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I’m guilty of it, and you probably are too. Growing up, I enjoyed an All-American childhood consumed with little league baseball, neighborhood BBQs and, of course, fishing in my favorite lake. These days though, if I’m not being a cubicle creature, I’m usually fishing for Facebook likes or thinking of my next witty Instagram caption. I’m not proud of this reality, but they need to be admitted. For better or worse, we are very much a generation consumed in technology. This past year, I’ve learned just how great the outdoors can be though, and I think that’s worth sharing with you guys.
Technology has consumed us.
About a year ago, I moved to the DC Metro area from Orlando for my first job. Anyone who knows DC knows that this area brings many pros and cons. Incredible nightlife, job prospects, and sightseeing have made the great DC area a hot spot for young people. Despite these admirable traits, I have learned that I needed an outlet from the horrendous traffic and fast-paced life of the area. Thankfully, I have a family cabin inherited from my late grandfather just about forty minutes from my home that is off in the Blue Ridge Mountains and easily accessible for a nice weekend get away.
The family cabin has no internet and, until recently, no cable. It exists without a single shopping center for at least a dozen miles. In my grandfather’s will, he hoped that our family property would be “a park like place for his children and grandchildren to play for decades to come.” While not all of us have a cabin in the woods to get out to for the week, hell, some of us may live in a concrete jungle of sorts, many of us do have the beauty of nature just miles away from our offices and homes.
One of my favorite things about my frequent trips to the family cabin is its location just a half mile away from the Appalachian Trail. This gorgeous trail stretches from George to Maine, although I personally just tough out a few miles before heading back to the front porch for a cigar and a good book. Hiking the Appalachian Trail is one of my favorite things in the world, especially as I attempt to mentally check out of my work worries on the weekends. On the trail there are no emails or invoices, just my favorite flannel shirt, Patagonia shorts, Chacos and the great American outdoors.
Over the past dozen or so years, our cabin has become very much engrained into who my family is. My cousin got engaged on his favorite hiking trail, my brother was recently married in meadow next to a creek that runs through our property, and I myself snuck my first sip of beer behind the shed while my old man worked on his ’86 BMW back in my middle school days. When my girlfriend and I get serious, I would absolutely love to get married in the woods out back myself, although we all know a wedding is about the bride, so it will probably be on a beach in the Bahamas or some bullshit like that. I’m thankful every day that I have this outlet to go out to and enjoy nature each weekend. If I had it my way, my own degenerate children will be playing in these creeks and building forts in the woods years from now, because that’s the childhood we all deserve.
There’s a lot to be said about Millennials. We are, after all, a very controversial bunch. One very valid criticism I hear, though, is that many of us simply don’t take the time to take a break from all of the screens and enjoy what’s around us. Instead of watching that seventh episode of your favorite TV show on Netflix (we’ve all been there, no judgment), get out and go for hike somewhere. You live on the coast and you’re staying in for dinner tonight? Go have a picnic on the beach (but watch out for fucking seagulls).
We’re all in the prime of our lives physically (yes, even you, reading this while downing your third Mountain Dew before noon) and we owe it to ourselves to enjoy the great outdoors. I mean, think about it. Most of us spend 8-9 hours a day staring at a screen in a tiny enclosed space surrounded by your peers, another hour or so behind the wheel of a car, and then even more hours engrossed in a variety of advanced gadgets on your own time. Get out there and enjoy nature, you’ll probably even find a great new cover photo. .