When you browse through social media, everyone always looks like they’re having the time of their lives hiking, camping, or backpacking. But then, sometimes when you try to do it yourself, your experience doesn’t seem to match up. None of us really feature those times when our outdoor adventures don’t go as planned.
But we always learn from those failures, and the trick is just to do our best to get better for the next time around. If you’ve had a rough outdoor outing in the past, here are five tips to enjoy your time outdoors!
There’s nothing worse than being unprepared when inclement weather moves in. No matter what the forecast says, there’s always a greater-than-zero probability that the weather changes while you’re outdoors. Being prepared for those changes is the first step to enjoying your time outdoors.
When it comes to packing, one item that should always be with you is a quality rain jacket. Even during the driest summer months, a rain jacket goes with you everywhere. Look for a lightweight model that won’t add much weight to your pack. But make sure it’ll also keep you dry if it does start to rain. You’ll have a hard time being a happy camper if you have to plod back to the trailhead once you’re soaking wet.
Use It to De-Stress
When you sit down and evaluate it, it’s kind of shocking to realize how little time we spend outdoors on a daily basis. Many times, we go from home to our car to our office back to our car and then return to the comfort of our home. There is very little time spent outdoors baked into our daily routine. When that routine becomes overly stressful, spending time outdoors is a great way to break the cycle.
If you’re going to use time outdoors to de-stress, you’ll need to take a few critical steps. First, make sure you leave your phone behind or, at least, turn it on airplane mode while you’re outdoors. Second, spend some time just sitting, breathing, and watching the symphony of life unfold before you. If you’re hiking, paying attention to your breathing can actually be quite meditative and make you forget that you’re exerting yourself physically.
Don’t Cram Outdoor Time Into Your Schedule
If you’re super busy but you know that spending time outdoors is supposed to be healthy for you, the worst thing you can do is cram time outdoors into an already busy schedule. Instead of being present in nature and opening your eyes to the natural world, you’ll be constantly worrying about what’s next on your schedule, what tasks you’ve fallen behind on, or what business meetings you need to prepare for in the coming days.
If you really want to enjoy your time outdoors, you need to have plenty of time to immerse in nature. I’ve made this mistake far too many times and I can tell you from experience that worrying about what’s coming next is the easiest way to compromise your experience outdoors.
Use It As An Opportunity To Meet New People
A surefire way to enjoy your time outdoors is to share it with others! If you have a go-to hiking buddy or adventure partner, it’s a blessing to have someone by your side that knows you and your preferences for outdoor adventure. But if you don’t have someone close to you to bring along outdoors, you can also use it as an opportunity to meet new people.
Many cities and towns have groups that meet regularly to enjoy time outdoors. These groups can be focused on kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, or anything else you fancy. If you join one of these groups, you’ll not only get the individual benefits of spending time outdoors, but you’ll also be able to meet new people that you’ll be able to plan future adventures with.
Hire A Guide!
As an experienced backpacker and kayak guide myself, I was averse to hiring a guide for a long time, even when I traveled to new places. And then I came to the realization that hiring a guide significantly adds to your outdoor experience, especially when you’re traveling to a new place. A guide will not only make you feel safe from whatever dangers you might perceive in that new place, but he or she will also teach you about the uniqueness of that place.
Whether it’s learning a place’s history, flora and fauna, or local secrets, a guide will provide information that you really can’t get anywhere else. It’s hard to find a replacement for the expertise a guide brings to the table. In addition, your guide will often worry about all the logistics of transportation and food preparation so that you can relax into your experience and truly enjoy your time outdoors!
For me, time outdoors offers tremendous benefits to both my physical and mental well-being. I get to disconnect from technology and the highly scheduled lifestyle that it’s so easy to fall into sometimes. The trick to truly enjoy your time outdoors is to really allow yourself to be present during that time. Let the worries and concerns fall away and marvel at nature’s beautiful creations.