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What I Have Learned Switching from Indoor to Outdoor Living

Prior to this trip, Jen and I dedicated our weekends to playing outside in nature – running, camping, hiking or cycling. Yet, even with our most of our weekends spent outdoors, the reality is that I spent nearly 90% of my time inside. Whether I was at home or the office, my life existed within the man-made structures of four walls and a roof. I often wondered what life was like for those who shifted their living from indoor to outdoor– vulnerable to the elements, and dancing hand and hand with Mother Nature.

After six months of travel and shifting my life to 90% outdoor living, I have learned the following:

Food

Fresh pomegranate at a Turkish market in Istanbul.
Freshly cut pomegranate at a Turkish market in Istanbul.
  • Seasonality. I have learned the seasons of my favorite fruits and veggies. I shout for joy when the newest delicious fruit shows up at a roadside vendor and get a little bummed when berry season is over. I now understand why Jen doesn’t allow me to bring home organic strawberries from California in the winter.
  • Vegan. I am more in touch with where food comes from. I see cows, goats, pigs, sheep, and chickens on a daily basis and interact with each creature as we pass. I meet family hunters and cross paths with factory farms and get a sense of the treatment and impact of meat-based foods. This eye-opening exposure has led me to embrace veganism as a way of life.

Nature and Ecology 

A quiet forest road in Germany.
A quiet bike path through the forest in Germany.
  • I’ve become a junior ecologist. I observe the creatures and biodiversity with curiosity. I’m more perceptive of birds and their patterns and have taken stock of which fuzzy friends live in different types of ecosystems.
  • Where is my spirit animal? My spirit animal is the humming bird, and has been a powerful aid in coping with the loss of Maxwell a week before our trip. Early in our journey, I noticed my guide was nowhere to be seen. As it turns out, hummingbirds exist only on the Western Hemisphere. I still look almost daily, regardless. Being outside gives me the chance to observe, constantly.

Weather and the Cosmos

Supa_Moon_@-1
Super moon rising, Montenegro.
  • Personal meteorologist. I am much more in tune with the weather as it directly affects me. I notice small shifts in patterns, like rain cells, heat waves, or humidity. It’s my mini obsession and you better believe that if a thunderstorm is approaching, I will be the first to be prepared.
  • The Sagan factor. I am more intrigued and in awe of the cosmos. Spending many nights gazing into the sky has given me a sense of just how small we are and how much more there is to learn. It has pushed me to listen to nerdy podcasts and elevated my affinity for Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Carl Sagan. If you want to have your mind blown, check out the Hubble Telescope’s website.
  • Moon bright. Full moon? Crescent moon? Which will grace our presence tonight? I have become more aware of the moon cycle and yearn for the bright nights that serve as spectacular backdrop to our camp home.
  • It’s that time of the year. I am dialed in to the summer and winter solstice and the availability of light. I take stock in the march towards winter (yeah!) or summer solstice (boo!). I wake up naturally with the sun and start to fade as the sun bids a goodnight.

Perception

This has become my source of enjoyment and energy.
This has become my source of enjoyment and energy. Croatian descent
  • Sterile. When outside for 90% of the time, I relish the chance to be inside. I value the bugless, clean, and quiet environment. This usually lasts about a day before I become bored long to be back outside.
  • Material Possessions. I don’t really care about “things” anymore. When I’m traveling, I don’t have space for “things.” I start to find my happiness in a beautiful sunset, a thought-provoking conversation, or a laugh with friends.
  • Rat race. Seeing the world in such basic terms has yielded a personal epiphany, I should work to live, not live to work. Why would I spend the rest of my life working like a lemming, just to retire and then enjoy it? There is so much to see in the world, in our unique universe. I recently had a former manager pass away. He had retired six months before his passing. He worked his whole life for six months of freedom.

Inquisitive Mindset

Our camping spot
Our camping spot for the night. Denmark. 
  • The power of why? I have learned to ask this question often and frequently. Rather than quickly glossing over my surroundings, I find myself wanting to know why something exists or how to came to be. Since I don’t have access unlimited knowledge at my finger tips, Jen and I often try to hypothesize the answers to our questions simply using our brains and the information directly in front of us.
  • The Talking Heads said it best in “Once In A Lifetime

And you may ask yourself 
What is that beautiful house? 
And you may ask yourself 
Where does that highway go to? 
And you may ask yourself 
Am I right?…Am I wrong? 
And you may say to yourself yourself 
My God!…What have I done?! 

For those who have shifted from indoor to outdoor living or vice versa, have you noticed any changes?

What have you learned? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Dave Hoch

Dave finds joy in supporting a vegan, intentional, and spiritual lifestyle. When he’s not jamming out to Phish and reggae, he’s running, volunteering at animal rescues, playing in nature, and being alive.

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