Why We Opt Outside

One man's take on why we have such a strong desire to be outdoors.


Why is it that so many of us feel such an intense desire to be outdoors? Some refer to it as wanderlust. Some call it exploration or adventure. Others still simply define it as a their weekend- because what else is would you do?


I am currently one of those stereotypical nine to fivers that so many of us that love the outdoors are during the week. Monday through Friday you will only catch me in my polo and slacks as I  sit at my desk working. I am constantly waiting, eager to check off the days as they pass by on the calendar till the weekend is here and the clock strikes 5:00pm. Once that happens everything changes.

Today so many of us live in or near major metropolitan areas. Whether in apartments in high-rise buildings, in a city center, or in suburbs minutes away from a bustling downtown area. Regardless, we are constantly surrounded by human development and a fabricated world. Not to mention more people than any of us can count in most cases. So what is it exactly about nature that seizes our minds, bodies, and souls?

I think a large part of the answer lies in the question itself. This may seem rather simple, but when you think of the word "outdoors" I think it basically says it all right there. The thing about being outdoors, immersed in nature and all it has to offer, is exactly that it is outside of the fabricated environments we have created. Nature in and of itself is a far simpler and more natural environment than the modernized one we surround ourselves with. Things are rather basic and devoid of man-made elements when we are outside. There is no concrete jungle surrounding you, no constant sounds of people, cars, and everyday life when you are visiting a National Park, a State Park, or a wildlife area. In many cases there are not even more people for miles than you can count on one hand. 

Being outdoors and engulfed in nature- whether you are hiking, backpacking, camping, or doing what you love to do- allows our minds to have a break from what has now become the normal in human society of being constantly bombarded with information whether visual, audible, or otherwise. 

Being outdoors simply provides relief from the stress put on us by our environment. It allows us to relax and reach a state of equilibrium where we can be calm in our physical and mental state. It would seem nature is like a medicine for the heart and soul as well as the body and mind. The phenomenal sights we get to see, experiences we get to have, and places we get to visit by being outside are also an enormous part of why many of us opt-outside. But what I am talking about is part of the deeper root of why we have wanderlust. 

So next time you go on and adventure, explore a new place, or are just embracing nature take a moment to think and relish in why you do it and how it makes you feel. It can make every one of those experiences so much more enjoyable and meaningful if you know why you do it.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Mayson AlgeyerExplorer

I am an avid outdoorsman and photographer with an enormous passion for the outdoors and sharing moments worth capturing from my adventures. These are the stories behind my adventures to share with you.