For our next installment of Self Improvement Month Ambassador Allison tell us how a major life event led her to new beginnings. For the first installment click here, and for the second installment click here.

I guess I always loved the outdoors but never knew it until last year.

I grew up in a very small suburb of Los Angeles with concrete and patches of grass here and there. Yet my mom always made sure we got outside.

As a kid my family spent weeks every summer in Yosemite Valley where I learned what fresh air and freedom were! In my suburb mom always watched closely where I was at all time.  In Yosemite she let me roam. She trusted nature and I learned that I could too.

When I was 13 we did this car trip in my mom’s white Ford Bronco across Utah, Colorado and Arizona, seeing marvelous parks like Mesa Verde, Bryce Canyon, Zion and of course the Grand Canyon. I still remember the most minute details of that trip because it was the best trip ever!

I fell in total and utter love with the feel of being outside with the dirt, sun and trees. But I never pursued my passion to be outside, once I hit high school then college then marriage I left the outdoors behind. Sure I camped but that was when we only planned trips as a family, never just on my own.

I was married just short of 20 years and that ended in 2015. I found myself emotionally lost yet with that sense of freedom again!  That was a very familiar feeling from my childhood. After so many years of no trails and no outdoor adventures I connected with nature again! I started hiking for the first time in my mid-40’s!

Let me back up a bit. This didn’t happen right away.  I had some growing pains and awkward times of figuring out who single Allison was. Last time this happened I was 22 years old. And those days are long gone.

I didn’t truly hike until late 2017 when I grabbed my old running shoes and headed to Redwood Regional Park in Oakland, CA. This place is magical to me! Redwoods in the middle of a hilltop in Oakland? Can you picture that?

Now there was no stopping me!

I started to research local hikes around me, downloaded apps to see where to go next and where I can take my dog and looked for groups like-minded women to talk to. Like HLAW.

I was free again!

This is not a story of “poor me, I never hiked while I was married”, I had every chance to yet never took it. I still wonder why I pushed that urge to get outside aside during those years. They say women lose themselves in other roles when they marry and have children. I was wife, mother, parents club volunteer, cook, housekeeper, and taxi driver. Not hiker. Not truly Allison.

Hiking represents freedom to me. My body is healthy, my mind sharp and they’re both very willing. In the woods I can walk all day and explore. I love to explore! Some hikes make you feel you’re the first person there.

I’m truly Allison again!

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