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The Secret Sauce for Your Outdoor Habit (Karla Amador)

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When Amy started her daily outdoor habit in 2017 she had no idea there was a whole world of others already tackling an outdoor effort of their own, formed around a different idea known as the 52 Hike Challenge. Through that program participants pledge to complete 52 hikes over a year.

The things its co-founder, Karla Amador, has learned over both her own journey of hiking and by helping people around the world participate in the challenge are about more than just hiking 52 times. They are also perfect for anyone looking to build and keep a new and challenging outdoor habit like the daily one we focus on at Humans Outside.

In this episode of Humans Outside Karla shares what she’s learned about outdoor habits by helping people complete their 52 Hikes, her own journey to spending time in nature and the insight and health it has given her.

Some of the good stuff:

[2:23] Karla Amador’s favorite outdoor place

[4:18] How Karla became a person who likes to go outside

[6:09] Nature as a healing tool

[7:12] How the 52 Hike Challenge was born

[13:41] What derails hikers from their goals

[18:21] Advice for building the habit

[25:16] Habit pitfalls

[31:20] The healing gift of being out in nature

[32:55] How to avoid those habit pitfalls

[37:46] How to get involved in 52 Hikes

[43:23] Karla’s favorite and most essential outdoor gear

[44:35] Karla’s favorite outdoor moment

Connect with this episode:

Register for our newsletter to win a decal: https://humansoutside.com/newsletter

Follow us on Instagram and share your outdoor life with the hashtag #humansoutside365.

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.

AB 0:30

Back in 2017, when I started my Humans Outside daily challenge of getting outside for at least 20 minutes a day no matter what, it was because I had seen glimpses of the way spending time in nature helped me feel better both mentally and physically, and I wanted to create a habit that would push me to get out there every day. We had moved here to Alaska a year before in pursuit of a fresh start, but I found I wasn’t getting outside quite the way I had hoped I would. I needed to create some daily intentionality. Today’s guest also leaned into building a new habit as a way of getting outside weekly. What started as Karla Amador’s New Year’s resolution to go on 52 hikes—one hike a week—over a year has grown into a global community and challenge. Both Karla and I got outside as part of a habit, realized how transformational it could be, and looked for ways to bring people like you along for the journey. Today, as we kick off season four of Humans Outside and re-energize or start our outdoor habit with the beginning of a new season, Karla is going to help us with her own habit-building advice. Karla, I’m so excited to welcome you to Humans Outside.

Okay, so we start our episodes talking about our favorite outdoor space with our guests. We like to envision ourselves having a conversation with you in your favorite outdoor space. So tell me, where are we with you today?

Karla Aamador 2:23

Yeah, one of my favorite places in the world—there’s two, so I’ll give you two great places—is Joshua Tree. I absolutely love Joshua Tree and backpacking there, and I like going when it’s not hot. So spring and you know, fall and winter. But anyhow, yeah, I just love the rocks. And I feel like there’s just so much beautiful energy out in those lands. Or we would be at a place called Big Pine Lakes and it’s just beautiful. It’s in the Sierra range, and you hike up about, I believe it’s five miles to the lakes, and they are just absolutely stunning. It’s just such a beautiful place. And every time that I need to go to a calm, beautiful place, that is like the go-to spot.

AB 3:22

Oh man. And you know, you mentioned Joshua Tree. It is such a unique space to that. Like, literally, you can’t find what you find there anywhere else in the world. Go there when it’s not hot, guys, because it gets really toasty. It’s not that far out of LA and it’s worth that trip.

KA 3:46

Correct. It’s only like a two and a half hour drive and you can do it in a day. Get in your car at 6am, you’ll be in Joshua Tree by like nine. Enjoy the park for the day, go have a coffee or some yummy food in the little town. It’s just such a great, great way to spend a day in a park. Like you said, super unique. So I highly recommend it.

AB 4:11

Yeah, awesome. Okay, so give us a little bit of background. Have you always been someone who’s drawn to spending time in nature?

KA 4:18

Absolutely not, actually. And I think that’s why it was so impactful for me. I was not a hiker at all. I used to think that hikes gave me headaches. I used to be the girl who literally thought life was about having brand name you name it, because I was so empty and unfulfilled internally, I mean, just completely not in a good place. So that’s actually the starting point of the 52 Hike Challenge story is that I was going through a divorce and it really made me question who I was. It made me question myself and my values, and I mean everything. So no, not a hiker, I was really kind of living this life of vanity and thinking things would fulfill me.

AB 5:23

I totally resonate with that. I’m not sure I would characterize myself as living a life of vanity so much as I was just very focused on production and work. I mean, that’s something I still struggle with. But I am always looking to fix other people, which is how we got to Alaska, and never really taking time to think about what I needed to do to fix me. Fixing yourself can help you fix other people. So, there’s that, but I didn’t really think about that. And I was categorically not an outdoor person, like, why would you do that?

KA 6:09

It’s so funny, as you’re saying that, because actually, that’s also my story. You know, I landed myself in, you know, CODA, which is codependents anonymous. And I was like, trying to fix, you know, my ex husband at the time, and I was so miserable, and everything you said, you know, trying to fix others. And what nature gave me and why I’m so passionate about it is that, and I would say it’s one of the tools I’ve used in my healing journey, but it gave me time to just focus on myself. And I had never given myself the time to do that. Because I was afraid and because I didn’t want to deal with my emotions and my feelings. And that’s really so powerful that nature creates a space for us to really just be with ourselves.

AB 7:07

Yeah, so tell us a little bit more about how the 52 Hike Challenge was born.

KA 7:12

I was going through the divorce and I ended up having another business at the time, and I ended up meeting my co-founder, who’s also my fiance now. But yeah, he was an avid mountaineer and hiker. And I was really inspired by his photos, actually, after sitting down and having done a visualization exercise with someone and I, again, was not a hiker. But I, in the visualization, saw myself in Machu Picchu, and seeing how gorgeous you know, the views were and this idea of putting on a backpack and kind of being free. And that was the vision that came to me. So when I met him, I was inspired by his story, because he had lost 80 pounds through hiking, and you know, we went on a hike. And I, for the first time in like a year and a half felt hope again, after being in this depression of going through this divorce and trying to figure out who I was. And just thought to myself, wow, this is like the first time I feel good in a really long time. So 2014, I set myself a goal, to go hiking once a week, for a year, not thinking anything of it. But it was absolutely one of the most transformational things that I’ve ever been through. And I’m very grateful to nature, and even the painful time that I was going through for that, because that’s really why I created and launched the 52 Hike Challenge that you now see, it was because I was in so much pain and I wanted to help others to find another way to deal with themselves that was productive, helpful, and transformative.

AB 9:08

Yeah. Oh, that’s so beautiful. It’s like we receive that gift from going outside and from spending time in nature, and then put it back into the world. My faith background would be characterized, probably as Protestant. So I see this connection to nature as being a gift from God, what I understand God to be. But I think that no matter what your faith background is or is not, you receive, you know, nature has this gift for you. And then, you know, part of my faith background is putting that back into the world for other people, but that’s a part of most faith backgrounds, right? Like giving out those good, you want to call them karma, vibrations, you know, whatever. All right on to other people and giving as you have received. And that’s how I mean, that’s just how I feel about going outside. I’m like in an I’m an outdoor evangelist. I can’t help it.

Okay, so how many people have done the challenge since you started that? Well, like, what is the challenge? Walk us through.

KA 10:26

We initially launched it just because we were so compelled by having these transformative experiences. And we were like — hey, come join us. So since we’ve actually started, and I haven’t tallied the final for 2021, but we definitely are at about 50,000+ participants, since we’ve started the challenge, who have officially committed and signed up through the website. And then we also have a finisher list on our website that people can check out if they’re interested in reading stories and things of that sort. We’ve had a lot of people do the challenge. And then the challenge has gone on to inspire people to do other big things in other huge outdoor communities. It’s had a ripple effect. I feel like kind of touching on what you just said. I was going through this 12 step journey when I was doing this challenge as well, and surrendering to a higher power. And I feel like that this is actually a gift from that, because I was like — I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. So do it for me. And I had such an inspiration to do these 52 hikes. There’s so much beauty in that whole process of surrender and in following that internal voice to do something. So it’s been really impactful. To see that and witness that is such a gift.

AB 11:58

Yeah, that’s what we call it – the gifts of the program, right? What you’re doing is so similar and obviously different from what we do here. Humans Outside, which is this daily practice of heading outside and creating that habit and being in a community of people who do the same thing. We talked a little bit about this before we started recording, I found your website while I was doing research and looking for, people who are doing similar stuff, and could talk about what we’ll talk about here shortly, which is habit-building. I had this moment, I was like — Oh, my gosh, this person is doing the same thing we’re doing and this person has, you know, experienced the same benefits and all these people are also experiencing the same benefits. And for those who are listening, we will be launching at some point, something very similar to what Karla’s doing over there, where you can sign up, and we’ll have a program like that. And, you know, that’s just sort of like a gift from the universe too, and then seeing that Karla’s already doing that just made me feel like — Hey, this is something that we need in this community, too. So Karla, thank you so much for layering on the inspiration on that. I mean, what a beautiful thing. That’s just so, so great.

Let’s talk about habit-building. So when you talk to people about 52 Hike Challenge, what reasons do they give for not participating? What fears about participating do they have?

KA 13:41

Yeah, I mean, for the most part, what we read, you know, because we take time to like, understand what they’re trying to gain. And then we have heard from people, participants, that they thought they weren’t going to finish. And obviously, no one wants to start something they’re not sure they’re going to be able to achieve. It’s just a normal thing for people to fear because it brings up feelings of inadequacy. Am I not good enough? Like, you know, am I going to be a failure if I don’t do this? But what has happened is, as we’ve read these finisher stories and forums, is that people actually usually say — I found myself actually going out more than I realized I was going to go out, and now I’m trying to do 100 hikes — or you know, something to that effect. And so it’s really interesting. The biggest thing I can tell people is commitment. Once you’re committed, once you’re like — I’m gonna do this no matter what — yes, it’s normal for fear to come in and I had fear when I set this goal for myself. I thought to myself, Shoot, am I gonna be able to do this? But then I reminded myself, you just have to go once a week for a year. So what I like to tell people is, yes, it’s great to have that long term goal in this big goal, but you need to break it out into smaller steps, so that you can just focus on that little step in front of you. Don’t focus on making it to 52. On day one, focus on — I just completed one hike this week, I’m on track to complete my challenge.

AB 15:18

And there aren’t any rules around what constitutes a hike, right? I mean, that’s pretty loosely defined, am I am I wrong on that?

KA 15:29

We asked people to do a mile minimum. And the reason we did that was for various reasons. One was because, you know, we’re trying to get more people out to be active, like a part of our mission, knowing that my partner had been 80 pounds overweight, we really want to encourage people to start getting active, super important, one of our values. And then the other thing was, we want families to get out. And, you know, hey, if you have twin three year olds, more than a mile might be really challenging for you. We wanted to make it attainable for pretty much anyone who wanted to take this commitment to being out in nature and to make it feasible for them.

AB 16:13

So it’s funny, you mentioned length, because that’s not even what I was thinking. I was thinking, like, when people think about hiking, they think mountains and, you know, really steep trails, and super far away from your house. And like, all of these things that aren’t necessarily like that. We put the word hike, and we put the word outdoors in a pretty small box, typically, that it is a box in which it does not belong. When people ask me about spending 20 minutes outside, well, you know, like, what does that mean? Well, I mean, is it outside? Because that’s what it means, you know? Is going into trees “superior” to walking down a city block in terms of the benefit to your brain? Yes. Okay. Does walking down a city block still count as going outside? 100%. Is it still better than sitting inside? Absolutely. And so, you know, sometimes I sit on my porch, I don’t move at all. But it’s about creating that habit and expanding your definition of this stuff. And I imagine that people who participate in your challenge aren’t summiting a mountain every week.

KA 17:28

Exactly. That’s correct. And we have heard from participants who may live somewhere that doesn’t have mountains. And so we said, allowing them to define what they consider a hike is fine. And we even said, urban walks, because you’re still getting out and it’s better than staying in. There’s so many reasons why, you know, it’s not about going out into the mountains. There’s also accessibility issues. We really wanted this to be as inclusive as possible.

AB 18:11

Okay, so talk to us about the advice you give for building that hiking habit. You mentioned, take it in small bites, is there anything else?

KA 18:21

So much, so much. And I love this, because my fiance and I were listening to this book the other day, I think it’s called Atomic Habits. We were listening to it and thinking about it. And, you know, making the commitment and actually signing up like that, in itself, is pretty big. And so, the other thing is, for what we’re doing, it’s free to sign up. But if you want to support the challenge, which really helps us to not only pay our staff, but to create content and to do I mean, there’s a lot that goes into running this organization. So anyways, if people want to support us, they also get a finisher medal, or they can get patches and stickers. But the finisher medal is packaged and says, you know, “Don’t open until 52.” Hopefully, they’ll keep that in front of them to remind them. We have a journal that helps them when they’re going out and journaling, which has space for 52 different hikes. We also have a log they can download. So believe it or not, having a written paper where you’re going and you’re saying — hey, I did this — and like that’s such a big part of like, any commitment you make, is like keeping some sort of a journal. Like staying accountable, letting people know. So we’ve actually kind of given people those tools and told them how to do the challenge. When I did my challenge, I was publishing a photo from each hike and tagging it, that really helped me to remind myself to stay on track. And announcing it to other people, so I was accountable to someone. And one of the stories we like sharing is, we’ve heard stories from people that were like — you know, I told my friends, I was going to do this challenge. And then I was going to back out, but then they started calling me and saying, “I want to go hiking with you.” So that helped them, you know? So yeah, accountability is huge.

Yes, habit building? How do I get started? Habits are difficult to change. However, if you do little positive steps to start changing them, then it is possible, right? Like, you can’t change someone overnight. It just takes little baby steps. So if for you, it’s putting your shoes out in front of the door to remind you that you’ve committed to going to walk once a week. And that helps you to at least get out the door. That’s better than not having done that one little thing that reminded you and so, you know, again, we’re trying to tell everyone to focus on your current hike. And don’t worry about anything else, because you don’t want to overwhelm yourself and your senses and your emotions. And, you know, we could go on and on, but I think it’s just common, and how do I say this? It’s, I think, when it comes to being who you are, it’s easier to, you know, say you want to do something, but then like, get deep, you know, become unmotivated, or procrastinate. It’s just a part of life. Especially when you want to change, I feel like that’s when you get tested the most. You might commit to this challenge, and then, you know, next week, your car, you know is breaking down. There’s going to be obstacles that come in your way. But it’s commitment that changes things. It’s not wanting to let yourself down, and then taking those small steps forward.

AB 22:15

Yeah, I love that you mentioned the accountability piece, because that’s exactly what I have done and continue to do is post that photo a day. And we encourage people to use that hashtag, just like you were using a hashtag. Ours is #humansoutside365. And if folks follow that, they can see people who are doing this every day, you know, and they can see my photos every day. I mentioned to you before we started recording this, that today is literally my 1400th day of doing this in a row. Okay, so that’s today as we’re recording this. Okay, so just like this last week, right, um, that I definitely had to go make myself go back outside and do something. Because it was beautiful here, but I was very, very busy. I’m training for this really long race right now. But it was a day off of training. So I didn’t have my normal run. I sat in my hot tub in the morning, I wasn’t entirely sure I’d been there for 20 minutes, right. I was just sort of part of my day. And I realized I hadn’t taken a picture. And so I had, you know, I went outside again and did something else outside on purpose, because I had not done that accountability piece that I needed to do to make sure I had met the goal I have for myself. And that’s, you know, almost for 1400 days into doing this that I would describe going outside every day is just a part of who I am now. I don’t usually have to think about it. It’s just part of my day. But sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s still that you got to do that push, you got to be practical. You got to be intentional. And you have to maintain it. Habits do not maintain themselves.

Okay, so you touched on this a little bit, but let’s go back there. When people don’t do their 52 hikes. So like, let’s say you get the medal in the mail, it’s sitting before your eyes and you shove it in a drawer and because you failed to hike for a week, or you feel like you’ve gotten off track, what reasons do they give for having that happen? What, like, what are these pitfalls?

KA 25:16

Um, you know, I think the one that I recently read was someone who had an injury. And so, you know, that will happen. But here’s what we say to people. If you’ve fallen off the wagon, you can start up again, any time, that doesn’t mean that you can’t try again. And the other thing is, most of the time, people have at least gotten out 15 times instead of one time that they used to. So we say, actually congratulate yourself for getting out there and for starting, because that’s the hardest step. Right. Another thing I wanted to add to that is that we’ve had people that literally wrote into us and said, I didn’t finish for two years prior, and I finally finished on my third time. It’s okay, life is gonna happen, things are gonna come up, but you still have the opportunity to recommit yourself, start all over again and earn your medal. Life happens and have that grace for yourself and it’s okay to have not been able to complete a journey. I think we can all relate to that feeling of wanting to have accomplished something, and then it doesn’t quite look that way. But, again, talking about timing, sometimes timing is just not there. But you can choose to go back to any goal at any point in your life, as long as you’re healthy, and start all over again.

AB 27:07

That’s such a beautiful point. Injury is one thing, if you cannot move for a mile, you know, you cannot do a mile hike. That’s all there is to it. Um, but going back to the box we talked about earlier, maybe the thing is to think about the challenge a little differently, and to maybe remove some of those unnecessary boxes. So last year, I had hip surgery. I tore the crap out of my labrum in my hip, and I had to have it repaired. And it was a major bummer, because I am not a person who does well sitting in places or on crutches, and I had big goals, and I didn’t get to do them. I was sad about it. I had signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon, which is a race I do every year with an organization to honor fallen service members. And it was just really important to me to be able to do that. I could not run 26 miles, I could not walk 26 miles, I categorically could not do that. I had hip surgery. I was, you know, on crutches, it ain’t happening. So I decided that I was going to pretend that this year’s Marine Corps Marathon is literally one day at a time, and I’m just going to do a mile a day. And I was at a point where I could use my crutches for a mile at a time. And it was a big challenge for me to do that, especially in the beginning of those, you know, 26 days, because I was still healing quite a bit, but it was possible. And I was able to do that. And I sort of redefined the thing I was doing to fit the thing that I was able to do. And you better believe I awarded myself that medal. I did not register my completion on the Virtual Marine Corps Marathon website because I’m a rule follower too, and it did not qualify under their rules. But the medal had already been mailed to me and you best believe that is hanging on my wall. Because I gave myself a challenge, and I pivoted, and I’m proud of that. I’m proud that I was able to do that. It was such a learning experience for me as a rule follower, to say, you know, like this, I assign myself this challenge. Nobody’s making me do it. If I decide that I’m not able to do it, or I’m not going to do it, then that’s on me, if I didn’t find a way to pivot into something that could work for me, it doesn’t have to work for anyone else. Just Amy.

KA 29:52

I love that. I think that’s so important to define what it means to you. At the end of the day, we are not going to tell you how to define what it is for you. If you were getting into nature on a more consistent basis than you were before, you had a positive outcome, and you did your best, then this is your own time to define that for yourself. We’re not going to take something away from anyone who feels they deserve it. I love that. It’s wonderful for people to do that.

AB 30:36

It might feel like there are, but there are no challenge police. No one’s going to fast rope from your ceiling to figure out why you didn’t do the thing. They’re not, it’s not gonna happen. This is your habit, your challenge, and you have to remember, like you’re doing it for you, you’re not doing it for somebody else. And you know, this is for your health, this is for your mental well being. And, you know, this has made me a better person, in my work and in my life. And that makes me be able to do the things I want, you know, more consistently, which is help my family and, you know, be a good world citizen, all that jazz.

KA 31:20

That’s so great that you say that because I think being out in nature more often, that’s one of the gifts. You feel better, which equals you treating others better, because it’s just nothing more than a domino effect. I think that’s why I say I think nature is one of many tools that I use to help me in my life. And I think it’s a wonderful tool. But you know, it’s better than doing nothing, right? And so if you’re feeling better internally, because you know, the world is struggling these days with stress and anxiety and depression, you know, we’ve just come out of a pandemic. I mean, we’re still coming out of it. We need self care, we need tools, we need things that help us to be our best selves. If we’re not our best selves, we can’t show up for those around us. And you best bet you’re not going to have patience, you best bet you’re going to be frustrated, you best bet you’re not going to be in a good place. And so I think that having nature as one of our tools is such a wonderful gift. And not only is it a gift, it’s free.

AB 32:31

Free, accessible, right outside your door, all of that good stuff. And defined by you in a lot of ways, you know, take it out of the box, guys. Just release, set it free.

We talked a little bit about pitfalls. Do you have any other advice for how people can avoid those pitfalls?

KA 32:55

The first thing is to have the commitment that you’re going to do your best, you know, first and foremost. Have grace with yourself. You know, if something happens, we also tell people you can make up hikes. Okay, if you’ve got 52 weeks, and that’s to make it a, you know, timely goal. You know, if you’ve heard of SMART goals, feel free to look them up. But SMART goals should be specific, measurable, you know, achievable. They should be timed. And they should be realistic. Sorry, I kind of did that out of order. It’s super important to, you know, really think about it, commit yourself, you know, have that accountability. You know, take people with you, you know, have your friends go with you, take your kids, take it as a time to connect with others, you know, even making new friends. You can go to a local park. And there are local parks, you know, where we’re from in Orange County, that do guided hikes and things of that sort. So you can make new friends and, not only that, but as you start getting outside more, start educating yourself, you know, go take a class. Start learning about backpacking and camping and, you know, it just opens up so many other doors, you know, rock climbing and kayaking. I feel like once you unlock the outdoors, it’s a gift that keeps on giving. And like you said, you can define how you spend that time out in nature. But, you know, immersing yourself is just so important.

AB 34:43

Yeah, no, you’re so right. I want to tell you what my most recent gift is. I am not with the insects, you know. And I am categorically afraid of spiders. In fact, I even hesitate to say that term, you know, of that insect, because I think the Google machine will now cough up more information about that than I want. I’m not interested, please don’t do that. They freak me out, let’s put that way. So but I have noticed that I have developed a muscle to be calm about this in a way that I was not before. I feel when I’m like, surrounded by flies, I mean, guys, you go hiking somewhere, there’s going to be a fly situation, and you’re going to be like — get me the hell out of here. Um, I have found that I am much calmer about that, like they don’t, it doesn’t bother me the way it used to. I’m able to let it go. It’s like, my brain has decided I am here. And the flies are here. And we’re all here together. And that’s okay. As opposed to — Oh, my gosh, they’re swarming me, I must retreat — which is how my brain received that before. And I don’t know, I just feel like, I feel like I’ve been given this gift of, you know, coexistence with something that — it only took me 1400 days to get there. But I never anticipated that I would feel like I was starting to get over that. I just thought that’s how it was gonna be forever.

KA 36:24

What you’re describing is really, what meditation is. Meditation is allowing your brain to experience an emotion and not reacting. And that is one of the reasons why I highly believe in the outdoors. You’re basically super present. How many times—I don’t know, I’m sure there’s listeners that can relate—have you had this huge thing that happened to you and you thought it was a catastrophe. And then you went for a walk and you realized it’s not the end of the world, I’m going to breathe, and I’m going to just let it go, right. And so what you’re describing is, you know, nature, you can practice, you know, what I call a walking meditation, basically. And that is just realizing that I’m not my emotions, I’m not my feelings, I can actually detach, and it’s going to be okay. And when we’re not practicing this, or even if we’re not even aware of it. We’re just so caught up in believing we are the thought, we are the fear, but we’re not. Like we have the ability to become conscious and to like, pull ourselves back and go — Wait a minute, I need to just take a deep breath.

AB 37:46

Yeah. Oh, so beautiful. So if someone wants to get involved in 52 Hike Challenge today, or, you know, any challenge, what tips do you have for getting started? And then tell us specifically how to get involved in 52 Hikes?

KA 38:02

Yeah, I mean, definitely go to our website, 52HikeChallenge.com. And, you know, especially for beginners, people who don’t know about what the challenge is, check out the original series, which is just committing to getting out once a week for a year. That’s it, and you can do it faster, you know, if you want to hike three times a week, we’re not going to tell you not to do it. We even say if you want to do it as quickly as 52 days, that’s the soonest you can finish if you really want to be out in nature every single day. But yeah, sign up. And you know, please support us, it really helps us to keep the community going. And basically, once you’re signed up, you’ll get a series of emails, and our newsletter where we put different tips. For example, right now in California, and probably around the US there has been a huge heatwave, and we’ve been talking about hydration and safety and, you know, things of that sort. So we try to keep it timely. We have programs, we do events and classes, and we invite everyone to come to those. We have all of our resources, we have tons of free resources on our website. So that would be step one. And then step two, you know, we also have like a guide, and, you know, there’s everything they need to know, up on our website under Resources. That’s pretty much it. And we really hope that people, I mean, nature does the rest really, once you’re out there and you’re like seeing these beautiful vistas. I mean, it’s really no time before you start realizing how good it is for your mind, body, soul and spirit and you just want to get out there more and more.

AB 39:57

Oh, so good. And guys, I’m going to sign up for a 52 Hike Challenge myself and dovetail it into my daily outdoor habit. And you know, add it on and you’re probably thinking, Amy, you go outside every day, you already do 52 hikes. I’m going to try to do one hike a week for the next year. And let me just tell you how tricky that gets in the wintertime. So there are days where hiking does not sound so good to me. And I would rather huddle for warmth in my hot tub. You know, so there you go. But I’m gonna do it. So you guys should do it too. And of course, keep up your daily outdoor habit as well. Or just get started. Now, as Karla said, now is the time, no time like the present. And it take it one step at a time to get going. Okay, so Karla, I think we are kindred spirits. We could probably talk about this forever. But no one wants to listen to us forever, I’m afraid. So let’s go to our leftover round. Can you tell us what your favorite and most essential outdoor gear is?

KA 41:11

Absolutely, there’s two items. And I’m sorry to say that. But yes, hiking shoes, and absolutely like my go-to most important thing, especially because I tend to trip often. So actually, I do trail runners a lot. But I also have been using, you know, like softer boots that have support for my ankle and stuff like that. So absolutely need to have a great pair of hiking shoes that are comfortable, that you know, fit your needs, and that have the most important thing, good traction. And then the last one, I call it my Leave No Trace bag, right, like, please, please, please pick up trash. Please leave it better than you found it, please make sure to pack it in and pack it out. Super important for everyone listening. Like, I really want to make sure that if we’re getting more people outside, we’re also creating stewards of the trail. Let’s take care of the trails. Let’s do our job in making it a beautiful place for others to enjoy.

AB 42:22

Such great advice and two important tools. Going back to the hiking shoes, we talk a lot here about how if you’re going to go outside every day, one of the things that can really derail you from doing that is being uncomfortable, because who wants to go do something that is uncomfortable? And a great defense against being uncomfortable is having enough warm clothes, especially if you live somewhere cold. I have learned that style is not my priority. I am totally fine looking like a walking marshmallow in the wintertime with my puffy pants and puffy jacket and no regrets, because I am warm, and I’m outside. And that is within my power to control by wearing enough layers. So that’s the hiking shoes thing, same concept, right? Like, you gotta be comfortable, or you’re not gonna want to do it.

KA 43:23

And you’re on your feet a lot. So your feet, you have to take care of your feet when you’re out walking, because again, our feet take a beating, you know. So definitely having even insoles, you know, like wearing thick socks, I mean, your feet are going to be doing a lot of load. So you want your feet to be comfortable. You want to make sure that you’ve tested out your shoes before you take them on a long trek, so you don’t have blisters. I mean, we could go on and on and talk about feet for the rest of the show. But we won’t do that.

AB 43:57

Yeah, absolutely. Okay, well, um, those are such great tips and such good points to think about.

Okay, so last but not least, because there always has to be last. Walk us out with your favorite outdoor moment. I love to hear from my guests, just be able to envision myself we’re in a place that’s really important to them. And in a moment that they can, you know, harken back to. So if you have a moment like that, you close your eyes and think about, your best moment outside. Where are you? What are you doing? Take us there with you.

KA 44:35

I love that question. And even though I have one that I go to and we kind of briefly talked about, I think given certain timings in my life now, you know what started the challenge was this vision of going to Machu Picchu, and a couple years later, I was able to go there. Unfortunately, the weather did not decide to be as gorgeous as I wanted it to be in my vision, right. But I got to go. But in 2019, I believe it was 2019. Yeah, I actually had a chance to go back for a second time and actually do the trek up to Machu Picchu again. And, you know, being there this time, it really was like my vision, you know, that started me on this journey and being up Huayna Picchu and I was journaling and I was celebrating a birthday. And just being able to go back and kind of reflect on all the years, since, you know, the divorce happened, since I was feeling horrible in my life, and then realizing how much progress I had made, and how much hiking had been a big part of that. And then just looking down and just feeling complete, whole, exactly what I felt in my vision. I think that’s a testament that we’re all on a journey and your visions and your dreams can come true.

AB 46:17

Karla, thank you so much for sharing that vision and that dream and your methods and advice with us today on Humans Outside. I so appreciate you.

KA 46:28

You’re welcome. It’s my pleasure. And thank you for reaching out. I’m excited to hear more about your journey and how you’re going to help other people. And please do not hesitate to reach out for any support because we all need each other. And contrary to believing we need to do it on our own, we don’t. We need people, we need to support systems, and I just want to contribute to that. Getting more people outside together.

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