Expanding Your “Nature Zone”

By: Amy Camp

Increasing your comfort levels in the great outdoors

Life and career coaches, myself included, often work with their clients to recognize and expand their “comfort zones.” Imagine a comfort zone as being a small circle of activities and situations in which you feel safe or comfortable. It’s like a cozy little bubble that can be hard to step beyond. Our comfort zones can be expanded, however, and our lives will be enriched when we challenge ourselves to step out.

Just beyond the comfort zone is another, larger circle – the “learning zone.” And beyond that is the “danger zone.” (And who wants to go there? Perhaps only the adrenaline junkies among us.) Most of the good stuff is in the learning zone – personal growth, challenge, new experiences, and newfound confidence.

 

The Zones

The comfort, learning, and danger zones apply in the outdoors. Let’s think of this as the “Nature Zone.” My own nature zone (i.e., comfort zone) has been expanded over the years. A few examples:

  • A group pre-dawn bike ride in Illinois a few years ago opened my eyes to the thrill of a pitch dark trail ride and also pedaling at near freezing temperatures. I’ve always considered myself to be a fair weather rider, but a group of intrepid cyclists got me out there, and I now know that feeling the rush of the cold and seeing your breath in front of your face while biking is actually a lot of fun!
  • Or take a kayaking trip this summer with longtime Program Director Lora Woodward when she and I were scouting a route for Venture Outdoors. I got to improve my kayaking skills and become comfortable in a traditional kayak, including wearing and removing the spray skirt. I felt such a confidence boost after that trip! As for the concentric circles of the comfort, learning, and danger zones – rolling the kayak would have been in my danger zone. Luckily, we were on a waterway that made that scenario unlikely.
  • Last one (which also involved Lora): despite years of hiking and car camping, I had never backpacked before this summer. That changed with a three-person overnight on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail. The experience was incredible for me. I realized by the trip’s end that I had let not owning certain gear keep me from trail overnights, but that the real impediment was one of confidence. I didn’t know whether or not I could carry a 30 pound pack for miles on end. Guess what? I could. And you can, too.Amy Blog

All of these experiences are ones in which I pushed beyond my comfort zone and into a learning zone. I found my own personal “Nature Zone” (a really good place to be) in each outing and have been left with lasting memories and an increasing confidence to get out and push my boundaries.

Try too much all at once and you are likely to land in the danger zone, a place of panic and discomfort. How do you know? If the idea of an activity is completely fear-inducing and there’s no joyful anticipation in thinking about it, it just may be too big of a leap.

Danger Zone

Does this look like the danger zone to you or just another fun day outside?

Venture Outdoors Seems to Specialize in the Learning Zone

One of the things that I most admire about Venture Outdoors is that it creates a space that is ripe for the learning zone. The group setting with experienced guides is exactly what many people need in order to expand the activities with which they are comfortable. No doubt, there are hundreds of testimonials that support this and past trip participants whose personal comfort zones have expanded. That’s the thing about the comfort zone. It keeps expanding! For some reason, I picture the Grinch’s heart growing three times its size when I think about the comfort zone getting bigger and bigger. So, how will you expand your comfort zone—and your “nature zone”—this coming year?

 

Amy Camp is a Venture Outdoors Trip Leader and owns Cycle Forward, a nature-based coaching and consulting practice. Her private coaching sessions focus on professional growth and fulfillment, with sessions held outside on trails.

Posted in Uncategorized

OUTDOOR News

  • Getting To Know Our Staff: 12 Questions with Ian Brown

    December 12, 2017

    There’s a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into planning your favorite outdoor adventures! Our staff questionnaire series allows you to learn about those who work inside to get you outside.This week we’ve interviewed Ian Brown, our new Program Director.

    1. Briefly tell us about your background: where did you grow up, where did you go to school, and what brought you to Venture Outdoors? 

    Ian Brown Blog 1I grew up in Chillicothe, Ohio, located in the foothills of Southern Ohio. For those who don’t know, Chillicothe is home to the outdoor drama Tecumseh and was Ohio’s First Capital.  

     » Read more about: Getting To Know Our Staff: 12 Questions with Ian Brown  »

  • Expanding Your “Nature Zone”

    December 5, 2017

    By: Amy Camp
    Increasing your comfort levels in the great outdoors

    Life and career coaches, myself included, often work with their clients to recognize and expand their “comfort zones.” Imagine a comfort zone as being a small circle of activities and situations in which you feel safe or comfortable. It’s like a cozy little bubble that can be hard to step beyond. Our comfort zones can be expanded, however, and our lives will be enriched when we challenge ourselves to step out.

    Just beyond the comfort zone is another, larger circle – the “learning zone.” And beyond that is the “danger zone.” (And who wants to go there?

     » Read more about: Expanding Your “Nature Zone”  »

  • Behind the Scenes: Meet Grace

    November 28, 2017

    This week we’re happy to introduce another valuable member of our intern team, Grace Groeger! Grace is a senior at Slippery Rock University majoring in Public Relations.

    Grace Groeger1. What are you currently up to outside of Venture Outdoors? 

    Outside of Venture Outdoors, I’m currently on the big girl job hunt. It’s a scary place out there, but being able to see all the possibilities is so eye opening. Besides that I am preparing myself for a snowy winter to get out and snowboard.  

    2. What brought you to Venture Outdoors? 

    I came across Venture Outdoors just trolling through Indeed one day.

     » Read more about: Behind the Scenes: Meet Grace  »

  • In The Spirit of Thanksgiving

    November 21, 2017

     

    If you follow us on social media, you know that we’ve been participating in a #30DaysOfGratitude challenge. Every day for the last 21 days, we’ve posted about something or someone that we’re grateful for. What we’ve learned over these three weeks is that we would need an #InfiniteDaysOfGratitude challenge to showcase all that Venture Outdoors is thankful for.

    In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’re continuing with our #30DaysOfGratitude by sharing what the Venture Outdoors staff is grateful for today.

     

    Sherry and Granddaughter

     

    “I’m thankful for this little baby doll right here.

     » Read more about: In The Spirit of Thanksgiving  »

  • Lakeside and Treetops

    November 14, 2017

    By: Chrissy Ludwikowski

    As the days become shorter (and the work days seemingly longer), it can be hard for families to make time to be together, and one’s mind doesn’t normally put colder days hand-in-hand with outdoor activities. Fortunately, we live in a city that has opportunities available year-round to invoke our sense of adventure, even during our daily grind (and don’t worry, these adventures will get your blood pumping to keep you mighty warm)!

    Thanks to Venture Outdoors and Kayak Pittsburgh, my family has adopted a love for everything that the outdoors has to offer,

     » Read more about: Lakeside and Treetops  »

Kayak Pittsburgh

Sunset Paddle

Thank you for another great season!
We’ll see you on the water in 2018!

#KeepPittsburghPaddling


Featured Outing

Friday Night Lights Hike

Friday Night Lights
Friday, December 15
6:30 – 8:30 PM

Join us for a 2-hour hike offering different vantage points of our City’s spectacular skyline. We’ll take in the city-scape while hiking at a moderate pace along sidewalks, up staircases and over bridges.

SIGN UP HERE!