As somewhat of a late starter when it comes to outdoor adventures I had my fair share of objections and ideas about what it meant to be an 'outdoorsy' type of person that held me back. Here's what held me back for way too long.
1. It's not for me
My mind wasn't even open to the possibility of being an outdoorsy person. Sure I'd done my fair share of family hill walks as a reluctant teen but anything more adventurous? I hadn't even considered it, that was something other people did. More athletic, slightly crazier people, and generally not people who looked like me.
2. Being too self conscious
This one is my speciality, especially when it comes to body issues. Now I'm never going to be a size zero but neither am I hugely overweight so it is something that probably nobody beyond me thinks but in my head I'm not skinny enough to be into yoga or I don't look like those runners on Instagram is something I really have to fight. Newsflash, everybody is too busy thinking about themselves to worry about your hangups.
3. Fear of failure
High achievers of the world unite, we have nothing to lose but our pride! Now I'm a fairly academic person, give me an exam I can pass it. Why, because I'm too anxious not to study for the damn thing! However when it comes to physical skills, that takes practice, and it takes a willingness to fail (sometimes many, many times!) before you get it right. For many people that's a hell of a stressful learning curve, and it's generally not something that can be done in private when you're talking outdoor pursuits. 'But I'll look stupid' is a thought that can stop you having a whole lot of fun.
4. Going it alone
If you're not part of family or a group of friends who are already into outdoor adventures taking one up can be hard. Not having a ready made adventure buddy puts a lot of people off getting started which is such a shame given the amazing coaches out there and opportunities to meet new people. Being a bit (read huge) introvert myself I can sympathise. For a long time I stuck to things I knew I could do solo like running, bouldering and cycling (cue surprised looks being a lone female!), but when it came to surfing I knew I needed to learn in a group session before I could be confident enough to go out solo. Turns out being around other people made it way more fun, who knew?!
5. Money worries
Us Brits hate to talk about it (although not so much in the news and online...) but money underpins most things we do. Up until a few years ago I was pretty much broke and either paying back debts or saving for a tiny deposit to buy my first home and then spending every spare penny trying to make it a nicer place to live. At that point my attitude to outdoor adventure was basically is it free? And luckily a lot of it was. I ran, I hiked and I cycled, but I'd definitely think twice about a trip to the indoor climbing wall and activities requiring more coaching and upfront investment in kit were off the table. You've got to go with what you're comfortable with, and that can sadly be a matter of finances. That being said there is usually something you can do, like finding someone with expertise to tag along with and borrowing or hiring kit before buying into a new pursuit.
6. Lack of time
Yes you do have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyonce but I'm guessing you also don't have her chef, personal trainer, PA and other associated staff, so give yourself a break. You don't have to be out there training for an Ultra Marathon at 5am every morning, but you can embrace the trend for 'Micro Adventures'. Basically all it means is instead of feeling like you have to blank out a whole day or even a whole weekend to head out on an adventure, plan one in around work hours. Try a head torch run after dark or an early morning surf session. The result? Smug satisfaction.
7. Lack of energy
Working 40 hours weeks? Commuting hours every day? Just want to collapse when you get through the door? I feel you. Squeezing outdoor adventures into your schedule can be a big ask, when half of you just wants to lie down in a darkened room and sleep until Monday. When I slip into those energy slumps I have to remind myself how much better I feel with just a little outdoor activity, even if it's a 20 minute run on my lunch break now and again.
8. Skill level
This one links right back to fear of failure, or more accurately, fear of looking like a damn fool. Nobody wants to be the underprepared hiker that has to call out Mountain Rescue, or the lost kayaker calling out the coastguard, so having the right level of skills and experience is key. There are so many fantastic guides out there that can help teach you what you need to know to adventure safely, so don't miss out just because you're scared of looking stupid.
9. The right kit
So you don't want to look like a total newbie, and similarly you feel like a complete idiot walking into a store with no idea what to buy. I get it, I found shopping for outdoor gear a complete minefield and although I'm sure the staff in my local stores would be super helpful sometimes it's difficult even to know what to ask for! That's why I created Breathe Outdoor, to make it easy to find what you need and cut through all the jargon and technical specs that, lets be honest, half of us are never going to need to understand anyway. Keep an eye out for our kit list series so you know exactly what you need for each adventure.
Hopefully sharing this run down of my barriers has helped you get through your own, if it has share your experiences with me by tagging @breatheoutdoor over on Instagram.
Image credit:Will Porada