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Who gets credit for getting YOU into the outdoors?

As I find myself trying navigate the uncertainty of right now, I've been stepping up my time running and riding my bike solo. On a ride yesterday, I began thinking about where my love of the outdoors started, and who gets credit for. For me, it was definitely my parents - my dad taught me to ski and rode the 5-boro bike trip in NYC repeatedly with me, my mom took me camping and skiing. In a moment like this, I am ever so grateful to both of them for instilling this love in me, as I find myself falling back on the outdoors for comfort and a dose of sanity.

How about you? Maybe it was your parents, a friend, a relative, a teacher...maybe it was yourself...but who do you give credit to for instilling in you a love of the outdoors? We'd love to hear about them. Share a picture or maybe even invite them to join this community!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
28 Replies

I give my daughter credit for instilling a love of the outdoors. 

I grew up in an urban area close to NYC. Growing up, camping for us was going to a cheap hotel if we needed a place to stay. I grew up deathly afraid of bugs and any spooky creatures that could get me while I was outside.

When my daughter was born, I was having a tough time coping with my new normal. As she got a little older (about 3) I decided that I wanted to travel but not leave my dog behind and not worry that my daughter was going to be too loud, thus getting us kicked out. I took the plunge and bought an REI Kingdom 6 tent. I instantly fell in love with camping. It is a lot of work and the convenience of some things are missing, but my goodness I felt free. There is something about being outdoors that feels liberating.  Additionally, till this day my daughter doesn't ever ask for TV or an iPad when we are out camping. Instead she prefers to play outside and make up games.

Seeing her happy in this element has made me fall in love with the outdoors so much more. She is now 8 and I am trying to get her into SUP and hiking. She hasn't taken to those yet, but I won't stop trying!!

@Cynllie I love, love, love this. I also have a kiddo who motivates me to keep getting outside and inspires me to keep teaching him. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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@Cynllie,

This story made my day! As a dad of two little(ish) ones I know how important it is to get our kids outdoors. Thank you for sharing!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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Hmmm... I think I was born this way.  I was going to write down Marlin Perkins and Jaques Cousteau, as I used to watch them on TV in the sixties and seventies.  

I should give my dad a lot of credit though.  He would rather have spent his time playing tennis, and he did teach me to play and appreciate the game, but he also appreciated my hankering for the wilder places.  He took me on my first canoe trip (it was his first too) when I was 13 or 14.  A friend had told him about Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, about five hours from home in Western NY.  We were rank beginners with rented equipment, including canvas backpacks (with tumplines) and a sturdy canvas tent.  It was a seven day loop that took us through the wildest land we had ever seen. We ate bad food (with gusto), got eaten by mosquitoes on portages, and had the time of our lives.  I remember that we had forgotten to bring spoons.  Dad whittled some from found wood.  I still have them.

It was the first of many such trips - some with Dad and some with my friends.  Once we even took a big trip with friends and dads.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

I have to say that my entire family instilled a love of the outdoors in me.  My grandparents and parents first.  The house I grew up in was nestled in a small wood, so my earliest memories are of playing in those woods and the stream that ran through them.  One grandfather lived with us, and my other grandparents had a small farm.  My mom and dad, and grandparents all had influences on me; hiking, camping, fishing, hunting...and as I grew older I expanded upon those activities with off-road driving (TREAD Lightly), and some bouldering.

And I have done my part to instill that same love into my kids, by taking them camping, off-roading, and hiking.  And they helped me to learn a new outdoor hobby.  Kayaking.  I took them to a class, and seeing how much fun they had, I ended up getting us all kayaks. 

Both kids are in their early twenties now, and still join me and my friends on hikes, camping and playing disc golf. 

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Oh. I almost forgot!  Biking!  Learned to ride at an early age and rode on long gravel driveways for fun and to practice before I was old enough to try roads.  Turns out to have been an apt precursor to the rail trails I frequent now.  And my kids join me (and sometimes I join them) on bike rides.

And, while my grandparents are all gone, my parents, now in their 80's, still go out trailriding on horseback, sometimes on the same park trails where I hike. 

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

My Grandfather. When I was a little boy I would spend the summer camping on an island on the Susquehanna River in Pa. Basically lived in a bathing suit with my Dad’s USN Diving knife strapped to my side. Still have the Marbles Woodsmans knife he gave me. A true life Huckleberry Finn. What’s ironic is my last name is Finn! Didn’t understand his love of all the critters until I was older. I get it now.

@Flipperfla thanks so much for sharing this story about your grandfather!

Similar to his love of the critters, as a kid, I never understood my mom and aunt's obsession with binoculars - at that time, I just found them to be nerdy. However this last weekend on a quick trip to Orcas Island, I was kicking myself for forgetting my binoculars where I would have loved to zoom in on the multiple bald eagles and other big birds circling around us!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

I'd have to say the Girl Scouts.  I really wanted to be a Boy Scout, but had to settle for Girl Scouts.  We camped 4 or 5 times a year and I never missed the opportunity.

We were also basically thrown out the door after coming home from school, having cookies and changing our clothes.  We had to come in at 5 to do homework, but before that it was bicycles, roller skates, and skate boards.  In the summer we were dropped at the pool almost every afternoon by our father who came home for lunch  and if we hadn't called Mom (via payphone!) after 3 hours, she came to get us.

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Found Myself Outside