Outdoor Diary: How Heading Outside Has Changed My Priorities

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How Heading Outside Changed My Priorities

There’s something funny that happens when you start spending more time outside: what you want out of life changes, too. In this episode Amy reflects on how spending time outside has shifted her priorities, and why her birthday is the perfect pause point to reflect on that shift.

Some of the good stuff:

[:45] Have you noticed this about heading outside?

[:55] How it started for me

[1:28] How the mission creep started

[1:54] The shift from time to time, money and energy

[2:30] Why I’m thinking about this now

[3:00] What I used to do

[3:15] What I wanted to now

[4:20] And here’s what’s next

Connect with this episode:

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

The following is an edited transcript of this episode of Humans Outside.

Have you noticed that as you have started spending more time outside, your priorities have started to change?

When I first started my outdoor habit in 2017, I really was just box checking. I found a way to make going outside a small part of every day, just that 20 minutes, but sometimes more. I got a little creative with it, finding new things to do or using the outdoor time to explore a little bit around me, go new places or see new sights.

But the longer I did it, the more interested in making it, well, interesting I became. And pretty soon we had some mission creep. I was going to out to check the box on my outdoor time, but I also starting to find that I actually really enjoyed it. I wanted to not just do my outdoor time for the sake of doing it, but I actually liked the new activities I found there so much that I was doing them in addition to my outdoor time.

And then it went from how I was just spending my time, to also how I was spending my money and my energy. My outdoor time would be more comfortable if I bought a higher-quality jacket. Winter would be more fun if I learned how to ski and had a variety of activity options even when it was very snowy. I could more trails if I learned to run them instead of just hiking, I would meet more outdoor-minded people if I went to community outdoor events. I would get to talk to people who are interested in the outdoors, too, if I started a podcast.

And here we are.

How spending time outside has dramatically influenced my interest list was at the front of my mind this week because I celebrated my birthday. Birthdays are a great way to compare year-over-year priorities because you can easily remember how you’ve wanted to spend the day in the past or any memorable gifts. A birthday might be a time where you get to do something you actually like, so you can see how what you like changes over time.

Now, in the past I’ve wanted to spend the day watching a good movie. There were years I wanted to go to a spa. One time more than a decade ago I got a wild idea that I wanted to go kayaking, but we didn’t actually get to go because the rental place was closed. That’s the only outdoor-centric thing I can remember from the years before my outdoor experiment started.

But I can tell you how I’ve spent it recently and I can tell you how I spent it this year. I wanted to go for a run. I wanted to go camping. I wanted to go on a hike. I wanted to sit next to a campfire. I wanted to eat ice cream and a really good cookie — ok those are the same as they have always been.

So that’s what we did. After a plan to go on a group camping adventure with the local Sierra Club chapter fell through when they canceled for weather, you know we went anyway and had a great time. We drove down to Portage, a valley that heads towards Whiiter and Portage Glacier. We camped in a National Forest campground, hiked a new-to-me trail over Portage Pass to Portage Lake, and I ran a 10k along the Trail of Blue Ice, a flat accessible trail that goes along a glacial stream that is oh so pretty.

And birthday gifts? Those have changed too. This year I asked for and received a new stand up paddle board from my family. Ill be having adventures with it soon I’m sure.

You can see photos from all of my adventures past and present on Humans Outside on Facebook and Instagram as well as photos from my podcast guests. I’m getting ready to publish Season 6 of the Humans Outside podcast in just a few weeks, with new interviews with some really fascinating outdoor minded people. I hope you’ll listen and share your photos with me wth #humansoutside365. Until next time, I’ll see you out there.

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