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Sunset in Santiago, Chile

Get Out More! (Tips for City Dwellers who Love the Outdoors)

By Amanda Osborn

I am a city dweller. I love the bustle, the people — all the activity and energy that come with living in a city.  Even so, I also benefit a lot from being in the great outdoors. There is so much fun to be had outside – hiking, camping, running, skiing… The list seems endless. What’s more, my body and mind are energized and refreshed when I take the time to be outside. Here are some tips for getting outside and making nature a part of your life – even as a city girl:

  1. Go with friends 

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    Adventures outside are always more fun with people you love. When I have someone to go with, it’s much easier and more enjoyable to get outside. A trick that I often use is to replace a typical lunch date or happy hour with friends with my favorite outdoor activity. Instead of catching up over a latte or drinks, I always try to suggest we catch up while hiking nearby trails.

    Getting out on the trails gets both my friends and me a chance to refresh our bodies and our brains in these beautiful mountains and still be able to catch up.If you can’t seem to get your friends outside with you (and you should definitely try!) find yourself some outdoor enthusiasts! You can find running groups based out of all sorts of outdoor and running shops, “climbing partner needed” postings at your local indoor climbing gym, and outdoor sports meet-ups at MeetUp.com. Women’s Wilderness is always hosting awesome events where you can meet other women who appreciate nature as much as you do, too (https://www.womenswilderness.org/events/). Be brave and you may just meet your next new adventure buddy!

  2. Commute outside

    If you are fortunate enough to live in a place where you can walk or ride to work, DO IT! It is a great way to transition between work and home. When I can ride to work, it helps me get my mind in gear to focus before a shift, then clear IMG_3358_zps994a8512 - Version 4my mind and let it go at the end of the day.  I pack a change of clothes and leave a small bag at work with some make-up and a washcloth to help me get cleaned up and ready for the day.

    This tip comes with a caveat, of course: If you are going to ride a bike to work, please be safe. Always wear a helmet. Wear lights on your front and back. Look up the safest route, preferably with bike lanes (Google Maps does a decent job of marking out the bike lanes when they’re available). Follow traffic laws and use traffic signals. Take the time to learn how to fix a flat.

  3. Get inspired and empowered

    So you need to learn how to fix that flat, huh? Take a class! Learn what you need to feel confident when you get outside. Always wanted to try kayaking? Fly fishing? Learn the local flora and fauna? Outdoor shops, local libraries, recreation centers, and community colleges are great places to learn something fun and new that can be a springboard to your next outdoor adventure.

    I also find that media can be extremely powerful at inspiring me to get outside.  Many people, including myself, have a tradition start every ski season by watching the latest Warren Miller Ski film. Why? Because it gets me excited and inspired to get back on the mountain.  I follow Instagram handles and read blogs that show photographs and tell stories of outdoor adventurers and beautiful landscapes (@womenswilderness … so good!). These little things light a spark in me and remind me to think beyond the traffic and office buildings and computer screens of city life. They inspire me to get out and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.

  4. Make a plan and execute 

    When you live in the city, it’s not always easy to get outside. There’s no hiking trail or bike path right outside my front door.  It can take some time and planning, but the experience of enjoying all the wonderful things that nature has to offer is certainly worth it. Make a bucket list of outdoor adventures, big and small, that you want to accomplish. Start crossing things off the list. It gets easier! City life and outdoor adventures can be beautifully balanced.

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About the Author:

Amanda is registered nurse and outdoor enthusiast who lives in the heart of Denver. She works with spinal cord and brain injury patients at Craig Hospital. If she’s not rocking the night shift, she can probably be found with a cup of coffee either scheming or achieving her latest adventure. She enjoys hiking, camping, traveling (especially in Latin America), and salsa dancing.

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