I’ve been asked tonnes of questions over the course of running Active Elements, but one I’ve been asked few times by readers and colleagues got me thinking; “How are you so outdoorsy?” . Is ‘outdoorsy’ really a thing? Is it a style? A culture? What does it even mean? Does it even exist?
I started assessing myself and others that were considered ‘outdoorsy’. Sure enough a trend started to emerge – despite my scepticism. I started to realise that all of my unknowing test subjects followed the same algorithm. I looked back at myself, and sure enough I too fitted what I had discovered as a ‘template’ to looking outdoorsy. So what is the template? What does it mean to be outdoorsy?
It’s what you wear
Possibly the most stand-out thing of an ‘outdoorsy’ person is their fashion sense. Practical, comfortable and durable pretty much sums up an ‘outdoorsy’ persons attire. Walking trousers or shorts (normally brightly coloured); t-shirts bearing Mammut, Black Diamond Oakley, or Patagonia logo’s (other brands are also available); durable watches with altimeters and gauges. You name it, if it has a practical use in life then chances are an ‘outdoorsy’ person owns it.Even for those that worked in formal offices, ‘outdoorsy’ elements could be found. Watches and rope / bead bracelets are a subtle give-a-way that your director is an outdoorsy type.Shoes too are often a sign. Hiking boots or trail shoes are a major clue when it comes to the outdoors types, favouring comfort and practicality over big brands such as Nike and Adidas.It goes beyond clothes too – an ‘outdoorsy’ person has an entire look going on. Normally they can be found with scruffy or short-cut hair, finger tape on their fingers, tattoo’s depicting the great outdoors. They will often have rugged looking skin, weathered from the harsh elements.So if you see someone walking past wearing a pair of Salomon trainers, a Black Diamond t-shirt, a heavy-duty watch on their wrist and scruffy hair – you’ve just seen an ‘outdoorsy’ person.
It’s what you do
It's one thing to look outdoorsy, but unless you actually do something, it won't be long before people see through your disguise. Take a look into outdoor activities you could take up in whatever spare time you have - it doesn't need to be harsh or extreme or even take up a lot of time. Go for regular strolls through the woods or along the seafront if you're lucky enough to be nearby. You'll be surprised what there is out there! If you don't have the time to be physically outdoorsy then you can always explore the world from the comfort of your own sofa by digesting travel journals and auto-biographies of famous explorers, events and sports personalities. If you're stuck where to start, take a look at the Best Books for Bold for Adventurers for a good starting place. You may even be inspired by a book and look to explore for yourself!
It’s what you say
OK, so you're dressed the part and you're spending your weekends pitched up on the side of a mountain in a tent reading a book around your campfire. That makes you outdoorsy right? Well, yes and no. You will officially be outdoorsy but no one will know about it! It's a lifestyle, so pretty much you're entire thought process will be about being outside and exploring. This will show in your conversations too. Have discussions about the latest book you've read, or the weekend trip just gone with your family or friends, that documentary that was on TV last night. You'll not only get to find like-minded people but you may discover something new too, such as a nice place to go hiking with a colleague, or a new sport to try out.
It’s in the small details
Being genuinely ‘outdoorsy’ becomes a part of your very existence and starts to impact the minute decisions you make each day. For example, buying a new mug for the office – what do you pick? A china one? Most ‘outdoorsy’ people will pass over the china mugs and instead opt for a tin or enamel mug. Why? It’s what they’re used to. Enamel mugs are more durable and can be dropped without smashing; ideal for campers and mountaineers.What about your morning coffee? Most 'outdoorsy' people are conscious of their carbon footprint and use of plastic. This means that most of them will be sporting their morning brew in a reusable bamboo coffee cup instead of the throw-away plastic ones from the coffee chains. They'll normally opt for the smaller coffee shop too, ones offering fair trade coffee and Eco-friendly brands.
So do you fit the 'outdoorsy' persona? Is there anything we've missed off? Let us know in the comments section below, we're eager to see what you think!