Here are 7 Simple Ways to Get Outdoors More
Whatever your beat, spend more time outdoors and immerse yourself in nature.
Whether you're a seasoned hiker and experienced camper, or new to the game of adventure and exploration, sometimes getting outdoors and spending quality time in nature can be challenging. You might live in the concrete jungle slaving away for the man (too 1984? Sorry!) or spend your days working from home - whatever the case may be, there are plenty of ways to get out there and experience the wild. It's far easier than you think. And, if you happen to be a bit rusty and need some inspiration, you can turn to friends, past hiking buds or - now more popular than ever - social media to help you get outdoors.
1. Join a Group
There are a myriad of groups you can join with the sole purpose of getting outdoors more. From hiking and camping, to naturalist and trekking groups, the options are virtually endless. Your hometown may have a small group dedicated to chasing local trails, or a nearby conservation area could have an annual or weekly meetup where outdoors enthusiasts can get together and chill in nature. When you join a group like this, not only are you able to meet new people who love the outdoors just as much as you do - you might even find a new secret spot or hiking area you never knew of before. Groups are also a fun, easy and free way of participating in activities that get you back in nature after a brief (or lengthy) sabbatical away from the outdoors.
2. Social Media Meetups
Thanks to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it's now more easier than ever to meet people online who possess the same interests as you. Photographers, Nat Geo explorers, bloggers and just about everyone else who owns a smartphone have used Instagram to "advertise" their location so they can meet up with locals, get together with fellow creatives or simply reconnect with old friends - all whilst hitting the trails and getting their hands dirty outdoors. If you're traveling to a national park, weaving your way through a new state or driving across provinces, you can meet outdoors enthusiasts willing to see the natural sights with you by posting a shout-out on Instagram or updating your status on Facebook. A great way to meet new people, social media meetups also give photographers and writers a chance to talk with locals and maybe even get a more personalized "tour" of hidden gems.
3. Form a Club
If you've ever been curious about a specific park, a new conservation area or even a patch of berries you saw on your hike once, why not form a club and encourage people to join? Not only does creating your own club give you the opportunity to learn more about your favorite places from others, but you might also bump into an expert or two who can teach your club about edible plants, local flora & fauna, and more. Your club could also help encourage others to get outdoors by offering people a unique group of enthusiasts for an activity they may have yet to find the right group for.
4. Start an Adventure Blog
Much like The Outbound Journal, where you can find helpful tips, tricks, advice and information for your next great adventure, you could start your own blog which details every facet of your hikes, camping and canoe trips, rock climbing ventures, and so on. If you focus your blog on your own locale, you could even attract a decent following of people who live near you and want to participate in the very same adventures you write about! You may even find yourself interviewing local conservationists or ecologists, meeting interesting new people and getting outdoors to document more adventures for your blog.
5. Volunteer at a National Park or Conservation Area
If trail-running groups and blogging aren't your thing, you could try dedicating a few hours of your time each week to volunteering at a nearby park or conservation area. The great thing about volunteering is that it can not only build your resume - or count towards your schooling - but it can also get you outside more, and for a good cause. Most parks will have a volunteer program for both students and/or the general public, and if they host events (like those trail-runs you've been meaning to join) they may often need help organizing and running them. This gives you a chance to learn more about the park whilst also being out in nature. You can hit the trails after a few hours of giving tours, helping to clean up the park or even working on conservation projects.
6. Create your own Community
Similar to forming a club, you could always try your hand at creating your own virtual community of outdoors enthusiasts. I live in a city with over 100 waterfalls, and a very popular group on Facebook started by waterfall enthusiasts allows its members to post directions to nearby falls, route recommendations, information about the difficulty level of hikes, etc. It's a virtual community of people who host events at their favorite spots, meetup for hikes, canoe together at a nearby lake and even take professional photos for local guidebooks and pamphlets. It's so popular, that the group even works with the city council to host a yearly light-up of one of our most notorious waterfalls. This virtual community brings people together by making both big and small adventures accessible for those who want to get outside more. You can create your own and start an outdoor revolution in your city.
7. Try Photography
If photography is a hobby of yours, or you're a professional photographer in need of some new shots, taking your smartphone of DSLR outdoors for a new perspective might just help you get reacquainted with nature. You can post your photos to social media, sell them to local newspapers and publishers, or keep them for yourself - regardless of how you use the shots you take, you'll be giving yourself the opportunity to get outside and into the wilderness more often. There are groups and clubs for both hobby and professional photographers, but your own social media accounts - like Instagram - could spark a pretty big following. Personally, I've followed Instagram accounts of photographers who use their images specifically to get outdoors and encourage others to do so. Who knows, you might just inspire someone's next big adventure outdoors.
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.