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Friday, February 23, 2024

College 101: Outdoor Travels

Experts, I have some travel advice to ask of you. I love taking vacations, but I’ve never done what I’d consider a true “outdoor vacation.” Sure, I’ve hung out outside on vacation--I’ve been on beach vacations like everyone else--but I never felt like I really experienced nature, outdoor sports, or other staples of those hip, outdoorsy vacations that everyone seems to be taking these days. So I’m wondering: how would you suggest I get started? I’m not super athletic and don’t rock-climb or hike or anything, so I’m a little lost.

Vacations are good for you--especially if you take them outdoors! Research tells us that taking some time to ourselves to kick back and relax is healthy and can boost our productivity, and we also know that outdoor time is likely good for us--even if we discount the proven and positive effects of exercise, which can, of course, accompany outdoor vacations.

So what can you do to take an outdoor vacation? Well, it’s possible that you’re overthinking things. You don’t need to be “outdoorsy” by nature to find fun outdoor activities while you’re on vacation. For instance, you say you’ve spent time on the beach but haven’t experienced outdoor sports. Well, why not? Why not decide to surf Hawaii instead of just sitting on Hawaiian beaches? All you have to do is sign up for the many outdoor activities that are available right near the posh resorts and less “outdoorsy” attractions.

Perhaps you think of more inland attractions as more “outdoorsy” —the woods, the lakes and rivers, and so on. Well, get out there! It’s not all wilderness, even in the most beautiful and remote locations. If you choose to go experience North Bend, OR, you’ll find stunning natural scenery--but you’ll also find casinos, resorts, hotels, and a host of other attractions. You can easily dip your toe into the waters of outdoor vacations without committing fully to a life-changing backpacking trip, you know!

Why not start with a hotel reservation near a National Park? Why not take a road trip through the more rural areas of your country? Just get a reliable vehicle (make sure it’s been checked by a trusted mechanic, advise the experts who run an automotive & diesel technology college in NY), make some reservations, and take off: you’ll find that there are plenty of ways to see nature and get in some outdoor time without having to know your back-country survival skills by heart.

Starting with these simple steps, you can then begin to explore the sorts of outdoor activities that you think might appeal to you. You say you don’t hike, but why? You can begin with short nature trails without major elevation changes. Hiking is just walking in nature, after all, and there are plenty of hiking trails out there that are appropriate for all skill levels.

Of course, there are plenty of resources that you can take advantage of if and when you feel that you want to get more into outdoor sports and outdoor living. There are websites and magazines for outdoor enthusiasts, lots of message boards, and experts employed at outdoor apparel and gear shops all over the country. But the best way to get started in going outside on vacation is just to go!

“Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.” — Wallace Stevens

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