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One Step At A Time: 5 Things To Remember When You Are Just Beginning A Life Of Outdoor Adventure

Welcome to the good life.

By: Anna Redbond + Save to a List

In the social media age we are inundated with jaw-dropping photos of mountain summits, rock face climbs and paddling across pristine lakes. This can be a blessing and a curse – it can inspire us to seek new places and skills, but it can also intimidate us into feeling as if outdoor adventures are beyond our abilities. In reality adventure is very accessible and can take any form, frequency or level that suits you. If you feel like a beginner you are not alone. Whether through a location change, a career change or through the act of starting to learn a new sport or activity, many people are at the beginning stages of outdoor adventure.

I relocated to Utah from Surrey, England several months ago, and feel that I am learning masses about all that the outdoors has to offer. I have always led an active and sport-filled life but until a few years ago I had no experience in mountain adventure. After graduating from university in 2013 I spent the summer as a wrangler at a ranch in Wyoming’s Absaroka Mountains with only modest horseback riding abilities. I was thrown headfirst into early mornings running horses from far off pastures, leading high altitude hikes and building forts with children in the backcountry. Despite the steep learning curve I instantly fell in love with mountain life. I have pursued adventure ever since, but still often feel as though I am leagues behind many fellow explorers. Here are five things I find helpful to remember in moments of doubt:

1. Everyone starts at the beginning.

Even the best climber in the world had to start at the bottom of the rock with no experience. Every single adventurer has to start from scratch and progress until they get to where they are. It is easy to compare ourselves unfavorably to others, and when doing so we are our harshest critic. It is important to keep perspective and give ourselves credit for our own progression and experiences.

2. Progress has its ups and downs.

No matter how much passion you have, every outdoor activity comes with a learning curve that is far from linear. I am four months into learning to rock climb and four years into horseback riding and I’m still constantly learning in both. I still have days when I feel great and days when I feel hugely frustrated and as if I have taken a step backwards rather than forwards. This is totally normal and is part of the ride!

5 Ways You Can Choose To Be Wild Every Day | Photo: Nick Tort

3. Don’t be afraid to fall.

This can be taken literally or metaphorically and both are true! Even the most prepared and well-equipped adventurer will face mishaps, accidents and literal falls. My first day on the job in Wyoming saw me thrown from the back of a nervous horse into a fast-flowing river, which actually ended up being one of the biggest boosts of confidence I’ve had to date. I learnt that I can handle myself in the face of most things that come my way. Most falls aren’t as dramatic, but the message is the same.

4. Ask for help from friends.

Whatever your chosen outdoor activity is, you probably have a friend - or a friend who knows a friend – who can help you learn more. Asking questions and learning from people you know is a great way to get better at something, and there’s a lot to be said for the old saying: “there are no stupid questions”.

5. The internet and social media are wonderful resources.

Trawling through social media and seeing photos of other people outdoors can give even the best of us pangs of adventure envy and bring about self-doubt or feelings of inferiority. The good news, though, is that social media and the internet both also contain a wealth of knowledge that can help you along the way. There are countless groups and online pages dedicated to adventure exploring and it can be a great way to seek out knowledge, advice and even adventuring allies. Social media can definitely be used to our advantage.

Beginning a life of outdoor adventure can be very intimidating, but the learning process itself is one of the most interesting and exciting journeys out there. Spending more time adventuring in the mountains has already boosted my confidence, taught me immeasurable amounts about myself and given me unforgettable memories.

Cover photo: Hillary + Matt

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