Bob Frye: Embarking on an outdoor odyssey
Forget the notion of the three-day weekend. A buddy of mine had a dream.
His idea of happiness, he often said, would be to work two days a week and have five off instead of the other way around.
The plan, in his mind, was to get outdoors on each and every one of those days that didn't involve going to the office.
Crazy, you say? What with family responsibilities, holidays, poor weather and more?
Might as well dream big. That was always his answer.
Imagine the possibilities of such an outdoor odyssey. At five days a week, that would be 260 days a year spent outdoors, hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, paddling, you name it.
Well, I'm going to try it.
Not the working just two days a week part. Neither my employer nor my wife would go for that, let alone the creditors to whom I owe money (somewhere, a banker with a vested interest in my children's student loans just felt a shudder of relief and has no reason why).
But starting Oct. 1, I am going to try and spend parts of 260 of the next 365 days outdoors.
Sometimes, perhaps, that might involve an entire day hunting in the woods. On another day, my time outside might be an hour after work hiking through the woods near home, or 45 minutes spent fishing over lunch while traveling from one assignment to the next, or 90 minutes on the water, paddling around.
But somehow, someway, somewhere, I'm going to try and get outside, a lot.
The health benefits should be real.
Study after study has shown regular outdoor activity benefits us in all kinds of ways. It boosts our immune system, promotes energy levels, aids in sleep, reduces stress and increases happiness, among other things.
Yet most people don't spend time outdoors, or not much anyway. A book that came out earlier this year tracked people's movements. Titled “The Nature Fix,” it asserts the majority of people spend just about 5 percent of their day outdoors — and that includes time spent doing things like walking from the front door to their car and back.
That's sad but believable.
A teacher friend who once was trying to lose weight told me he started monitoring his daily activities. He found the same thing. For days at a time, his “outdoors” recreation was often nothing more than walking to the mailbox. Otherwise, it was go to work, come home, stay inside, then repeat.
So I'm going to see where this goes. I spend a good bit of time outside anyway, but I've never really tracked it. I can't say how close I've ever come to 260 days outdoors in a year's time.
How close can I get? A quarter of the way? Half? All the way? Like everyone else, I've got other demands on my time that conspire against adventure.
Maybe this will be revealing.
If nothing else, it will be fun.
I'll post regular updates — stories, photos and videos — of my adventures on our outdoors website, everybodyadventures.com. Feel free to follow along and/or even submit tales of your own outdoor travels.
In the meantime, maybe we'll see each other out there.
Bob Frye is the everybodyadventures.com editor. Reach him at 412-216-0193 or firstname.lastname@example.org. See other stories, blogs, videos and more at everybodyadventures.com.