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Chasin’ Sunsets And Huggin’ Trees: A City Girl’s Newfound Love Of The Outdoors

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SFU chapter.

Every time I watched a movie about a bunch of young, energetic and annoyingly optimistic people with the arguably insane idea of going backcountry camping, I shivered. Holding on to my remote controller, ready to press the “take me back to another hour of tiresome browsing through Netflix” button, I was reminded that my idea of the “happy camper” wasn’t that of a bunch of youngsters wearing Patagonia fleece jackets who -armed with kayaks, Yetis and inflatable mattresses were eager to explore, nay, challenge Mother Nature. Nope, all that popped to mind was the terrifying prospect of sleeping with the stickiness of bug repellent spray glued to my skin, or the apparently insurmountable challenge of going longer than three days without washing my hair. 

After almost two years of Covid, my perspective couldn’t be more different; don’t get me wrong, day-four hair still gives me goosebumps, but the thought of spending a few days immersed in nature makes me the happiest I have ever been. 

I don’t know what happened exactly, but when one of the only things you can do to keep yourself and your community safe is to go for a bike ride, a walk or a jog surrounded with nothing but trees, lakes and rivers, well, you just have to embrace it I guess!  

The 5-minute walks, those you take fourteen times a day when you have an incredibly cute French bulldog with a peanut-sized bladder, turned into 20-minute jogs on the Stanley Park seawall. The daily walks and jogs became a ritual, a reminder of the connection between physical and mental health, an incentive to spend some time just being with no deadlines, no screens, and no commitments. 

Of course, plagued like everyone else by the millennial need to set some goals for myself in order to ultimately quantify the validity of my effort (yuck, I know), I downloaded a few apps and started dragging people on hikes; even though I’m absolutely convinced that there’s a voodoo doll version of me somewhere, my hesitant chaperones did cave and ultimately confessed how much they enjoyed spending some time outdoors. 

From walks and hikes and via a special encounter, I did find my way to exploring some breathtaking fishermen’s paradises; not only did I discover that my hair does resist to the dampest of climates, but I was also reminded of how much my body loves being close to the water, how soothing it is to listen to an incredibly fast pacing yet somehow pacific river. 

If you’d told me a few years ago that I would actually not only enjoy but also crave getting lost in the middle of nowhere in the chilly November fog only to stare at a river holding a fishing rod for five hours, I would have *probably* told you to go choke on a pickle. Long story short, I, the girl who grew up surrounded by museums and buildings older than time, the city gal who doesn’t really go out bare faced and consistently carries a purse even more bottomless than Mary Poppins’, cannot imagine going a single day without walking while staring at the sky (and then tripping over something, obviously), hugging a tree or chasing a barely visible, ever elusive sunset.

Ally is majoring in Linguistics and minoring in International Studies. She loves to do yoga, pilates and take long walks down the beach. When she’s not studying, she’s probably baking a chocolate cake!