How many times this week have you scrolled through your Instagram feed and felt like you weren’t really an outdoorsy person?
Maybe seeing beautiful images of young, often lean, women summiting peaks and surfing waves in well put together outfits leaves you feeling like you don’t ft in.
While these images are meant to be inspiring, they often leave us feeling like we’re too old, too overweight, or too out of shape. We feel like if we’re not a certain age, body type, or fitness level—or if we’re not embarking on grand adventures—that we just aren’t outdoorsy.
If you feel like you don’t fit into the “outdoorsy” category but you still feel that longing to get outside, you’re not alone. Many of the women who join our retreats felt the same way at first.
But I’m here to tell you that there is no “type” of outdoorsy person. Just because you’re in a certain age bracket, have children, or aren’t as in shape as you were a few years ago doesn’t mean you can’t be outdoorsy. You don’t have to backpack for hundreds of miles, scale mountains on the regular, or be super lean to be an outdoorsy person.
The good news is, there are a few simple steps you can take to feel more confident outdoors and get out into nature where you long to be.
Here’s what they are:
Don’t judge yourself for any places you haven’t been yet or things you haven’t done.
It’s so easy to compare yourself to other people on the internet. But comparing yourself to strangers’ lives, their outdoor adventures, how old they are, and what their body looks like is the best way to quickly suck the life out of you.
Often women feel overweight or not fit enough to do the things they see others doing so they don’t do anything at all.
But what if you stopped judging yourself for what you haven’t done and started putting energy towards all the things you want to be doing?
I mentioned Instagram in earlier because it’s the number one place that can make women feel less than. So my tip for you is to unfollow any accounts today that do not inspire and lift you up.
The next time you’re scrolling, notice how you feel. If feelings of jealousy or being less than arise—unfollow immediately. Only engage with people and brands that connect you to the outdoorsy woman you most want to be.
Start small and keep it simple.
If you want to get outdoors more, make the choice do it! You don’t have to scale a huge mountain or go to some ultra-remote location. It can be part of your everyday life.
If you’re like most women in this community, you’re probably juggling a lot. Acknowledge all that you do and set realistic goal for your current lifestyle.
Throughout life, we go through so many seasons. We go through times of being busy with work, having children, starting new jobs, or moving across the country. To hold ourselves to the same activity level as when we were in our 20’s is unrealistic.
If you work in a city, explore a new neighborhood. If you normally walk 3 miles, go an extra half mile today. Instead of your normal evening routine tonight, research an exciting hike or bike ride for the family to do together instead.
The more complicated you make it, the less likely you will be to do it, and the less outdoorsy you will feel. Getting out there on the regular is one of the best things you can do to feel more comfortable embracing that you are in fact an outdoorsy woman.
Make mistakes and be willing to fail.
Things will go wrong in the outdoors; it’s the unpredictability that is Mother Nature. There will be wrong turns, bad weather, and gear forgotten.
So many photos portray a more perfect experience than it actually was (I’m sometimes guilty of this). But honestly, that’s how most outdoor adventures go. Mistakes, imperfections, and epic failures are at the true heart of outdoor adventure.
When your willingness to make mistakes increases, your comfort and confidence in being an outdoorsy woman will grow too.
To help build your confidence in your outdoor skills and willingness to make mistakes, I highly suggest taking a class or going on an adventure with a group of skilled women. Mixed groups are great, but I’ve found over the years that women feel less out of place in women’s only classes and workshops. What’s most important though is that you find a group where you feel comfortable and not intimidated.
Remember that you are part of nature.
We are truly part of all this beauty and connected to nature. By tuning in to this connection we become aware of our relationship to the trees, stars, moon, lakes, and animals. But it takes time to feel this and a lot of practice.
In my teens and early 20’s much of my time in the outdoors was more about conquering than connecting. My focus was on pushing through, getting from point A to B, and proving myself. It always felt intense and competitive, but I didn’t know any different. I learned about the outdoors from dudes and ladies who had only also ever learned from guys as well.
As I got older, I started to notice that, even though I was getting somewhere on my outdoor adventures, I was never really being anywhere.
Slowly, I started to try a different way of being—one where I could connect and learn from nature. At first it was really uncomfortable and so different from what I had been taught, but deep down I knew it was the more nourishing path.
Sure, I used to climb a lot harder, ski a lot faster, and hike a lot further. Now, I don’t really care about any of that.
Today, my approach to the outdoors is to appreciate, connect, and savor. This is the same approach that’s used on all Quiet Adventures.
Do we need to get somewhere on our retreats? Absolutely. But we create a balance between these different ways of being in the outdoors and focus on remembering that we are part of nature.
What it really means to be “outdoorsy”
As you can see, being outdoorsy doesn’t mean you have to look or act a certain way. It’s about taking time to connect to nature, however that looks for you in your life right now. It's about absorbing it and taking its wisdom, strength, and peace with you everyday.