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Confessions of a Mom who likes to "think outside"

I love to get outside and play.  Camping, hiking, geocaching, canoeing, skiing – they’re all words I use for real.  Just like this: “We’re going camping next week!” “We were hiking on the weekend and got eaten alive by bugs.” “I love geocaching so much, I have a geo-license plate.”  “The spring skiing this year rocked!”

Sometimes, I can even use all of the words in one sentence.  “We’re going skiing this weekend, and we’re also planning our summer camping trips so we can go hiking and canoeing and geocaching in an exciting new place!”  I’m pretty sure I really did use that sentence back in February. 

If you've read any of my other posts or checked out my Facebook page, you'll notice I blog a lot about doing stuff outdoors.  I have a friend who calls me a tree-hugger. I have another friend who thinks I'm kind of adventerous.

But really, it’s all relative.  You see, my adventures tend to be more of the weekend-warrior or the week-or-two-here-or-there variety.  

Our family camping trips these days involve a trailer. We used to do a lot of tent camping until we had a massive tent failure a few years ago and  - quite frankly – we got older and tired of waking up with aching backs. Since I'm being really honest here, I'll also confess that we also got tired of the amount of work tent camping involved with a young child and a dog who doesn't like to be dirty.

I haven’t climbed any mountains.  I did hike down Table Mountain in Johannesburg, South Africa once. It took me hours. HOURS. And I was terrified. TERRIFIED. And I the muscles in my legs didn’t work properly for days afterwards. DAYS. I vowed I would never, ever hike down a mountain again. That was 11 years ago and I've kept that vow.

I can easily hike for hours.  But I’ve never done it with a big pack with all my gear for a multi-day trek. These days, I’m happy when – hiking as a family – we get more than 30 minutes on the trail without any major complaints (minor, constant complaints are standard) from the child or our poor, old dog refusing to take one. More. Step.

I'm a bit of a chicken when I ski.  The black diamond runs at our local hill are probably equal to the beginner runs at the big ski resorts in British Columbia - and I haven't even dared to try them.  Yup. My eight year-old daughter is a braver skier than I am.

When I paddle a canoe I hit the gunwales with my paddle and rarely make it across the lake in a straight line.

But here's the thing.  I love to get outside and play, and have been doing just that for many years.  "Thinking outside" has seeped into my life in ways that I don't even notice until someone else kindly points out that I'm a "tree hugger" or that my family likes "exotic" places when we go camping.  Thinking outside IS a lifestyle - a state of mind -  for my little family, even if we can only make it outside on weekends or short trips at a time.

So, I'm NOT the mom you'll read about in adventure/outdoor magazines. You know, the totally buff mom who does amazing back country trips with her kids or practically lives in a caone or on a bike with their babes strapped in safely close to them.  Those moms inspire me and I love reading their stories of adventure, but I know that I am not and will never be like them.

I AM the mom who lives in the 'burbs, weighs a few pounds more than I should and enjoys a bit of chocoalte mixed with reality TV every now and then. I am just like you, or your neighbour, or your sister or your friend.  That is why I share MY stories in this blog.   If I can explore and do stuff, so can you.  And if I can think outside, so can you. 

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