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Here’s an edited transcript of this installment of Amy’s Outdoor Diary. Listen to the episode on iTunes, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.
Do you feel like it’s somehow harder to find time to go outside when it’s really nice outside, or that you’re not spending as much time outside when the weather is good as you wish you were?
This is a big problem for me here in Alaska. I think part of it is that it’s suddenly so much nicer outside than it was that I simply want to spend all of my time out there — there just isn’t such a thing as spending as much as outside as I wish I could.
But the other part of it is that because I don’t have to try as hard to make myself get outside as I do when the weather isn’t as good, I’m flat out not as intentional about it. In the winter or when it’s gross and raining or cold, spending my time outside takes making a plan, thinking about what I’m going to do and deciding I’m going to do it. If the weather is really challenging it also takes getting my things together, finding all of the layers or whatever. Then, I have to get myself out the door. I literally plan it into each day, designed around whenever the best weather window is or during daylight. Getting outside in bad weather is not an afterthought. And so I get my time in every day.
In the summer, however, the outdoors is just sitting there waiting for me to use it. On many days there’s no such thing as a less than ideal time. It’s light when I get up, light when I go to bed, and I just have to pick the moment I want to walk out my door.
But, and I’m kind of embarrassed about this, I can get so busy that I roll into the early evening without spending any substantive time outside. Maybe I went for a run or did some outdoor chores, but I wasn’t noticing or intentional in what I was doing. I didn’t go outside the way I wanted to, or in a way that felt really valuable.
Really what I’m talking about here is continuing to make spending time outside a focus no matter the season. It’s about building my summer around spending time in nature, where it’s not an after thought at all, but a major center focus of my plans. And I know that its works because I’ve done that in past summers.
So here’s two steps for making that happen.
First, make a big list of all of the outdoor stuff you’d like to do this summer. In past years my list has included things like visiting a certain number of national parks, or going on certain hikes, or spending a certain number of nights in tents, or even trying a certain ice cream shop. Get really specific with this – what things do you want to explore? Where do you want to visit? What do you want to experience? They don’t have to be far away, epic or cost more than the price of the gas to get there, you just need to write them down.
If you have kids or a spouse, this is a great time to get them involved, too. What do they want to do or experience? Make putting together this summer list a group activity so everyone has something to look forward to.
Next, get out your calendar and make a plan. For some of you putting specific things on your calendar might be too much pressure and make it not that fun. If that’s you, instead of deciding now what you’re going to do, just put on the calendar that you plan to do something outside on a certain date. Then, when the time comes, bust out that summer bucket list and do the things.
And if you are a planner like me, match dates with the list. When will you go get that ice cream? How will you hit your nights in a tent goal?
If you’re having trouble coming up with ways to spend your time outside or fun things to do, I put together a new printable for you – outdoor summer bingo. You might’ve seen our outdoor winter bingo printable late last year, and many of you had a fun time filling it out just like we did at my house. This new one is similar, but with events made focused on this season of pleasant weather. You can get a copy by subscribing to our newsletter – link is in the show notes on HumansOutside.com – or go to humansoutside.com/outdoor-bingo-newsletter. If you already receive the Humans Outside newsletter, watch your email Thursday for a link to the new printable.
No matter how you spend your outdoor time – whether it’s cranking on our bingo sheet or just enjoying nature -I want to see it. You can tag your photos on Facebook or Instagram with #HumansOutside365. And of course you can see a photo per day of my time, too, by checking out Humans Outside on Facebook or Instagram. Until next time, we’ll see you out there.