Right now the world as we know it has been drastically changed. Many of us are working from home, trading family nights for facetime calls, and staying in pajamas for what is probably far too long. People are sick, businesses are struggling, workers on the frontlines are exhausted; even going to the grocery store has become a scheduled event that you have to prepare for. But, there is a bright side to all of this and that’s what we have to focus on to get us through. Many people are taking advantage of being home to spend valuable time with family and loved ones, and – you can still go outside.
Over the last few years my fiancé and I have been traveling as much as possible, but last year we went on a trip that felt particularly inspiring – we were headed back out west for a little over a week along with my Mom and her boyfriend Rick with the goal of hitting as many national parks as we could in Arizona and Utah. Along the way I decided to challenge myself by creating an illustration from each park we visited – because who doesn’t need a good homework assignment on vacation?
At one park in particular (Capitol Reef National Park) we went on a hike to go see some pools in the rocks and as we approached a pretty steep part of the hike we talked to some other hikers that were on their way back down, and had the usual “is this worth it?” conversation. Long story short, we ended up finding out that they were from Mentor, Ohio – basically right around the corner from where we live. Here in Ohio doing day-to-day life would we have talked to them? I doubt it. But being happier outside has a way of bringing people together. I didn’t realize it then, but this experience sparked something in me.
After we came back I started making more designs in my free time focused on the outdoors and decided it was time to make it something real. Thus, Happier Outside Company was born. There are so many brands focused on the niche of hiking, or fishing, or literally everything else but you don’t have to be one thing or the other – you can just be. And that is really the focus of this side project – to support however YOU do the outdoors, just be happy while you’re doing it. Since launching it on instagram I have had people reach out to me just because they connect with this simple notion, whether for physical or mental health reasons, or just because they have a love for the outdoors. No matter the reason, they feel inspired to share their stories with us and that’s pretty amazing to me.
This experience has truly taught me a lot about connecting with people no matter where they are and I think that’s a situation we can all relate to right now. So I encourage you, (with the proper social distance of course) to go outside on this Earth Day and be nice to people. Walk around your neighborhood, visit your local parks, and maybe even pick up some trash while you’re at it. There are beautiful places all around you, you just have to go spend some time outside and get some fresh air.
Visit online at Happieroutsideco.com and follow @HappierOutsideCo on instagram and facebook.
Check out what local parks are near you:
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