If you have a love for the outdoors, you know there is a natural high that comes with summiting a peak, rafting a Class V rapid, off-road bicycling or catching a 40-pound fish.
One adventure down and you’re likely talking about or planning the next one.
Though you may fit any one of a handful of outdoors stereotypes (hipster, craft-beer snob, Chaco-wearer, Subaru-driver or granola-and-organic-yogurt eater), you have a big heart and enthusiasm for life that others are drawn to.
Here are 10 ways being an outdoors enthusiast has made you a better person:
1. You have a greater appreciation for the things we often take for granted.
When you spend months without a hot shower, sleeping on rocky surfaces or sweating through your last pair of clean clothes on the trail, the moment you get them all back is the closest to paradise you’ll ever come across.
Without access to the niceties of being in the real world, you'll find yourself having a greater appreciation for them.
2. Your life is more interesting.
When you’ve done a thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail, rafted the Gauley River in West Virginia, kayaked the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin or jumped out of an airplane for the first time, you end up with a slew of stories to tell.
People are drawn to that sort of excitement, and they make great conversation starters. You’ll often find yourself connecting with more people because of those experiences.
3. You have a greater sense of self.
Being in nature provides a lot of opportunity for self-reflection and introspection. You dissect your life, you push your limits and you come to find that you’re capable of a lot more than you thought.
Mix that all together, and your confidence about who you are, what you want and what you expect out of life will be pretty spot on.
4. You put more emphasis on collecting experiences about materialistic things.
You know that at the end of your life, it won’t matter what car you drove, what kind of house you lived in or whether or not you had the latest version of technology equipment.
Your hunger for adventure means you value creating lasting memories that no one can take away from you.
Whether it's roasting marshmallows over lava on top of a volcano in Guatemala, seeing bioluminescence in Puerto Rico or sharing a meal and laughs with friends over a campfire, you’ll know what it feels like to truly live, not just exist.
5. You are more flexible.
If you love the great outdoors, you know not everything goes as planned. Road conditions, weather, trail closings, injuries — your plans can pretty much change on a whim.
Still, you rarely complain when things don't go well because you know how to make the best of any situation.
6. You’re healthier, physically and mentally.
If you’re an outdoors enthusiast, your body is constantly moving. From walking to hiking to kayaking, the energy your body expends being physically active is much higher than those who find themselves glued to the couch.
Science has proven that such activity helps fight certain conditions, like cancer, obesity, depression and heart disease.
Thus, your quality of life and sense of well-being is probably higher than those toughing it out in the indoors.
7. You become a fun-loving, free-spirited person.
Your enthusiasm for life is unparalleled and your free spirit means you are always up for last-minute adventures.
More importantly, you have a "say yes to mostly anything" attitude, and you generally just like to have a good time, no matter what you are doing.
When you find peace in nature, you carry fewer burdens on your shoulder. People love being around you because of that.
8. You preserve the environment.
No one appreciates nature more than an outdoors enthusiast. You know "the earth does not belong to man" and that you have a responsibility to leave behind a healthy environment for future generations.
You know natural resources are precious, and you cause the least amount of harm possible. You recycle, leave no trace behind and respect wildlife. Getting back to the basics is your forte.
9. You become a better girl/boyfriend.
You’re pretty low maintenance and have no problem scrapping the expensive, fancy dinners for a simple hike through the woods or going to the Saturday farmers' market.
More importantly, you’re fairly independent and don’t feel like it’s a requirement to spend every waking moment with your significant other.
You find that being in a relationship doesn’t mean two people becoming one.
Instead, you realize you’re an individual, independent of your relationship, so you’re more likely to nurture your wants, needs and desires, as well as those of your partner.
10. You find value in solitude.
In everyday society, doing things alone (e.g. going to a movie, eating at a restaurant) is often met with judgment from others.
Though being immersed in the outdoors and doing activities with other like-minded people is fun, you also find that doing all those things alone provides many benefits.
You have ample opportunities to process the events of your life; you might be inspired to write sitting next to a lake; you are better able to connect with others and you aren’t afraid to be alone with yourself because you know solidarity does not equal loneliness.
Simply put: If you love the outdoors, own your awesomeness (even if you are a hipster, craft-beer snob, Chaco-wearing, Subaru-driving, granola-and-organic-yogurt eating kind of person).