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Life Outside

Why this year's GOM team ditched the 9-to-5

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

As anyone who has attended one of the Get Out More Tour presentations this year has learned, Kim and I used to have a normal life with a mortgage, bills, and 9-to-5 desk jobs. Then, two and a half years ago, we chucked that life in order to carve out a life lived on our own terms.

Part of the reason that we gave up our house, our car, and nearly all of our worldly possessions was that the life we were living left something to be desired. There was not one specific thing that we could point to and say “that’s it – that is what is missing!” and add it to our lives. Like Kim says in the presentation, there was simply more out there that we wanted to experience.

One of our complaints about our 9-5 life was that we weren’t spending as much time as we liked out-of-doors. Sure, we could go for day hikes during the Portland summer but all too often our weekends were booked full of plans weeks in advance, leaving things like day hikes to fall by the wayside. And, if we were lucky, we could get one backpacking trip in each year, but that was about it.

During the first two years of our newfound life, we were outside more. This mostly consisted of exploring cities on foot, drinks on beaches, hiking in jungles, etc. We were able to do a bunch of backpacking (as Get Out More Tour attendees can attest) and the outdoors was suddenly, happily, a big part of our daily lives.

But even all of that couldn’t compare to what it is like being the Get Out More team because we live outside now. We split our nights between our Big Agnes tents and our Sylvan Sport GO trailer (and the occasional hotel now and then). We wake when the sun comes up and we go to sleep shortly after the sun goes down. Fresh morning air and songbirds are our alarm clocks and frogs act as our white noise as we drift off to sleep.

As great as living outside is, it is also a struggle. We’re constantly on the lookout for campgrounds with showers. At times we long for an oven to cook our meals on and a refrigerator to keep fresh veggies. And you’d be shocked at how much it actually rains when you move outdoors.

(Case in point: We had 5 nights in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park recently, and it rained constantly every single day we were there. Then, about 15 minutes after we had out wet camp packed up, the clouds parted and the sun shone brightly.)

Living outside has taught me that sometimes the best days are the ones right after a storm has rolled through – the air is clean and crisp, the grass is a little greener, and everything seems just a bit livelier. Sure, getting through those stormy hours can be miserable at times, but knowing just how bad it can be during those storms makes the good weather days (and good times) seem so much better.

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