Backyard Voyager


"But what shoes will I wear? Do I need a helmet? How sweaty will I get? What if it's too hard? Do I HAVE to wear clothes?"

This is my internal whining when I set out to adventure in the great outdoors. And I adventure often. So this petulant toddler within is annoying. And exhausting. If you've ever seen the show Portlandia, you may remember the well intentioned, but ill equipped couple who spent hours preparing for a 30 minute Segway ride through their subdivision. I have a gift for making things harder than they have to be sometimes.

But without fail, every time I hit a trail on foot or by bicycle, I feel liberated. That same internalized child that was throwing a temper tantrum, is now excited to be alive in the euphoric way that only children can be. This endorphin high allows me to believe that I am the Christopher Columbus of my outdoor adventure. I am trailblazing my corner of the world! Seeing the blazes that came before mine doesn't dampen the feeling that I am DISCOVERING! I saw goats (read; exotic wildlife.) I got muddy (read; traversed difficult terrain.) I struggled an inordinate amount with a wonky bike chain (read; overcame extreme odds.) And that's the thing about "out there." The wild blue yonder has something to give you. Even if it's only as wild as your backyard, it can coax out the side of us that wants to put a flag in something. It really doesn't matter so much if you're the first one there. It's the act of seeing something new, or something old in a new way that makes it feel discovered.

I could have done many things with the last two hours, but I chose exploration. Be bigger than the voice of procrastination. Go outside. The sense of discovery, struggle, the ability to overcome, even on microscopic scale, has this stealthy way of highlighting an often hidden part of who we are.

So go Christopher Columbus the hell outta some shit.



Amber Gruber