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“OWA is a great experience in a beautiful part of Colorado. All the counselors are really helpful, fun, and flexible. They help you safely step outside of your comfort zone and personalize your experience. I became close with other campers and built good relationships”- Sage, age 14
Austin, TX

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Staying Safe in the Mountains: Surviving Your Return

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You’re on a trip. Life is great. The forest is your bedroom. The trees are your bathroom. You wear your socks three days in a row and it’s not weird. It’s life. Returning from these adventures, however, can be challenging. You may smell, but the stoke is real. It is important to remember that others may not understand your enthusiasm. Here are a few tips to help you survive the transition from mountain top high to “real life” reality:

Do: Plan bathroom breaks accordingly

In the back country, the world is your bathroom. Gotta go? Just stop, find a tree and go. No stress. No holding it in. No waiting. However, in the front country that won’t fly. So if you plan on staying hydrated upon your return, make sure there’s a restroom near you!

Don’t: Bring all of your “cool” back country habits to the front country

Those crusty “lucky” shorts that you wore for every send you had up the crag? Don’t wear them for your job interview. Washing your bowl out with dirt? Go ahead and use the dishwasher. The back country is a special, accepting place. Keep that in mind while trying to transition back into normal life*.

A little dirty never hurt anyone in the back countryDo: Shower everyday (or almost every day)

You are no longer in the land “Where the Smell Doesn’t Matter”. You can get by in the back country without showering. However, co workers, bosses, friends, family, dogs, cats, etc. will greatly appreciate if you shower more often once you’re home. This also applies to wearing deodorant, brushing your teeth, brushing your hair, and the occasional shave as well.

Don’t: Keep all of your dirty clothes in your pack until your next adventure.

Don’t be lazy when you get home. Get those rank clothes out and wash them ASAP. The longer you wait, the more likely you’ll pass out from the fumes the next time you unzip that zipper.

The stoke is realDo: Share your stories with those who want to hear

There’s the co- worker who loves to crush rock every weekend. Or your Wednesday night “shred the trails” buddy. Or your mom, who by default, loves to hear all of your stories. Share the stoke. Tell them about the time you got lost on some gnarly trails, but it was totally worth the extra hours on the bike. Let them know about the nice people who told you where the best hot springs were after hours of climbing. Find those that love to share your passion and spread the joy!

Don’t: Share your stories with those who are bitter

While you were gone for a week filled of sends and mountain top highs, others were at work. Hopefully, they will sincerely want to hear your stories and feed off of your stoke. However, keep in mind not everyone will be longing to hear how you outran a lightning storm on the descent of your latest summit project. Keep those stories for those above.

Do: Start planning your next trip

The stoke is high. Your passion is real. Keep motivated and start planning that next adventure. Maybe, it’s a simple day trip to the local trails next weekend or a two week climbing trip to Thailand next fall. Whatever it is, having the next adventure planned will keep your mind occupied when your cubicle begins to feel a little too small.

Don’t: Quit your job and become an adventure blogger

Or maybe do. Who am I to tell you not to follow your dreams. Climb on. Bike on. Hike on. Row on. Adventure on. Write on.

 

*normal life refers to that of what most would consider “normal”. Even if climbing up rock walls, living out of a backpack, or biking mud covered trails is normal for you, the majority of the population may disagree.