Why the Great Outdoors?

April 18, 2017

When I was in middle school, maybe 12- or 13-years-old, my parents took us to the Philippines for a vacation.  We were living in Tokyo at the time, so it's wasn't too far from home. After a few days in Manila, we flew on a tiny island hopper to a small island in the tropical South China Sea.



As we approached the island where we'd be landing, I stared out the window in complete awe of the blues the ocean was producing. Every shade imaginable seemed represented. The water was so clear, I felt like I could see the fish swimming around the reef! Suddenly, I felt tears well up in my eyes.  I was so moved by the incredible beauty beneath me that I was moved to tears.    


What is it about the Great Outdoors that has such a pull on me?  I commonly tell people I didn't really "discover" it until the early 2000's, but when I think back over my life, nature has always held sway over me. The travel bug bit me at a very young age; probably because I moved every year-and-a-half or so and lived in Asian for 3.5 years.  But it is true that I didn't discover land-based adventures until I was well into adulthood.


Once I began hiking and mountain biking, I was pretty hooked, but felt like I could be happy being your average weekend warrior.  Meanwhile, I kept feeling lost in my career choices and moved to the next best thing every time an opportunity presented itself. I thought I was just incapable of settling down into one career.  And I was, because I was ignoring the pull. 


Then I discovered backpacking, and felt that same tear-jerking awe at the scenery around me. It was after my first backpacking trip that I started to feel a stronger pull towards working in the outdoors, but for the life of me I couldn't think of how.  And so I gave up. Again and again.   


Today, I feel pushed, pulled, and downright shoved towards a career in this industry.  And I believe I am perfect for it, and it for me.  


I watch nature programs like a fiend, and yes, I commonly cry while viewing the amazing spectacles of nature represented in those docuseries.  I dream about hiking, backpacking and other outdoor activities constantly.  I'm always scheming and planning for my next trip. I started a Meetup group for female backpackers in my area. I have so many adventure and travel bucket lists that I can't keep track: American Adventures, European Adventures, Backpacking Trips, Cultural Trips, Tropical Trips, Bike Touring Trips, Trips with My Husband, Trips with my Son.  It never ends and I add to my lists regularly.


Was I born this way? Did I become this way over time? Does it even matter how or why? I am here.  This is me; this is one of my passions.  I so badly want to Roar Outdoors.

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Copyright Liz Claflin 2017