By: Kalli Hawkins
I take a long, deep breath. I try to soak up every ounce of the moment. But one deep breath isn’t enough. I take two more. It's still not enough. I wish my lungs had no limit. I wish I could keep inhaling the sage-filled desert breeze around me. The landscape is barren. There is nothing but rolling hills of sand and mountain silhouettes in the distance. The wind whips my hair across my face, and I wiggle my bare feet deeper into the warm sand.
That first moment of a camping trip is the most significant to me—the moment after finding a secluded location to camp, at the end of an intriguing backroad. Setting up camp and cooking dinner can wait. I want to immerse myself in the landscape, explore with the pups, and take a moment to appreciate this remarkable place. After a few deep breaths, I instantly feel relaxed. My senses come alive as I take in my surroundings, and everything else on my mind seems to fade away in the breeze.
Finding Clarity In The Outdoors
Getting outdoors puts things in perspective for me. It gives me a chance to slow down, to recognize and prioritize what is truly important in my life. With the ever-demanding nuances of life and “adulting,” it can be easy to become disconnected from what is important. I find that when I am surrounded by wilderness, away from the distractions and ever-growing to-do list, my mind can settle and rest. It is a place to escape when I feel stressed or need clarity on an issue. Whether spending the day flyfishing on a river, hiking a challenging alpine trail, or simply grabbing the hammock and a good book and escaping into the woods, after a day in the outdoors, I tend to find the answers or solutions to my problems.
I intentionally tuck my phone away and take time to sit and observe the intricacies of nature. It allows me to focus on the small details around me, to notice the determined juniper tree growing between two rocks, the ants beneath me putting in a hard day's work, the disgruntled blue jay trying to protect its territory from an intruder. I appreciate how every aspect intertwines and works together, how an entire ecosystem can rely on even the smallest elements.
I feel I have a connection with the wilderness around me, and it's that unique bond that motivates me to keep coming back. It is something that cannot be replicated in any other capacity of my life and one that I hope never to lose. To put it simply, the outdoors is my happy place. It is a place that provides me with adventure, challenges, learning opportunities, and time spent with the ones who I love most.
Go Ahead, Get Out There
So, get out there, explore, have fun—but remember to take a moment for yourself. To take a long, deep breath. And, if you're like me, you'll find yourself taking another, trying to fill your lungs with that captivating evening breeze and soak up every little moment.
About the Author: Kalli Hawkins
Kalli Hawkins is an outdoor, gear, and adventure writer based in Colorado. An avid explorer and backcountry enthusiast, Kalli can often be found on a backroad exploring the outdoors with her pup, Riley. When she's not writing or adventuring outdoors, she enjoys woodworking, homebrewing beer, and trying her hand at gardening. If you would like to connect or follow along, you can find her at @kallihawkins.