One of the best parts of my job is inter­act­ing with Clymb mem­bers on Face­book, Twit­ter and this blog. Often times our con­ver­sa­tions go beyond ques­tions about a recent order or what our next brand event will be. We talk about our love of the out­doors and where our adven­tures have tak­en us. We talk about how it affects our spir­it and health, what we’ve learned and why we keep going when oth­ers might not.

Maybe it’s my jour­nal­ism degree or maybe I’m just nosy — I sus­pect it’s both — but I love con­nect­ing with peo­ple in that way; dis­cov­er­ing their sto­ries. Because I believe every­body has one and they are all unique, and inter­est­ing, and beautiful.

We’d like to share some of these sto­ries with you in their own words. We encour­age you to con­nect with these mem­bers on Face­book, sub­scribe to their blogs, fol­low them on Twit­ter and sup­port each oth­ers’ endeav­ors. Get inspired. Ask ques­tions. Share sto­ries. Get tips. Give tips. Stay connected.

Today, David Sandel of DudesWith­T­ents shares the begin­nings of his love affair with the great outdoors.

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We all got start­ed some­how, that much is obvi­ous. If we hadn’t, we wouldn’t be on this mag­nif­i­cent site, now would we? I’m here to ques­tion the how, when, and why aspect.

The nat­ur­al beau­ty, the inher­ent dan­ger, the abil­i­ty to escape our 9–5, all of these things are what draw us to the out­doors. Have you ever ques­tioned why you start­ed or what the out­doors real­ly mean to you? At the most basic lev­el, we all have a psy­cho­log­i­cal asso­ci­a­tion with the out­doors that keeps us com­ing back time and time again. And for a lot of us, that asso­ci­a­tion can be traced back to one sin­gle event.

This is my story…

I grew up in 2 very small towns in north cen­tral Wis­con­sin. In both loca­tions, the num­ber of bars out­num­bered the num­ber of gro­cery stores and church­es (com­bined). The near­est movie the­ater was 30 min. away. There was lit­er­al­ly noth­ing to do that didn’t involve the out­doors in some way, whether that was build­ing a fort in the woods, bik­ing or ATV’ing through some trails, help­ing my dad cut fire­wood for the win­ter, or lat­er on in life, drink­ing in the mid­dle of the woods as an under aged teenag­er. While drink­ing around a gigan­tic fire is fun, mak­ing fire­wood and win­ter camp­ing as a child is my strongest asso­ci­a­tion with lov­ing the out­doors. In fact, my now 89-year-old grand­moth­er still likes to remind me that I tried to get her to sleep out in the tent with us one night.

Every win­ter we would tromp through the snow and cut fire­wood for the fol­low­ing year. First you fell the tree, then you trim it, cut it, split it, and stack it. Final­ly, you let it dry through the fol­low­ing sum­mer in the hot sun. But hon­est­ly, who cares about cut­ting wood?

We would not only “make” fire­wood, but we would also win­ter camp. In fact, I remem­ber win­ter camp­ing before ever sum­mer camp­ing, even if that is not fac­tu­al­ly cor­rect. We would spend the day cut­ting wood, burn­ing brush, and cook­ing over the fire. It was nor­mal­ly in my dad’s old alu­minum camp cook kit from the 1970’s or ‘80’s over the camp­fire. The meal was usu­al­ly sim­mered round steak in cream of mush­room soup with car­rots and pota­toes. Our tent was an old, green wall tent that didn’t even have a rain fly. Since we were so close to the house, we could afford to bring 2 sleep­ing bags a piece, a com­forter, and the fam­i­ly dog for extra warmth. Jake loved it!

 

Pho­to cour­tesy of DudesWithTents.com

I obvi­ous­ly didn’t real­ize how spe­cial those mem­o­ries would be to me lat­er in life, but I can look back and say, with­out a doubt, that is the rea­son I love the out­doors. From that point for­ward, I joined the cub scouts and grad­u­at­ed to boy scouts.

Since that time, my love of the out­doors has encom­passed almost every­thing imag­in­able: hunt­ing, fish­ing, moun­tain bik­ing, snow­shoe­ing, cross coun­try ski­ing, canoe­ing, hik­ing, and rock climb­ing. I even dab­ble in water sports. Yet some­how, I’ve nev­er been down­hill ski­ing or snow­board­ing. Odd, isn’t it?

So that’s what keeps me com­ing back. The mem­o­ries of a youth gone by, and the thrill of push­ing my com­fort lev­el in the out­doors. So, how did you get start­ed? What keeps you com­ing back?

 

Pho­to cour­tesy of DudesWithTents.com

David Sandel is the not-so-inge­nious brains behind DudesWithTents.com, a per­son­al blog fol­low­ing him­self and his friends in their out­door excur­sions. He is also a full-time elec­tri­cal engi­neer, part-time per­son­al train­er, and 100% day­dream­ing pro­cras­ti­na­tor from Min­neapo­lis, MN. It is his dream to one day make a liv­ing by writ­ing about the out­doors. For more infor­ma­tion about David, vis­it DavidSandel.com

If you have a sto­ry or some out­door tips you’d like to share, please con­tact me at Nina@TheClymb.com. If you need a mem­ber­ship to The Clymb, please stop by Twit­ter or Face­book.