One of the things that draws me to the outdoors is the simplicity of being in nature.

There’s something special about being able to carry everything we need for a few days on our backs. Days spent in the mountains help me realize that I really don’t need much to be happy.

For the past few years I’ve been trying to break through that busy-ness barrier. My goal has been to live a simpler life.

Most of the time I fail miserably, I’m no Thoreau. But it doesn’t stop me from craving simplicity.

Lately I’ve been focused on simplicity as it pertains to physical things. You know, trying to get rid of clutter, find a practical space for everything that I own and keep my home in order.

But yesterday I had a lesson in simplicity as it pertains to relationships.

Last fall I joined a nationwide outdoor group in a volunteer leadership capacity. At the time I thought the the organization was a good fit. I believed in the mission, I liked the people who founded the group, I liked a lot of things about it. But once I was into the group an element of chaos entered my life in the form of social media updates, emails, phone calls, rules and restrictions. It’s hard to explain but my participation in the group just got to be overwhelming.

When the group started to make several decisions that I didn’t agree with I knew it was time to go. It was like breaking up with someone who you really like but know you aren’t compatible with.

To make a long story short I tried to leave the group quietly but my departure caused an outpouring of emotion. Communication was misunderstood, feelings were hurt, friendships were severed and it was a hard day.

But this morning I woke up. The sky was blue, the birds were singing, the sunshine hit my face and I felt like a burden had been lifted from my shoulders. The chaos, the negativity, the confusion–it was all gone. The complexity of the organization is wiped from my daily life and I can live simply. My decision felt good and I was happy.

At the end of the day it’s good to sit back, think about things that we can change in our lives and how to change them so we can be more in tune with our natural selves and the natural environment that we all love and crave.

Every once in a while I might stray from traditional hiking topics and that’s okay because life is complex and messy and the outdoors helps us deal with all of those things. Now it’s your turn … how do you feel about simplicity in life? What do you do to try to live a simpler life? To reduce things like clutter, chaos and negativity? Is it hard?


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