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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. 


  1. Nice post! I'm like you, but we do backpacking trips with our little ones, well two so far ;) Hiking is our thing but we recently added family cycling and learning to climb.

    1. Thanks, Melissa. Cycling is a great family activity. My daughter actually prefers being on her bike over hiking, so I'm thinking it's time to get her to move beyond campground roads and our neighbourhood sidewalks and see how she handles some fairly easy bike trails.

  2. I think this is a great attitude. Any way you get (or "think") outside is a good way. Too many focus on "roughing it" or on elaborate adventures and I often wonder whether that deters them from getting outside more often.

    1. I wonder as well, Preston. That is part of the reason I wrote this post (and have the blog and my FB page). I want other people to explore and get outside, even if it means taking a 20 minute walk around their neighbourhood and noticing the local flora and fauna. Because that 20 walk could be so enjoyable, that it will turn into a 30 minute walk the next time. And then the 30 minute walk will turn into 45 minutes on a local trail. And then we've got them hooked. LOL!

  3. Gayle, there is a reason why I like your blog and like you! You are very much like me. Frank and I are weekend warriors, and even though this year has been about home renovations, we are like you - love the outdoors. Great post summarizing your wonderful attitude towards life!

    1. Thanks, Margaret! I've always enjoyed your blog because I see myself in it. I can really relate to the places you visit, and the way you visit them. In fact, your blog is one that inspired me to keep going with Sometimes Eventful. Really!

  4. you sound exactly like me and my family and that's very refreshing; to hear it in such honest terms. I thought I had to be ashamed of my "in between" status... I'm not the buff canoeing mom on the cover of the magazine, but I like to look up cool places and check them out. this has just started in the last couple of years since the youngest was out of diapers, and we haven't seen much of the world beyond a few provinces in Canada.... but my proudest moment was when my son said to me "mom are we doing anything this weekend? we haven't been on an adventure in a while..." and by adventure I mean the simplest things like driving up to lion's lookout in Huntsville just to look out over fairy lake and then drive back home. I also agree with the other commenter above... we don't have to go backcountry portaging with freeze dried food for 30 days to prove we deserve to be out there. this country is sooooooo beautiful and we should be taking every opportunity we can to see it, even if it's on the weekend and comes with a little bit of "glamping". ;)


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