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Exploring the Natural World: Activities in the Great Outdoors

Most of us spend our days either hard at work in a corporate cubicle, surrounded by four walls of greyish blue and staring into a glowing computer screen, or relaxing at home, decompressing after the day we’ve been through. The most exposure to the outdoors most of us get is when we’re walking to our cars, bathed in sunlight for a brief moment before we shut the car door and drive to our workplaces.

And that pattern was established for many of us BEFORE the pandemic struck, forcing us all indoors for lengthy periods of time, cutting us off from treasured social environments and oft-frequented entertainment venues. Nowadays, with the COVID-19 virus still mutating and spreading like wildfire, most of us keep to ourselves, relying on technology to fill in the gaps of our pandemic-adapted lifestyles so we can continue to function in the midst of this global disaster.

Though these adaptations enable us to keep earning paychecks and keep roofs over our heads, they are also causing unprecedented levels of mental illness among people who haven’t been outside in months, even leading to a condition scientists are calling pandemic brain. While we have to live like this while it’s unsafe to go out, we were not built for living indoors all the time, surrounded by screens and little else.

If you’ve found that any of the above describes you, you may be in for a good old-fashioned getaway into the wilds of Mother Nature, a trip meant to get you out of the pandemic headspace and into a carefree, natural setting.

These three activities can be as private, or as public, as you desire, being situated outside and being activities that you can pursue by yourself or with friends and family. Here are a couple of activities you can plan to give yourself a safe vacation in an all-natural setting; phones and tablets are highly discouraged.

Camping

If you find yourself with a bit of free time, perhaps with a weekend off or even the ability to take longer, you may want to consider getting away and having yourself a little camping trip. You can camp just about anywhere, so long as you bring the requisite equipment and make sure that the area you’re going to occupy for a few days isn’t private property. Research government-owned camping sites near you, as these will be most likely to be cleared of harmful wildlife and supervised by forest rangers. Research the area thoroughly to make sure that you are aware of the kinds of wildlife that frequent the area and what to do when you encounter more dangerous wildlife, such as bears or cougars.

You’ll also need some basic camping gear, such as a tent that can accommodate your party, bug spray, food rations (and perhaps a portable stove if you’re feeling extra), and the like. You can also pair your camping trip with other outdoor activities, such as hiking, to give yourself an extra dose of outdoor adventure.

Fishing

If you’re looking for a little less Gary Paulsen action and something a little more relaxing, planning a fishing trip may be exactly what you’re looking for. Fishing can be as arduous or as relaxing as you want it to be, depending on the type of game you’re hunting and the kind of environment you choose to foster amongst your companions. You can choose to make fishing with your friends into a competition, or you can choose to sit back, pop a few beers, and talk about life as the sun goes down.

Fishing also has a much lower cost of entry than camping, as all you’ll need is a starter rod, a tackle kit with varying lures to get you started, and a location where fishing is permitted.

Depending on the season, you may want to also try tubing, canoeing, or kayaking, as these water sports also provide healthy exercise while getting you out of the cubicle. Hiking is also an option for a more Nathan-Drake-esqué outdoor adventure. Whatever you choose to spend your time doing, make sure you get some quality time outdoors; you’ll find that your mental health and your overall well-being will improve significantly.

Last Updated on December 22, 2021

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