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The thing about getting outside is – it’s easier when it’s warm. I know, rocket scientist here. But stick with me.
If I sound a little different to you today, it’s because once again I am recording far away from my own podcast closet in Palmer, Alaska. This is Humans Outside outdoor diary, the scrappy flight cancelation version.
That’s because we spent the last week in glorious, perfect, wonderful, tropical Maui. To step out of that airplane from Alaska and into 75 degrees fahrenheit and sunny — I can’t even describe how glorious that felt. It was like actual heaven on earth. And we spent a whole week in that based at an Air BnB in Kihei, migrating from the pool to the beach across the street and then back to the pool deck. I read three novels. I saw the starlight from Maui. And it was a heck of a thing, getting on a place in Anchorage with 7 degree temperatures and off of it to a tropical paradise. I thought seriously about not coming back at all — or as serious as a person would think of that if they left behind their dogs, house and responsibilities for vacation.
I should’ve thought about it more seriously, though, because on the way home we traveled through Seattle. And if you know anything about the recent weather in Seattle, you know they’ve had a lot of snow when they rarely have any, and it wreaked havoc on their airport. Our flight, first delayed an hour, made it to de-icing, waited even longer, received its de-icing spray and then … was sent back to the gate. The crew had hit their FAA safety-based flight time cap. Flight, canceled. I booked a hotel as quickly as I could, shelled out $45 for an uber there — just 3 miles down the street — and arrived with my family and no baggage to see a line stretched through the building. For reasons I still cannot comprehend, the Holiday inn Express in Tukwila simply couldn’t handle checking people in, and it took, no kidding, two hours to check in those 8 people.
I don’t think I slept more than 4 hours, all told, only to get back to the airport to find that our next flight was canceled — and rebooked for a full 13 hours later. And so here I am, recording for you on location in Dupont, Washington, where we traveled by rental car to visit our close friends and burn the day away in the good company of people we love, not uncomfortable and in face masks at the airport.
I tell you all of that because I want you to know why it sounds like I am recording this outside. It sounds like that because I am, in fact, recording this outside. It is 40 degrees and raining. And yes, when I didn’t know how we’d spend our day I was wondering how I was going to get my outside time in with no warm clothes to speak of and sneakers and a foot of snow on the ground. Answer? Come to your friend’s house, sit on the porch with coffee and a blanket.
Now, back to Maui. Guys, I forgot how easy it is to get outside when you’re warm and happy. Counting minutes? No need! The time just slips by. But there are still plenty of challenges if you look for them, and last week mine came in the form of a cliff jump.
When I first saw a note in a tour book about a popular cliff jump spot on Maui, I knew two things: one, I did not want to jump off a 25-foot cliff. Two, that I must, therefore, go and jump off a 25-foot cliff. This is not about just doing something kind of scary as it is about the many side benefits of doing challenging things outdoors, especially when they are outside your comfort zone. In a few weeks you’ll hear a full-length episode with Cordele Glass, a positive psychologist who is an expert in creativity through nature. That interview with him and a coaching session I did with him thereafter challenged me so much that I’ve been subconsciously hunting for challenging things outside that I can use to help me face creative challenges inside. And so we have: jumping off a 25-foot cliff.
It was about 200 meters to the cliff from the beach. We swam out and climbed up. Luke jumped without a problem, and I stood there with my knees quaking until I simply closed by eyes and stepped off. And it was scary and sort of fun and I didn’t die. So, after a short break, I went to do it again — which I also definitely did not want to do. This time, however, as I went to climb out of the water I noticed a variety of black crabs on the rock, which I decided are basically spiders of the sea — and I HATE spiders –and it took a lot for me to even get out of the water. Once there, though, stepping off took less convincing.
Which brings me to this: even when you get comfortable, like being OKish with jumping off the cliff, you’ll still find new facets to challenge you, like finding spiders of the sea covering rocks. And that’s just how it is.
On our trip I packed my new Klean Kanteen twist-straw top water bottle, which is a part of our winter Get Out Gear Guide. Guess what? It’s great gear no matter where you are. Alaska? Great. Maui? Great. I love this thing. We’re running a giveaway on Humans Outside right now and you can score one. Check in the show notes for a link — the giveaway runs through Feb. 17.
I have some hopes that I will, eventually, get home and no longer be sitting here in Washington State wishing I was taking a nap in my own bed. I guess you can look back on that saga via Instagram. And of course, you can share your own outdoor time with me through #humansoutside365. Until next time – and hopefully when we’re back in Alaska — Ill see you out there.