"I think it’s a time for people to pause and be intentional about, How do I spend my time? Who am I with? Where am I going? Am I in the places that matter most to me? Or am I just going with the flow?" – Ben Steele, REI’s Chief Creative Officer
We’re All the “Outdoorsy Types”
This may come as a shock to you, we know, but you don’t always have to go beveraging. Someone please alert the media. Think about it. First date? “Let’s do drinks.” Company outing? “Brewery anyone?” Family reunion? “Who’s bringing the 36-pack?” (Although for the latter, it’s probably warranted.) Now, we’re not saying there’s anything wrong with Tipsy Tuesday, Wine Wednesday, or Thirsty Thursday. Just because we scream work wellness doesn’t mean we’re not indulging in a glass or two, or three, every now again. And drinking isn’t the only culprit of robbing our days off. Enter American consumerism. Memorial Day sales, Labor Day deals, Black Friday, Cyber Monday. You name a holiday, there’s probably some sort of red tag discount associated with it. But why? What happened to a good old adventure? When did a night off or a holiday become solely synonymous with boozing or blowing our paychecks?
Outdoor adventuring company, REI decided to #OptOutside back in 2015, meaning they shut their doors down on Black Friday and gave their employees a day off to go enjoy the great outdoors. Lyft joined their mission last year by offering a $10 discount to passengers going to major parks in 12 cities across the US on Black Friday. Maine retailer, L.L. Bean offers their salaried employees 1-2 days out of the year to get paid to play outdoors. On top of that, they have equipment at what they call their “employee store” that their workers can purchase at heavily discounted rates. For instance, if someone were to return one of their fishing poles or hiking boots, and if those items couldn’t be resold for whatever reason, the employees could then turn around and buy those items at the store. L.L. Bean customer service rep, Christine, mentioned that she purchased a discounted kayak at the employee store and on her Outdoor Experience days, she actually gets paid to go out and kayak. Some Patagonia locations offer employees a 9/80 work schedule, meaning that employees work 9 hours a day Monday-Thursday to have every other Friday off. The idea is that those Fridays can be spent exploring, adventuring, and enjoying time with family and friends.
Sometimes a short walk outside is all you need. Have 50 minutes throughout the day to take a walk in the city? Do it. According to research from Gregory Bratman at Stanford University, walking in an urban environment for 50 minutes is shown to boost your mood and attention span. If you’ve got 90 minutes to kill and a favorite park or nature spot nearby, get out there. Further research from Bratman found that being in nature and out of the urban lifestyle for this period of time “decreases both self-reported rumination and neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex”. So there you have it. Science backed advice suggesting that you and your tush need to get outdoors.
So, even if you don’t work for one of these super outdoorsy, progressive companies, it’s okay. Going for a walk in the park on your lunch break or finding a trail nearby to explore can be just as beneficial as a day spent hiking the Appalachian Trail. There are plenty of options. Check out some of our favorites:
The app for finding your perfect hiking trail. Who said living in a city meant you were confined to the city block?
da Surf Engine
If the land isn’t really your style, try catching a wave with this app for finding your perfect surf spot based on ability, wind condition, surf style, and more.
Think of it like Yelp for outdoor activities. You share your outdoor experiences with others and they share with you in an online platform designed to bring nature lovers together.
If you understand the concept of Pokemon Go, you understand Geocaching. Players hide geocaches, which are small containers, all over the world and attach GPS coordinates to the spots these containers are located in. Users then have to navigate and find these geocaches. It’s basically a modern day treasure hunt.
For fans of kayaking, canoeing, or SUP, check out the GoPaddling app. It’s perfect for finding a location to paddle on the open waters anywhere near you.
Have more great outdoor adventure apps for us? Email your favorites to us over at firstname.lastname@example.org!