5 Ways Not to Be a Jerk (in the Outdoors).

5 Ways Not to Be a Jerk (in the Outdoors).

I mean, obviously, there are more than five...but these ones are pretty basic. Nothing too serious either (except Patrick Stewart).  Say “hello” to other people you meet in remote places. I find it incredibly bizarre to hike/ski past other people in the woods and say nothing. Why are you pretending not to see me? Are you on a silent retreat? (Wear a sticker or something!) Maybe what is even weirder is when I say “hello” and you just stare back at me. Maybe you don’t speak English, which is totally fine. But, you,…continue reading →

5 Ways Not to Be a Jerk (in the Outdoors).

I mean, obviously, there are more than five…but these ones are pretty basic. Nothing too serious either (except Patrick Stewart). 

Say “hello” to other people you meet in remote places.

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I find it incredibly bizarre to hike/ski past other people in the woods and say nothing. Why are you pretending not to see me? Are you on a silent retreat? (Wear a sticker or something!) Maybe what is even weirder is when I say “hello” and you just stare back at me. Maybe you don’t speak English, which is totally fine. But, you, you probably do speak English, but maybe you are still on silent retreat. Okay, in this situation—a quick smile or nod works just fine. I’m not asking for a discussion on climate change. A simple, short, polite human interaction will do just fine, thanks. I don’t want to talk about the election with you either. Please, no.

Don’t compare yourself to anyone else–unless you are, like, actually competing. 

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(I actually have no idea what is going on here, but it looks amazing). Anyway…my best example of this is in the downhill skiing world. Sure, I grew up skiing on a tiny hill and then pretty much didn’t ski for ten years due to time/school/money, etc. and because it just wasn’t a priority for me (I still don’t downhill ski that much). So anyway, I am a pretty mediocre skier. Some of my friends are crazy excellent skiers and for a long time I really hated to ski with them. I mean, nobody wants to be the worst! Or even in the middle! But then I realized, who the hell cares? (Another remedy for this is to bring along people who didn’t grow up in a place with snow or who have never skied before…no comparisons, of course). Just because you aren’t the best at something (or it isn’t your top priority), doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself while doing it! (Isn’t that the point?) Even if you are pretty good at something, you are probably not Ashima Shirashi level good anyway, so…

 

Do not judge and belittle people who don’t have the greatest gear.

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Again, on the downhill skiing topic. My significant other did not have the opportunity to grow up skiing and neither do a lot of other people. He started skiing on his dad’s ancient (I mean, ancient) equipment because we really couldn’t afford anything else at the time (this also resulted in one trip to the ER so I don’t recommend it). We’ve since upgraded our equipment over time by being aware of sales, time of season, etc. But, in case you haven’t noticed—skiing is not an inexpensive sport. Not everyone can afford skiing (or insert other sport) or the latest & best gear (much less any gear for that matter). That said, the person that just buys all the latest and greatest gear and is really just “picking up” skiing because they can “pick up” any old expensive pastime is probably a jerk anyway, so poke fun at them instead. Just kidding (sort of). Also, while I really hate that I need to mention this–people who do outdoor activities/sports/whatever come in many shapes and sizes and colors and genders. So none of that body shaming crap either. Geez.

Don’t hate on the beginners.

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I am totally guilty. You are wearing all cotton and a Jansport backpack to go hiking? Okay, so there is a difference between being totally unprepared and unsafe and just being a “beginner.” While those unprepared can put themselves and others in danger, a beginner is (ideally) trying to learn. Or even if you aren’t exactly a beginner, maybe you get lazy and forget to bring a lighter or matches on a three-day backpack (but you totally remember to bring your kite). Or maybe you’ve been doing something a long, long time, but this is the first time you’ve learned something new about it! There are things I would love to get into like backcountry skiing and rock-climbing, but there are the obvious barriers (money and time) and the less obvious barriers like, “Am I too old to start something like that?” (I am thirty, so no). “How can I learn without making a fool of myself?” (You probably will make a fool out of yourself). Right. So, discouraging yourself from learning new things because you don’t want to be a beginner is not the best way to start. When in doubt, watch this video of a 77 year-old grandma weightlifting more than you. There. You’re welcome.

Do not hang your damn cooler on a food pole. 

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Wait, how did you bring an entire cooler on a backpack? Oh, right. You boated in. No sympathy. Also, garbage bags stuffed to the brim probably won’t last long, which may result in dumped food and animal issues. I don’t know. If you have the choice between a cooler and a garbage bag, I guess I would choose the cooler? This is really just an annoyance. And, squirrels.

 

*Featured image: from the internet. 

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