Why the Great Outdoors?

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.

Tropical Views From Above

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 av