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  • Writer's pictureMicah M Rodrigues


It's strange how easily we can convince ourselves of who we are, or more importantly, who we aren't.

Many years ago, for one reason or another, I had decided that I was not an outdoorsy person. In a similar vein, I had also convinced myself that I was an extrovert (more on that another day).

But recently, after a string of inspiring stories (Cheryl Strayed's Wild, for one) I started to really think about my outdoor-ness, or supposed lack thereof. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how little of that narrative is actually true. Some of my best memories in life (outside of family, friends, etc.) were moments I spent outside. To be specific, moments I spent WALKING outside.

I was a long-distance track and field kid, not for the competition but for the grass and trees I could run through. I joined a canoe camp in Kilarney one summer when I was a pre-teen without any of my friends (if you know a pre-teen, you know this is a big deal) simply because I wanted to be in the woods. As I got older, it was less about forests and more about walking. Long city walks that would take me hours on end. When I look back on it now, walking saw me through many a rough patch in my late teens and early 20s.

When I packed up and moved to Paris at 24, I spent the majority of those months walking. Partly because that's what you do there. Partly because I was homesick. And partly because that is all I could afford. When the pandemic hit, I took to the pavement again. Walking in the neighbourhood and in nearby parks, completing 2 virtual challenges (real walking, virtual trails). The first through Giza (75 km), the second through the Cote d'Azur (116 km).

I went to Whistler, BC for the first time and awed my way through a 7 day holiday. Snowshoeing, Snowmobiling and just walking. Walking anywhere and everywhere I could, soaking in the majesty of that part of the world. When I came back to Toronto, I genuinely and intensely missed the mountains and forests.

Whenever possible the kids and I are driving somewhere to find waterfalls or pretty trails, creeks, or rivers. I drove the kids to camp this summer for upwards of 4 hours a day, just to get them into the woods.

So I am calling it. Here. Today. I am not not outdoorsy. In fact, I LOVE being outdoors, walking amongst the trees, plains, and valleys. Not only am I outdoorsy. I have decided to begin day hiking in and around Ontario, both for the beauty of now and for the many hiking possibilities to be found when we move to Portugal.

Never one to pass up a learning opportunity, I have also added myself to the waiting list for a virtual backpacking program. I am not sure I will ever camp on a mountain top, or desire to go anywhere where I need bear spray. But I am ready to see what possibilities are out there for me. The real me. The one who likes a little adventure. Is strong and capable. Is slightly daring and definitely hopeful.

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