This is an Exist Anew Guest Post by EXP Adventures CEO Milosz Pierwola, Esq. Beau recently met Milo while climbing Mt. Washington, NH. It didn’t take long for each of us to realize our separate projects, Exist Anew and EXP Adventures, while different in many ways, share some common beliefs. One of which is that life should be constructed of free and organic experiences that challenge and enrich your existence. EXP offers such experiences through adventure travel, and cultural immersion. Below is a post Milo wrote for us. Enjoy and please check out the link at the bottom for EXP Adventures upcoming Scotland adventure!
A Guide to Getting it on Outdoors
We all could use a little direction our first time. We usually don’t know where to go to find what we’re looking for and are generally disappointed the first couple times. We don’t bring the proper protection,which causes us to return home unfulfilled and oftentimes miserable. Even when we find something attractive, we don’t even know how to enjoy it and sometimes end up getting hurt – or worse yet, hurt someone else. If we become too careless, there is even the possibility of catching a rash or an infection. Nobody wants an infection.
Now I lied… sort of. This isn’t a guide to getting it on in the bush. However, I’m glad it got your attention because, believe it or not, creating a successful relationship with the great outdoors is just like dating. So, just like a hormone fueled teenager at their first pool party with no parental supervision, you can use some hard and fast rules to increase your chances of a passionate experience.
1. You Are Not The Brawny Man
You are not Bear Grylls, you’re not Aron Ralston, heck, you’re lucky if you stack up to Ernest when he went to camp! Each of those guys spent a significant amount of time doing the one thing that’s inevitable for you too; failing. The one thing that people don’t focus on is the amount of times that Bear had to turn around because his gear failed, he simply was not prepared for the unpredictable nature of extreme environments, or even something as simple as forgetting about his wife’s anniversary*.
Nature is a wilderness and dangerous, she is just like the most attractive woman in the room. What’s important is to accept that you will fail and take appropriate risks when you start so you don’t fail too hard. Underestimate your abilities, prepare yourself for the simplest things going wrong, and cut yourself some slack! If you set your hopes up and straddle right up to her to proclaim your unpracticed pick-up lines memorized from the August 2009 GQ magazine you found in the bathroom, you’re going to get shot down. And when you get shot down, it’s going to be hard, everyone is going to see it, and you’re going to want to run home to your mommy who will wrap you in a blanket and tell you how special you are. Realize the benefit of starting out with something easier to approach and take care to learn about what works and what doesn’t.
*This never happened. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were never lost because a whole project had to be abandoned last minute on account of such an obviously memorable occasion. Really.
2. Are Those Drop-Crotch Pants? You Look Ridiculous
Just because it’s on the cover of the newest issue of a magazine doesn’t mean it’s good, or even useful, for what you’re trying to do. Ask anyone that brought a down jacket out on a rainy day or anyone that wore Vibram Five Fingers™ for the first time on a rocky trail; they’re not smiling when they realized their grave mistake and by that time it’s way too late. There is a reason that gear is constantly reinvented and it’s not because fur looks good until it’s out of style. It’s because gear becomes highly specialized for various outdoor activities and that means you need to understand its exact purpose.
Going outdoors is just like going to a club; wearing a formal gown to a 50 Cent concert wouldn’t impress anyone and it’s probably going to pick up an odor you wouldn’t want to pass any K-9 units with. You have to familiarize yourself with the situations that may arise in which your wardrobe will come in handy. If you’re going to a rooftop party, the sun will set and that backless dress that also so non-imaginatively shows off your legs will have you camping out next to the only heat lamp that doubles as a chimney for all the smokers. Unfortunately, since you won’t be able to hail any cabs, your best bet is to spend some time not playing Angry Birds on your iPhone when the salesperson is explaining the functions of your Gore-tex™ Alpine Hiking Scarf Hammock Inflatable Emergency Canoe.
3. Don’t Get Caught at a Sausagefest
Every place is advertised as amazingly inviting and beautiful because that’s the point of marketing – to attract you to come. Things that don’t appear on information about hikes are generally the stuff that’s not there. If your idea of the great outdoors was formed by some archaic Disney™ movies where you’re expecting the animals to provide you with good background vocals to your unfortunate tale of mistaken identity for someone who knows what they’re doing, I have some devastating news for you. Oh, and Santa’s not real. The outdoors is a highly varied yet locally specialized in what it offers, so you should go by the rule, “If it’s not mentioned, you have a snowball’s chance in hell that you’re going to find it there.”
The same rules apply to the wilderness as to high school parties. Your friend is a drummer and you’re expecting chicks to show up to his party because, “hey, these guys play instruments and chicks dig bands!” It’s not until midnight rolls around and you realize you’ve just been discussing the latest Hermione Granger fan fiction with a bunch of kids from the grade below you as your friend who went to pick up the beer finally texts you that he “had to let out the dog” and now your current situation hits you like the headlights on an 18-wheeler as your innocently ignorant deer head tries to compute the stopping distance of 20 tons of metal coming at you at 70 mph. Simple rule, if you’re looking for something, make sure you have a reliable source of information that indicates that you’re going to find it where you’re going.
4. Stop Instagramming Every Rock You See
The reason you’re out here is not because you have to show everyone that you just saw a swarm of ants totally take on a fat caterpillar and it looked like that scene from The Mummy where the beetles devour the … ok, that was pretty cool. But you’re out here to put your phone on silent and actually enjoy disconnecting to appreciate being human and not cyborg even if it’s just for an afternoon. The problem with technology is you’re not in the present moment but you’re floating through all of your friend’s statuses daydreaming of what your life would be like if you were on a honeymoon in Costa Rica right now running a Toughmudder with grumpycat.jpg filming your hilarious version of the Harlem Shake. You’re missing everything that has impressed and inspired humanity since the first caveman thought that rocks were better used for something other than chewing. Hey! Pay attention to what’s in front of you!
When you go to a social event, there is nothing more akin to shooting yourself in the foot than isolating yourself in the world of social media. Insecurity is not something that we ever shed and the truth is you never get used to walking into a room of people you don’t know, you just learn to tolerate that period of time that everyone thinks you’re there delivering the singing candygram. The single worst thing you can do is cease keeping up with everyone and absorb yourself in that little device that causes you to slouch over with an illuminated face in the corner while nursing your Long Island as the guy that’s finally gathered enough beer-ourage to speak with you stumbles over hoping that the line he just read in the bathroom from a piss stained GQ from 2009 makes you smile and you miss it because KITTY! I know we’re not used to having to be patient for things to work, but putting your phone down will allow you to catch those opportunities you lament about in your status every time your date for the night is the $4.99 Trader Joe’s Two Buck Chuck (‘cuz, you know, inflation).
Ultimately, the biggest pointer you should take away from this is that you should value yourself. Take the time you need to identify what you want, where it is, what you need to get it, and focus on it until you get it. Oh, and probably the most important rule for enjoying the outdoors; if you’re going to pitch a tent, don’t forget your rain fly.