How To Live An Outdoorsy Lifestyle: Step One

How many times this week have you scrolled through your Instagram feed and been envious of someone’s gorgeous outdoor photos?

Words by Erin Sullivan of Erin Outdoors, photos by Ali V. This post is the second in a four-part series on BLDG25 about challenging yourself and living adventurously. 

How many times this week have you scrolled through your Instagram feed and been envious of someone’s gorgeous outdoor photos?

Instagram is a highlight reel, and for many, that highlight reel involves travel photos… beautiful images of people gazing out over mountains, the beach, a balcony somewhere gorgeous. Instagram is certainly a way to curate the most photogenic moments of your life– often the ones that show how adventurous you are or have been. I want you to know that I am absolutely included in that category, but, I do spend a lot of time outside.


Infiniti Bra, Knotted Tee, Virgo Legging


My first time backpacking was on a 30-day wilderness course that totally kicked my ass. I didn’t know what I was doing, and that’s honestly been the theme for a lot of my time outdoors. Most of the past three years of travel has been a result of trial-and-error, but I eventually got to a point where I was leading canoe trips for the Boy Scouts, guiding backpacking expeditions in Australia, and driving a van full of teenagers to a glacier in Alaska.

I’m guessing you might not want to do all of that. But if you are looking to live a more outdoorsy lifestyle in general, here are my tips:

First, don’t judge yourself for any places you haven’t been yet or things you haven’t tried. I brought up the FOMO Instagram thing because it’s so freaking easy to compare yourself to other people on Instagram. Unfollow any accounts right now that are not inspiring you. Try to transition jealousy to motivation.

Start small and move past intimidation. If you live in a city, explore a new part of it. If you normally run 2 miles, run 2.5 today. And instead of your normal evening routine, tonight, look up local hikes. It doesn’t have to be a huge mountain.




Next, make a plan. I often wish I had an outdoorsy fairy godperson who would plan out my adventures, but I don’t, so planning is important. Pick a hike and a day. Where is it? How long is it? What’s the weather like? Find a good packing list. Always bring a first aid kit and a rain jacket. Overload yourself with information, and make it a habit.

Then go.

Prepare enough so that you have more information than you think you need, but also know that you will make mistakes. Your photos might portray a more perfect experience than it actually was, but honestly, that’s how most of these things go. Flaws and imperfections are at the true heart of adventure.

This is not about getting outside to get the perfect photo for Instagram. It’s about turning your curiosity into your reality– about challenging yourself, and living outside of what is comfortable for you.

Make the choice.


Erin runs a blog called Erin Outdoors, which is a documentation of her experiences traveling and out in the backcountry. For more about Erin, check out her blog at and her Instagram at @erinoutdoors, and be sure to follow her on FP Me for even more inspiration!

Ali V. is a photographer based in Boulder, Colorado. Find her more of her work at or on Instagram at @alisonvagnini.

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8 years ago
Megan b
8 years ago

Great post! Definitely willing to give this outdoor adventuring a try. I’ve been stuck in an “I have no idea what to do after work” slump. And I definitely need to get more outdoor activity in.

8 years ago

Such a motivational post! I fight with myself pretty frequently on getting outside more often. If only I spent as much time outdoors as I do on Pinterest & Instagram… Oops!
-Amanda Machell

8 years ago

This is so great, I am trying to embrace an outdoorsy lifestyle as well! I’ll be moving to the mountains in BC in a week just to make that dream a reality, but a wilderness course sounds like an amazing thing to do as well. I agree that it is a choice, one we can all make, and a very rewarding one to say the least :)