June is Great Outdoors Month. Enrich your relationship with nature and decide to go 30 Days Wild this month with your entire family. Follow us on Facebook for ideas of things to do and places to explore.
Last month, I challenged myself to participate in the 30 Days Wild Challenge, a challenge where every day I had to perform a Random Act of Wildness. As someone who regularly goes outside no matter the weather, I thought this challenge would be relatively easy. However, through the course of the month, I found myself discovering and understanding my relationship with nature in a way that I hadn’t considered.
The first week was considerably harder than I had imagined. That first day I had so many ideas about different activities I would participate in, from volunteering to tree climbing to hiking. By the third day, however, I had sprained my foot and was forced to stay off it for over a week, putting a damper on my outdoor plans. Instead of hiking with friends I was suddenly resigned to spending my time sitting in various parks, no physical activity involved.
However, this provided a new challenge: how many different activities could I accomplish by just sitting outside? It proved to be many. I went outside to read, to work, to hang out with my dogs, to watch the fireflies come out of the trees, and everything in between. While sitting outside, I noticed things I hadn’t noticed before and my relationship with nature became deeper and stronger. I no longer focused on just sitting at a park as my activity but focused on the things I noticed, whether external or internal.
After I was cleared to walk on two feet again, I began trying to make up for the time I spent sitting in the park. My acts were focused on physical activity, like climbing trees and taking two-mile-long walks. On a whim, I decided that I would go backpacking by myself at Inks Lake State Park. My minimal experience with backpacking nor my limited knowledge on what to do if danger arises while backcountry camping solo were not enough to push this insane idea out of my head. The trails were calling and I had to go to them.
Little did I know that this idea was among one of the best—that strong need to spend the night in the woods alone was not for nothing. While out there, I felt completely at peace, there was no anxiety or ruminating thoughts. I returned from my night of adventure with what felt like a reset. The things that had happened in the previous weeks no longer mattered in my mind. As told from my notes about that experience, “Nature has a way of making you stop and think and enjoy the present moment and from my personal experience, camping only amplifies that.”
My time participating in the 30-day challenge was not as easy as I thought going into the fourth and final week. Coming home after working twelve hour days, I was exhausted and the last thing I wanted to do was make time to spend outside. But that was okay. Over the course of the thirty days I found myself redefining my relationship with the outdoors, finding the right balance between indoor and outdoor time and what I could mentally and physically handle. The experience and knowledge I gained was worthwhile and this is where I challenge you.
June is Great Outdoors Month and Texas Children in Nature will be encouraging everyone to get outside by highlighting activities each day. Check out Nature Rocks Texas and Texas Nature Challenge to find out ideas to help you find your relationship with nature!