If you’ve picked up on one thing about me, it’s likely that I cannot resist a challenge. After all, it’s how I got into this whole daily outside time thing to start with. What would happen if I spent at least 20 minutes outside every day for a year? Could I do it? I set my challenge, and I got started. It was September 1, 2017, more than 1,700 days ago.
But what you might not know is that the one-year September start was not the true first day of my daily outdoor habit. I had actually started it all at first with an initial, smaller challenge for myself. It was a rainy and chilly Memorial Day weekend, just a few months before that September date.
I was sitting at my patio table, frustrated, wondering when Alaska was going to get nice for me. And I realized that I was the one who was going to have to change. So I thought I would try to get outside even just for a little bit every day between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Sometimes it was just for 5 minutes. But it was a perfect span of time — those 99 summer days between Memorial Day and Labor Day — to push myself to get outside even in terrible, pouring rain, to explore new places in my town, to try new things, to learn to be intentional about getting into nature. It opened a door for wanting more. It was a gentle on-ramp.
Maybe you’ve been thinking about trying that Humans Outside 365 Challenge, but havent quite gotten around to giving it a go. If that’s you, here’s my suggestion: try this over the summer. Try this outdoor habit for the days between memorial day and labor day. See if it’s for you, see if you see the benefits, if it feels your curiosity, if it betters your life.
Or, maybe those 99 days seem like a good start, but you’re now ready to dive in fully with that as your on ramp to a year — yet still you just need some help making it happen. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
If that’s you, then officially registering for the Humans Outside 365 challenge on HumansOutside.com is the next step. Registration comes with cool swag that I will personally send you from Alaska, a Challenge guide and tracker and exclusive monthly help on your challenge journey with tips and tricks for whatever that season is bringing you.
You can find all of that on HumansOutside.com. Now is the perfect time to start this challenge, no matter what you decide to do. Make this happen for yourself.
OK, that’s the first challenge. But here’s something else for all of you, including everyone who is already spending a year or building and keeping that daily nature habit.
Memorial Day is right around the corner, and if you’re familiar with my personal story and my family’s service as a military family in support of my husband, who is in the US Army National Guard right now and who served in the active duty Army, you know Memorial Day is a really important holiday to us. We have many — way too many — friends who have been killed serving in the U.S. military. And we know many — way too many — family members of the fallen.
Memorial Day is, of course, a day set aside to honor that loss and those men and women who have died. We also use it to mark the start of the summer season. There’s nothing wrong with that — and I can pretty much guarantee that so many of those who have died in service of the United States would not want us sitting around feeling sad about that all of the time. So we can absolutely have a good time on Memorial Day weekend without feeling guilty.
But it’s also important to use the occasion to pay our respects to those lost and to those left behind. And what I have is an easy way for you to do that.
The non profit wear blue: run to remember marks each Memorial Day by dedicating steps — run or walked — to fallen service members. Wear blue believes in the power of simply saying the names of those who have died, and then dedicating movement to honor their memories. My family has been involved with wear blue from the day it started. And you can hear a humans outside episode with co-founder Lisa Hallett back in Season 1.
So here’s the challenge. Go to wearblueruntoremember.org and register to honor a fallen service members with steps this Memorial Day weekend. You can simply register and if you dont already have someone in mind to honor that’s OK — they’ll send you the name and a story. If there’s a group walk and run at a location near you, you can find more information on how to join them for their Memorial Day event.
I’ll be dedicating some miles to wear blue too now that I’ve healed from my latest ankle sprain –or am healing, rather. After a week with it up things are looking much better and Im ready to get rocking and rolling again. Meanwhile I have mostly been enjoying a slower pace and a rest week. I had a majorly bad attitude for a few days there while I sat at my desk watching the weather be awesome and feeling absolutely trapped. But then I realized, hey, you can be trapped at a desk outside, too — and that’s better. Perfect weather doesnt happen anywhere as often as anyone would like, but wow has this week in Alaska had some. I prepped this episode from a table and chair I set up in the shade of my backyard. And my family had our first camping nights of the year in the vanimal at a nearby lake and campground. 70 and sunny doesnt go unnoticed in Alaska.
I hope you take time over Memorial Day weekend to set some outdoor goals for yourself and honor the fallen with some intentional steps. I’m going to take the week of Memorial Day off from Outdoor Diary episodes, although you’ll still get one of our final two new full length episodes of season 5 before we head into the summer season where I take a break from new interviews so I have plenty of time to go outside and play in the light.
Show me your photos of what you’ve been doing outside these days. Tag them on Instagram with #humansoutside365. And you know where to find mine on humans outside on Facebook and Instagram. Until next time we’ll see you o/ut there.