It can be intimidating for anyone who’s not a hardcore outdoor athlete to venture into the world of outdoor activities. Why? Because nothing seems geared toward beginners. With all the GoPro videos showing epic jumps, and all the photos taken from sheer cliffs in sub-freezing conditions, it’s tempting to think there’s no place for people who are new to the outdoors. With so many websites and magazines focused on extreme activities, how and where will newbies fit in? In two words: “very well” and “everywhere.”
Nobody begins their exploits as a hardcore outdoor athlete. It took years of experimenting to get there, and even the most adventurous and successful of souls still suffer through cold and injury. Folks, it’s OK to not be elite. The outdoors is for everyone, regardless of level. And frankly, most of the people who seem so extreme don’t even aspire to be an “athlete.” They simply love the outdoors and spend as much time enjoying it as possible.
When embarking on this adventure, I wasn’t sure what the future held. I was a tech and travel guy! What I did know was that I loved nature’s beauty. That I hated being chilly. That I got cold extremely easily and could take hours to warm-up afterwards.
In my brief time meeting people in the outdoors space, I’ve learned that newbies are not only welcome, but encouraged to participate. I suppose it’s sort of a “pay it forward” concept, with the grizzled veterans teaching the young ‘uns how to engage with nature in new, fun and respectful ways. I’ve learned that people who get cold have myriad options to try to stay warm. (Both a blessing and a curse for someone trying to weed through the chaff.) And I’ve learned that even the loudest voices in social media are open to whispering words of advice and encouragement.
Unlike many industries I’ve covered for the past 15 years, the outdoor industry seems to truly be a group of peers. Of friends. Of drinking buddies. And above all, a group of people, companies and organizations who value nature and are finding ways both to enjoy their time in it while preserving its beauty for future generations.
And for newbies like us. If you’ve been reluctant to get outdoors because of the cold, if you have Raynaud’s and think the outdoors aren’t in your future, you need to understand that the outdoors are in everyone’s future. The outdoor community of today is doing what it can, from environmental campaigns to helping newbies find their way, to make sure of that. And no, you don’t have to be a hardcore outdoor athlete to participate. In fact, in some respects it may be better if you aren’t. Nature’s wonder can seem even the more majestic when it’s appreciated by someone new. Like you.