I'll be the first to admit I am not an “outdoors person.” I don't desire to “get back to nature” in an effort to center myself. I think bugs are disgusting. I think the woods are filthy. And, there always seems to be way more manual labor when I'm doing something outside. But, those aren't the reasons that the outdoors are terrible.
The reason the outdoors are terrible is because they are unpredictable.
Let me give you an example from my own life. My wife really likes to go hiking. Bearing in mind the first paragraph of this post, you can understand that I would not be the biggest fan of doing such an activity. But, she really enjoys it, so one weekend we took a couple's retreat to a local state park to “be one with nature.”
Now, I'll admit it really wasn't all that bad. The lodge we stayed in was very nice and had a great fireplace. As a side note, though I don't like the outdoors, I do love the feel of a rustic cabin. The wood beams, the roaring fire and the wonderful view of nature (from inside) is very relaxing. If I could only get that within the city limits I'd be set. But, I digress…
She and I decided to go on what was considered a moderately rugged trail. I really had no idea what this meant as I don't really do this much. Or ever for that matter. But, I love my wife so off we went on this great adventure.
Because, the trail was located in a state park, so it was well taken care of. They had built some steps to get down into the walking area. Once there, we were walking on dirt, tree limbs, and the occasionally natural made set of stairs. At first, it wasn't too bad. The trail was wide and very clear. But, as we got back into the thick of things, I quickly remembered why I don't do this very often.
Here's the thing: trails are in nature. Nature, at its puriest form, is not man regulated. That means there are wild animals, fallen tree branches, patches of mud where it has rained and so many other obstacles that we came across. My wife is a fantastic sport and very helpful. But, the fact that there wasn't a predictable path to follow made it somewhat difficult.
We walked for a long time and actually enjoyed the time away from the loud city noises. We got to talk a lot, mostly her telling me not to trip over this rock or how far to jump over this puddle. But, all in all, it turn out to be a good day.
So, you might be saying, “Well, that doesn't sound so terrible!” Ok, maybe terrible is a strong word. But, whether you are walking along a trail or just walking along a sidewalk in your neighborhood, one thing is for certain. Being outdoors is unpredictable. Kids leave their bikes out. People park their cars in different place. Dogs do their business at random intervals. Sometimes being in the woods can be less messy, huh?
My point here isn't to tell you to never go outside. My point is to remind you that being outside isn't like being in your house. Inside you can control things. You determine where the couch goes and how far it is away from the TV. And, most importantly, how often it gets moved around. You know where the plates go. You know where the dining room table sits. You know how high the threshold is from the living room to the bedroom is or isn't. It's all under your control. But, being outdoors is a different ball game. Sidewalk are uneven. Tree branches fall wherever they may. Puddles from in peculiar areas and so much more.
But, I'm not suggesting avoiding the outdoors. I'm just suggesting you be aware of this fact when you step beyond the “safety” of your front door. Remember to slow down and walk with caution. Realize that a trail isn't your domain, so you might run into things you hadn't planned. Remember that rain doesn't fall where you want it to and neither does bird droppings. It's true what they say: It's a jungle out there…especially in the jungle.
However, being outside can afford you opportunities you simply can't get inside, even if you are watching the Discovery channel. My wife and I got to experience lots of unique and interesting formations and sights. There was a lot of peace in the woods when we were walking along that trail. The kind of peace you just can't find while sitting in front of a TV for hours on end.
Yes, the outdoors are definitely unpredictable. And, while I will most likely never enjoying being trapped in a tent under the stars, I'll step outside my comfort zone from time to time to experience parts of the world that my internet connection can't give me. And, maybe, just maybe, I'll even enjoy it.
Do you enjoy the outdoors? What are some of your favorite things to do? Let me know in the comments below!