By Skye Marthaler
“Get your boots on; it’s time for an adventure.”
This is the sentence I say to my son every time we set out from the house to go explore something new, whether it is a park, a trail, or just to one of our old stomping grounds.
I grew up on a small dairy farm in Wisconsin. It was a rural community and my childhood was spent outdoors in the woods. There was a small grove about a quarter mile from the house that was a perfect getaway. Some of my fondest memories from those early days were the times I spent roaming around, building forts, battling Imperial Stormtroopers, or fighting off the Sheriff of Nottingham’s mercenaries.
I spent a lot of time by myself, the byproduct of having a bunch of sisters who kept me on my toes. The woods provided a level of comfort and familiarity. A place where my imagination could run wild and adventure was right around every corner. I can still hear my mom calling me for me to come home, her voice echoing across the fields (If I was in trouble or super late it was first, middle, and last name.)
I now find myself in a very different time and environment. These days I live in Nashville, a city booming with over a 100 new people arriving everyday. Green spaces, while available, are not as easily accessed. Now in order to get the wild places it requires a bit of effort. My desire to be outdoors has not diminished but I find myself with a new challenge. Passing that desire onto my son.
So far we are off to a good start, he enjoys exploring new areas and has turned into a capable hiker. My challenge has been to not push too hard for him to enjoy the experience but to foster that respect and appreciation of nature so he views it in a positive light. I want him to enjoy his outings in nature, to approach it on his own terms, like I was able to at his age.
This same desire to pass on my love of the outdoors has also become part of the subtext in my web series, Rooftops of America. Showing folks that the outdoors is for everyone. There is an ulterior motive for this; besides getting people outside more there is also the push for them to take a bit of ownership of these natural treasures. I want to help people recognize the value of these places and then be willing to help preserve and protect them.
In today’s world we need more people having adventures outside, appreciating the wonder and beauty of nature. Having a compelling experience that can lead them to the realization that the world is pretty awesome and worth fighting for. Those of us who are privileged to have a platform to share our experiences have the obligation to be welcoming, understanding, and seize the opportunity to pass on our enjoyment without being patronizing.
This is a burden I am willing to shoulder to make the outdoors seem a bit more accessible to all, to pass on my love of nature and the wild places to people who may not have previously thought about it. If I have helped encourage them to get outside and find their own experience it is a success. For me it starts at home on a very personal level and goes from there. Just last week my son said to me, “Get your boots on; it’s time for an adventure.” I could not have been more proud as we walked out the door, onwards to adventure.