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.
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!
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?
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