Get Outside: Christy's Why and Story
Learn more about Christy's WHY for getting outside. "It comes down to two things, the first is adventure and the true spark of curiosity and creativity it sets inside my soul. The second is spiritual. The sense of calm, peace, and connectedness I feel to the bigger picture."
I don't know about you, but since I was little, being outside meant freedom. Freedom to explore, be curious about the world, and play with friends. As adults, when the responsibilities pile on it's easy to become out of touch with what makes us come alive and getting outside becomes harder to fit in. When I spent time reflecting on the outdoors and why spending time with Mother Nature means so much to me it came down to two things, the first is adventure and the true spark of curiosity and creativity it gives my soul. This is something I hope I never take for granted. The second is spiritual. The outdoors and the magnificent beauty that exists within it, reminds me of just how small I am. At the same time it reminds me that I also have a role to play in this world, that we all have natural talents to give and leave this world a better place. It's truly where I feel most connected with god and it's given me the clarity to be able to make major life decisions.
To dig into the first piece around adventure, Jedidia Jenkins put it perfectly, "Routine is the enemy of time. I want to be aware of every day I'm alive. I want to make it to 85 and be exhausted because I have been alive and awake every single day. And I think that's the duty of being an adult. When you're a kid, everything is new, so you don't have to work for it. You're just astonished by everything. Once your an adult, that's a choice. You choose adventure for your own life."
Being outside pushes me out of my routine and comfort zone, especially if I am exploring a new area or am outdoors for an extended period of time (backpacking or camping). Now I get that it's much harder to get this quality time with yourself in as a mama and we will get into this in a later blog post, but just know I SEE YOU and there are ways to incorporate it into your daily life! We are starting with our stories and our why to help you feel more connected with our purpose. For me, it's where I have been able to process life's struggles from childhood and family issues, to marriage and postpartum anxiety and hormones. It has given me the ability to make sense of life/my purpose (still doing the work here) and make some of life's biggest decisions.
Before I lived close to natural beauty (a few different cities in Ohio is where I lived for my entire life before moving to Seattle 5 years ago) and I discovered backpacking, hiking, and camping... running outside was that outlet for me. There is so much to learn from nature and in truth simply being alone with your thoughts. Being outside forces me to slow down and process those thoughts. In today's world, I realize now how much more of it I need, a chance to connect with MY truth as there is constant stimuli in today's modern world and so many conflicting messages being thrown our way. It's easy to get lost in the sea of agendas, opinions, and comparisons.
So here are a few pivotal moments in my life story where being outside has played a major role in my life path. I share these experiences to connect with others and inspire others to take more time to get outside, explore, and connect with themselves if this is where you too feel the most alive and connected with yourself.
A good place to start is when I had the realization that I wanted to marry my now husband, Rob. I had just gotten out of a 5 year relationship and Rob and I connected our Senior year of college when he was getting ready to move to Arizona to teach for a program called Teach for America. We both knew there was something very special between us, but the road to marriage wasn't easy. I had a lot of emotions to work through after getting out of a long term relationship, but to fast forward just a bit I remember the day I went on a long run on a bike path in Columbus, OH and had the realization.... I stopped mid-run with tears pouring down my eyes realizing that he was the one. It wasn't as simple as this may sound, as there were a ton of mistakes made along the way, but this memory will forever be ingrained in my mind as a moment of clarity from being outside and connected to myself. At this point, we weren't actually together and I called him that same day to reconnect because I felt such clarity and certainty... finally. If you know me, I am not the most decisive person so this says a lot friends. I am sure we have all had moments like this, but it's a big example of how movement and the outdoors have helped me tune into those whispers on my heart. My truth. It helps me drown out all the other voices and opinions, because truth be told I had a lot of opinions weighing in on my decision. We have the ability to make hard decisions, we just have to make the time to listen and from the very beginning of ULA and Us' creation, this is one of the reasons why we wanted to wellness retreats and spending time outdoors to be a big part of what we ultimately created, to help others find clarity, purpose, and ultimately have confidence to conquer summits that are meaningful to THEM.
Fast forward three years... Rob and I got married, we both shared a love for adventure and throughout our three years of dating we traveled to a lot of beautiful places across the country, some favorites include Sedona, AZ and Mt. Zion, Utah, but it wasn't until our honeymoon in Hawaii (Kauai and Maui) where we realized that being close to nature made our souls truly happy and we CRAVED it when we returned to Ohio. We were scheming a 1 year move to Hawaii, when Rob got a temporary 1 year job offer in Seattle. As soon as I Googled images of WA state, I was SOLD. We packed up our life and hit the road on an adventure that changed our lives. If it wasn't for those experiences outdoors leading up to the job offer, and specifically knowing how truly alive I felt when exploring the outdoors, I wouldn't have been able to leave all we knew, including a career, my family, and two properties, to start over from scratch. It is one of the best decisions I have ever made, but also one of the hardest. The amount of beauty I have been able to experience and also the confidence I have built through trying new things, like backpacking, camper vanning through Hawaii and New Zealand, and summiting mountains big and small were bit by bit changing my life. These experiences have all given me perspective and growth I would have otherwise never had. Nature is such a good teacher.
The last experience I want to share is a more recent struggle after becoming a mama. I have shared in the past that I went through postpartum anxiety when both going back to work and when I started weaning, but I also struggled with a miscarriage last summer before we conceived our second baby girl, due at the end of May. I had an extreme amount of stress on my plate with renovating our house, juggling work and mom life, and my hormones have gone through a wild ride over the past two years. It wasn't until I was able to truly slow down and spend a week in nature that I could process all I had gone through. The processing will never stop, as adding a second will bring on a whole new challenge and that is why it's important to get outside every day. But this specific trip, allowed me time outside to go hiking and swimming and I was able to slow down, accept that this was my journey, and listen to what my body needed. This motherhood journey is still something I am figuring out and will continue to share along the way, but our families love of adventure and the outdoors is a top priority for me as I raise my girls. My hope is that they will grow up admiring the beauty that surrounds them and that they will have more memories outside than inside to help them process and stay curious. Which is what I hope for all of us.
Next week, Ives will share her personal why and over the next few weeks, we will begin sharing tips and resources to get outside with the entire fam. It isn't always easy, but we have learned that it is worth it and if it matters to you, you make the time for it.