When I was a little boy, some 30 or so years ago, I spent long days on the nearby river bank, mostly fishing, or in the woods. Often I went alone, sometimes with a good friend or a few. Equipped with rudimentary gear, homemade sandwhiches and berry juice, daylight always seemed to run out way too quickly. I felt proud of catching large pikes with self-made lures, and lucky for not drowning, trying to float the river with a raft made from scrap wood and styrofoam. I got wet, cold, stung and torn on a regular basis, and bled and suffered, got scared at times, but never had any regrets. And I always went back for more.
The passion for nature and life outdoors, planted in the childhood, has grown steadily over the years, sustained by repeating new experiences. Growing up, childhood play turned into mountain biking, climbing and skiing, and due to a curious personality, to a whole range of other activities that have allowed me to get out there to explore and experience. Never interested in doing sports, nor in goal-oriented training, my reasoning for picking up new hobbies has always been, and continues to be, to experience outdoors in new ways. And to see, and to get to, places otherwise inaccessible.
The main reason for the natural kickstart to outdoorsy life is the fact that back in the days, there wasn’t really much to do indoors. We had some toys, sure, and a TV (with two to three channels), but indoors was generally seen as the boring place, though computers started to make their way into homes when I grew up - someone remember Commodore 64? How different it is for today’s youth, when you have the world at your fingertips through household commodities such as powerful computers, smartphones and of course this Internet. And lots of stuff in general. Indoors has become the outdoors of my generation - a bottomless source of enticement and entertainment.
It is this shift that the European Outdoor Group also wishes to address with their latest #ItsGreatOutThere campaign. It’s a call for action, for all of us, to get out there, and spread the word. Despite the technological advances and modern innovations shaping our everyday life, the hunter-gatherer heritage is still engraved deep in each of us, and should be nourished if for nothing more than your personal wellbeing.
Sitting is the smoking of the 21st century so get up, head out, and take your fiancée, kids, parents, friends or your next door neighbour with you! Go wander aimlessly, take a dip in a lake, harvest some season’s mushrooms or go try something new. Each minute spent out breathing fresh air and in the nature will boost your resistance, lower your stress levels and generally make you a happier person - trust me! And if you don’t, there are several studies that have come to the same conclusion.
All of you active in social media channels, feel free to use hashtag #ItsGreatOutThere when sharing your experiences online. To make it more interesting, European Outdoor Group has partnered up with companies and events to bring great prizes to an ongoing roll of competitions, open for everyone. Go check it out - the current one, Community Focused, ends today, but the next one is just around the corner.
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