I consider myself to be a woman in the outdoors. I’m not an Instagram rock climber. Or an ambassador for Cotopaxi. Or dressed head to toe in Patagonia products.
I don’t live out of my car (yet) and I don’t spend every weekend doing photo shoots with a backdrop of red rock with my circle of bearded, chiseled friends.
In fact I spend a lot of my time inside, in front of a computer. I love Netflix and mac n cheese and spending entire days in bed.
But I still consider myself a woman in the outdoors. Because I get outside and the outside gives me a voice. The outside helped me heal and brought my joy.
I don’t get to hike everyday but when I do hike, I feel empowered. I feel the muscles in my legs getting me over the ridge, up to the summit, down into the valley. I remember that eating food gives me the energy to set up camp, to pump my water clean, to wake up at sunrise. That dieting means I don’t get to the viewpoint because I’m too dizzy or lightheaded. That being fit isn’t how many kilos I can lift in the gym but if I can make it up that next hill.
I don’t get to scuba dive everyday but when I do, I remember that the world is so much bigger than I can even imagine. That there is so much of humanity and the Earth that is not out to harm me. In the calm of the blue I can think about things that have happened to me, things that I have chosen, the endless possibilities of my life.
I don’t get to kayak everyday but when I do I am reminded of teaching the next generation to value the outdoors. Of the beautiful moments when the silence of the river is broken by your paddle and the splash of a turtle joining the murky waters. I am reminded that there is joy in sharing a proper paddle grip with a 10 yr old. That there is strength in hauling canoes off a rack with your female coworker.
I consider myself a woman in the outdoors because I see the beautiful female minds that are changing the landscape of the outdoor industry. I see them and I hear them and I am impossibly inspired by their confidence and strength. I see them help each other to the summit. I see them finding passion in their jobs. I see them create wilderness therapy programs. I see them doing things they were always told not to do because they are a woman and it’s too dangerous.
Women in the outdoors are advocating louder, hiking farther, and creating an inclusive space that I strive to be more present in. They are Forces of Nature.
Get outside. Listen to the trees. Find your power in your body and see all the incredible things you are capable of. Just as you are.
Inspired by REI and their Force of Nature Campaign. Check out stories of incredible women doing incredible things on www.rei.com
Also by the incredibly inspiration podcast SheExplores and the voices of the women that have helped drive me through my time in Bali and my anxiety about the future.