgeous, epic wild ice skating. My calendar informed me that late in the week I needed to spend the afternoon and evening in the city, about halfway between me and the lake.
Enter my brain, queen of getting in the way and too much logic. Helloooo Amy, it said. Remember all the dramatic and amazing things you are going to accomplish? All the important and urgent work you must do? The life-changing, world altering tasks at hand only you are equipment to tackle? The EXTREMELY IMPORTANT RESPONSIBILITIES that you definitely cannot put off for several hours lest the fate of all mankind hang in the balance?
Ah, brain. Why you gotta be like that?
Luckily, I have been working on my brain to teach it that the world is unlikely to end and my fate does not really hanging in the balance if I take a few hours to have a good and memorable outdoor adventure. In fact, one of the things I’ve learned through my daily outdoor habit is that I am more productive, more likely to do cool and life-changing stuff and happier in a way that is useful if I do just take the time for the change of pace outdoor activity.
And I know that while my brain is trying to do me a solid by helping me stay on track with my life goals, she can be a tiny bit dramatic.
So what did I do? I took a beat, thought about what, exactly, it would take to make this work day adventure a good one, and made a plan to make it happen. The result was an epic ice skating trip with a friend to a truly wild place, great memories and a reminder that doing out of the way things isn’t just not that hard, it’s also a really good idea.
I do have time for epic outdoor stuff in the middle regular, normal life — and so do you.
Here are few truths I’ve learned over time that might help find time to make time, too.
First, it’s OK to not have all day — you still have time. Yes, some epic things do require the entire day or several days, it’s true. But not everything does. If you think about an adventure somewhere in a few hour’s radius of you in terms of the sum total time it takes, including driving, you may realize that whatever you want to do is actually a half-day thing.
For this glacier trip, I ducked away from my responsibilities for just over half the workday. In fact, I actually was gone longer than I needed to be. If we had only gone out and back and right back to our lives, I could’ve been back and rocking sooner, but because I had already sent aside the time, we lingered a little bit on the return to real life. To make this trip happen I dropped my son at school and then hit the road. Total time for adventure was two hours of driving out of the way , from where I was going anyway, two hours of fun and about 30 minutes of putting on somewhere around 25 layers head to toe between the two of us … not kidding. It was a lot of layers.
And consider this other schedule hack. For me, I sandwiched this trip into a commute needed to make that day anyway. But if you can work remotely, why not take half a day, pack your work stuff in the car and stop somewhere to work your hours before making your return trip? That won’t work for everyone, but it’s an idea.
Next, think out of the box when it comes to what you want to or could do. Yes, glacier skating is a clear, definitely should do it adventure objective. But what else is out there that you’ve been wanting to do and would make a fun change of pace trip?
For me, there are some cross country ski trails that jump to my mind, and I never seem to make it there. But they aren’t that far away, and I could take a half day to explore them if I actually wanted to. Actually, I can think of three or four examples of those kinds of trails that I say I want to go to, but haven’t yet because they’re inconvenient. Clearly I should make that happen, right?
Finally, everything is more fun with a friend. For my glacier trip I remembered that my best friend had just moved to a flexible working schedule where she has some Fridays off. Bonanza! So we went together. But another option could be convincing an outdoor buddy that taking an adventure is worth it for them, too. You can even send them this podcast episode.
One of the things I love about racking up my count of epic adventures during regular life is that each instance serves as a fresh reminder of why I should do it again later. Now when it’s time to consider whether I do, in fact, have the bandwidth to head out to a ski trail on a Friday morning I can recall the glacier trip, remember how fun and refreshing that felt, and know that there are rewards in making it happen.
You can see a photo from our glacier trip and other fun and, ok, some boring outdoor times on Humans Outside on Facebook and Instagram. What can I say, not every day is epic. I want to see your outdoor photos both epic and non epic, obviously. Share them with #humansoutside365. Until next time, we’ll see you out there.