Disliking new things doesn’t make you weak or scared — it makes you normal. But the good news is that nature is the perfect tool for teaching us to be OK with the new and uncomfortable. Why is that? And how has it impacted Amy? In this week’s Outdoor Diary, Amy talks about why heading outside makes it easier to try new things in all parts of life, plus the new thing she’s finally working on.

[:26]: Life is full of trying new things

[:58]: Amy, the Queen of Avoidance

[1:37]: Avoidance is limiting

[3:08]: Skate skiing

[5:53]: Where to find Humans Outside

Getting outside with kids looks pretty easy and fun if you’re basing your expectations on social media photos. Delightfully grubby kids frolic through a meadow near a perfectly set-up campsite, and zero people are throwing a temper tantrum or muddling through a poor night of sleep. Also, they all look warm.

But of course that’s not the full picture. Getting to that moment required overcoming all sorts of challenges from mindset to using the appropriate gear. And when you think about getting your own kids out for adventure, you might see those challenges and simply feel, well, tired. I mean who wants to deal with a crying kid in the middle of nowhere when you could deal with a crying kid in the comfort of your home instead?

Today’s guest, Heather Balogh Rochfort, has made a lifestyle and career out of getting herself out for adventures and, since the birth of her daughter, doing so with her whole family. Now she offers advice for parents who want to overcome those obstacles in practical, normal-person ways.

[2:46] Heather Balogh Rochfort’s favorite outdoor space

[3:32] How Heather became someone who likes to go outside

[7:31] Going from college to total vagabond

[12:02] Figuring out that transition from adventure single person to parent

[15:06] How she found freedom from the “should” of the baby years

[17:37] How outside time with kids reality is different from expectations

[23:23] How to avoid feeling like you’re forcing your kids to do stuff outside they don’t want to do

[25:57] The challenges to getting kids outside and how to overcome them

[28:06] How to even afford gear for kids

[31:22] This is a bigger problem than gear

[34:00] What mindset has to do with it

[38:12] Why categories of fun matter

[39:14] Tips for getting your family outside and overcoming those challenges

[47:01] Heather’s favorite and most essential outdoor gear

[50:39] Heather’s favorite outdoor moment

This month Amy hit 1,600 days in a row spending at least 20 consecutive minutes outside. Along the way she learned two important lessons about what happens when you encounter something you don’t like. Hear what she learned on this week’s Outdoor Diary podcast episode.

[:25]: 1600 days outside

[2:16]: Some things you only know in discomfort

[ 2:38]: What Amy is most proud of

[4:05]: Change will come

[5:58]: The Humans Outside Challenge

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

One of the things that can hold people — adults, kids, families and otherwise — back from purposefully spending time outside is the idea that “nature” looks like something other than what is right outside their front door. If it doesn’t look like a National Park, does it really count as “nature?”

The truth, of course, is that “nature” is whatever is in the fresh air right outside your front door. But can you help yourself and your family see, appreciate and enjoy that, especially when you think parts of it — bugs, weather, etc. — are things you really don’t like?

Today’s guest Zenovia Stephens has made a mission of helping kids and families get outside near her home in Alabama. Founder of the nonprofit Black Kids Adventures, Zenovia and her family, known as the Black Adventure Crew, work to help Black families get outside while working to increase representation in the outdoor community.

[3:19] Zenovia Stephen’s favorite outdoor space

[4:37] How Zenovia became someone who likes to go outside

[8:11] How Black Adventure Crew and Black Kids Adventures got started

[9:17] Common misconceptions about heading outside

[11:10] Do people think nature has to be something that it isn’t?

[15:50] How she got to liking nearby nature

[19:23] How do you create a mindset to welcome discomfort?

[29:00] The trick of using our kids to get us outside

[40:30] How people can connect with Black Kids Adventures

Outside is outside, but sometimes it’s more nature-rich than others. Does that matter? In this episode of the Humans Outside Outdoor Diary Amy contemplates where her family just spent a week of vacation, and why its decided lack of nature-scapes was totally fine.

[:26] Is all outside time created equally?

[1:29] Amy’s actual vacation

[3:07] Different types of nature

[4:45] Taking nature as we find it

[5:29] Where to find Humans Outside

When we talk about going outside every day, we usually mean in the daytime. But what if heading outside after dark for a little stargazing is just the boost your outdoor habit needs?

Vicky Derksen, host of the Night Sky Tourist podcast and a stargazing enthusiast joined us for this episode to talk about something almost completely new to Amy: stargazing. With tips and tricks for how to get into the hobby, this really informative episode is the perfect gateway to helping would-be starwatches step outside at night a little night sky viewing.

[2:39] Vicky Derksen’s favorite outdoor space

[3:53] How Vicky became someone who likes to go outside

[5:20] What is “light pollution?”

[8:38] How to stargaze close to home

[12:16] What you’re skipping by only going outside during the day

[18:18] What’s the best way to learn the stars?

[23:03] How the stars move

[24:03] Why people don’t want to go out after dark

[26:46] What to wear for stargazing

[30:16] What are “star stories” and why are they important?

[34:30] What are the best ways to learn local star stories?

[37:18] How to get into stargazing

[39:31] Vicky’s favorite and most essential outdoor gear

[41:31] Vicky’s favorite outdoor moment

It’s easy to head outside when the weather is great. It’s even easy to plan to be outside in future bad weather from a seat on a sunny, warm day. But what do you do when the weather rolls in and, suddenly, you’re faced with having to actually do it? A recent two-day wind storm with gusts up to 75 mph had Amy thinking about this very thing. So how do you make yourself go outside in bad weather? Here’s what she did.

[:26] Things seem easier when the sun is shining

[1:30] Amy’s aversion to wind

[2:48] An unprecedented wind and heading outside anyway

[4:06] Make a plan

[6:32] Where to find Humans Outside

It’s easy to know you want to make a change or even what kind of change you want to make. But how can you create a habit that actually works for you? How do you know the right actions to take to make that habit sustainable long term?

The answer might just be found in mindfulness and knowing enough about who you are and what you need. That understanding can establish a habit that works for you, says our guest, Sarah Hays Coomer.

Sarah is Humans Outside’s unofficial very own habit expert who authored the book The Habit Trip, A Fill-in-the Blank Journey to a Life on Purpose. She’s also a Mayo Clinic and nationally board certified wellness coach, author of the Forbes column Hey, Health Coach and a personal trainer.

[3:39] Sarah Hays Coomer’s favorite outdoor space

[4:50] How Sarah became someone who likes to go outside

[8:45] How to create a new habit

[14:41] Examining yourself to understand what you need

[19:14] What, exactly, is mindfulness?

[22:21] What mindfulness has to do with creating a new habit

[24:57] Can you create a new habit without mindfulness?

[28:35] The important difference between rules and power-over

[34:08] How mindfulness can impact a non-mindful habit

[40:00] Sarah’s favorite and most essential outdoor gear

[43:44] Sarah’s favorite outdoor moment

The New Year offers a natural starting point for launching a new challenge — and has Amy reflecting on all the ways heading outside daily has changed her life. Now registering for the Humans Outside 365 Challenge can offer you a dose of extra motivation to make it happen.

[:27] Outdoor memories

[:54] How Amy has changed from her time outside

[3:10] Why getting outside is tough

[3:39] Humans Outside Challenge kits

[4:28] Where to find Humans Outside