For every enthusiastic, outdoorsy person, there is someone who would rather stay home. Sometimes, the buzzing insects and unpredictable weather are just not the vibe.
As a former Reluctant Nature Lover myself, I once had a phase when my happiness depended only on the comfort of my bed and a good book. All I wanted was to stay indoors. Indoors was a wonderful place with no rain, no sunburns and no mosquitoes. I would watch incredulously as my dad went on his annual hunting trips, prepared to sleep multiple nights in a forest without electricity—or even a shower. How could he enjoy that? I was mortified.
If I told my younger self that I now enjoy weekly hikes and—willingly—go on multiple-day camping trips, she would have laughed in my face.
But regardless of our personal interests and comfort levels, it’s important to recognize that we are a part of nature—and nature is a part of us. Nature is the very fabric of our existence, a thread woven into the tapestry of our lives. Our bodies, designed by the same evolutionary processes that have given rise to the natural world, carry the echoes of our environment within them. Dania Rashid
Perhaps you're a seasoned adventurer or someone who wants to get off their sofa and approach the woods. Maybe you don't want to be a traditional adventurer at all—which is totally fine! "Adventurer" is a very broad title that you can define on your own. So, for those of you looking for that extra push, here are some unique outdoor activities crafted to help you—as they helped me—take a few steps closer to the Great Outdoors.
Food—a solution to every problem. One way to involve nature in your next meal is simply by having it outdoors. Picnics are perfect for this. Find a nice outdoor area (like a park—or even your backyard), set up a blanket on a flat, shaded area and eat! Make sure to dress for the weather, wear sunscreen and bring some card games or a badminton set to accompany your meal.
Another option is a bonfire. This is my favourite outdoor culinary activity. One of my core memories is having a bonfire in the backyard with all my cousins, roasting s'mores and telling scary stories into the night. For bonfires, check local regulations, choose a safe fire pit and Leave No Trace. S'mores are extra delicious with enjoyable company!
Want to take one step further? Go to a nearby U-Pick Farm and pick your local fruits. Then, thread them onto skewers for colourful and tasty fruit kebabs—drizzled with honey or chocolate for extra sweetness.Dania Rashid
Spending time with nature doesn’t have to be complicated. All you need to do is dress for the weather and put on some sunscreen. Walks are a great way to take a break from the smartphones that dominate our lives. They trigger the release of endorphins in our body that promote feelings of happiness and well-being. You can be alone in the environment, a song playing through your headphones and the wind blowing away all your fears.
When I was in high school, my mom and I went on weekly strolls around our neighbourhood at sunset. Those walks became a milestone in my journey towards embracing the outdoors. I eventually came to love those walks because watching the sunset was like being frozen in time. Streaks of pink, orange and purple would blend seamlessly, casting long shadows across the street—a poetic farewell to the day.Dania Rashid
I bet Shakespeare wrote, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” while sitting in a park with a notebook in his hand. Nature is art’s best muse. Nature provides a spacious and unconfined setting, a source of endless inspiration for the greatest artists. Creating art in nature fosters a deep connection to the natural world, whether you are a photographer, writer or painter.
The colours, textures and patterns found in the natural world can offer painters and sketchers a new perspective of the world. Take your canvas and find a scene that captures your attention and moves you. Sketching in nature is a dance of lines and shades, capturing the organic landscapes with a pencil and paper.
For my fellow writers, take it from me—nature is your best friend. When lacking creativity or amidst writer’s-block, nature has been my guiding light. Numerous remarkable poems have been written about nature, yet there is no shortage of the inspiration nature provides. Mindful writing is also a great way to connect with nature. Just grab your journal and write about what you see, feel, smell and hear.
If you lean more towards photography, take a photograph of the aesthetics of the wilderness. Capture the moment when a bee lands on a flower petal or when a leaf makes its descent towards the ground. Preserve the soft, golden glow of a sunrise and the rapid flow of a waterfall. Make the moment last forever.Dania Rashid
So, to the reluctant nature lover reading this: we invite you to lean into the embrace of nature. Nature's influence extends beyond the tangible elements. It reaches into our body and soul, and the things that define our human experience. Even amid our daily lives, nature persists as an important part of us, quietly influencing and reminding us of our relationship with the Great Outdoors. Make the effort. Trust me, it’s worth it.