How many of these have you heard? What are some other ones?
"These are the voices we've heard all our lives. The ones that tell us to be careful, quiet and cute. To smile more. The ones that tell us what we should and shouldn't do. But the further out we go, the harder they are to hear. Outside, we are a force of nature. We're breaking new trails and making some noise of our own."
A 2017 national study on women and the outdoors found that 86% of women say being outdoors positively affects their mental and physical health but only 20% make spending time outside a priority.
REI is starting a new program called Force of Nature. They are creating more opportunities for women to get outdoors. They want women and girls front and center in 2017. They are working to close the gap in women's gear, telling more stories of women adventurers, and offering new classes, trips and community events just for women. It kicks off on May 6th with over 1000 events designed just for women.
This is something that I can stand behind 100%. I grew up camping, hiking, playing with my brothers in the woods, fishing, playing in creeks, and getting dirty. As I got older, the less amount of time I spent outside. I stopped exploring. I conformed to the voices that were telling me to be quiet, to not get dirty, to look pretty, to stay inside, to be more feminine, to not go out alone.
I got married, got a good job, had kids, stayed home to raise them, got an education, got a better job. All like I was supposed to. I was living the life that all women are told they are to live. It was a good life and I was happy but I felt like I was missing something.
I realized that I stopped having fun. I missed being outside. I missed exploring. I missed playing.
Four years ago, I found myself again. We moved to Las Vegas and I quit my job. I started to play again. I have surrounded myself with other women who love to do the same things I love to do. We hike, trail run, cycle, swim, run, explore, laugh, play, and get dirty.
It's time to stop listening to the voices of the world that tell us to be less than what we were meant to be. Being outside is good for the soul. It refreshes and recharges us. It exposes us to the beauty and awe of our world. I encourage you to take a part in REI's Force of Nature. If you do not have an REI near you, search your local community for outdoor activities that interest you and make 2017 the beginning of your new adventure.
*I have no affiliation with REI and have created this post due to my own experience and opinion.