Valentine’s Day Challenge – A Love Letter to the Outdoors

The outdoors holds a special place in our hearts. It offers solace in a stressful world, laughter that is always echoed back and direction when we need it most. It is the steadfast companion to all of our adventures, even as it changes with the seasons and the miles. We have an enduring love affair with outside. That’s why this Valentine’s Day we challenged you to write a love letter to the great outdoors. We couldn’t contain our feelings, so we started:

This is the simplest letter to write. You are our one great love. If we had 1,000 years, it would not be enough to understand you. And so, with great respect, we keep trying. Thank you for always letting us come home. #OptOutside

Here are our favorite letters and images from the challenge:

“A brief love note to the Great Outdoors today, just because…..For giving me a lifetime of happiness & adventure. For showing me places where my soul can be calmed & restored. For pushing me way outside my comfort zone again & again, & being a better human for it. For allowing me to roam amongst all your wonders for this brief & beautiful time I have here. For showing me beauty & wonder that has exceeded my wildest dreams. I can’t wait to see all the fun things you have planned for us ❤️?❤️ #optoutside #wildernessculture #yosemite” –@christinhealey

Valentine's Day Letter

“Happy Valentine’s Day from me and my true love, the national parks service. Also look, I climbed a tall rock. #joshuatree #optoutside #altnps ?: @alyssaaaaha” –@julieuhhh

Valentine's Day Letter
“#latergram love letter to the outdoors: You’ve saved my life as many times as I’ve risked it being with you. You inspire me every day to push harder. And because of you, I appreciate everything more deeply and honestly. You have made me a better person in so many ways — and I can’t wait to see what the years will bring for us. #optoutside #sheadventures #outdoorwomen #reiemployee” –@hovcky

Valentine's Day Letter

“You have to understand some wildflowers carry both the pollen and poison. Living with that much life and death grows tiresome. Feeling too much instead of becoming numb. I wasnt sure whether to run from her or towards, so I ran with her.. and for the first time in a long time, I believed in something.” –@iambab_xiii

Valentine's Day Letter

“Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love. I’d like to introduce you to the love of my life, planet earth, you’re beautiful and fierce, welcoming and challenging, but most lovingly of all you teach me without ever speaking. Thank you for everything you’ve made possible for me ?? #OptOutside #valentines2017 #morningglory #appalachiantrials #outchea #theoutbound #outsideisfree #backpack #loveislove” –@staymodest


Thanks to everyone who participated in the project and shared your love! To participate in future projects, be sure to follow REI on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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