In late 2021 Sara Khalil came to us wanting to teach women, girls, and people…
by Cheyenne Knight, former Kayak Pittsburgh Marketing Intern
As someone who grew up in an extremely rural area where outdoor adventure could be found within a 15-minute drive in all directions, Pittsburgh’s abundant green space appealed to my inner aesthete. With Schenley Park practically in my backyard, Frick Park a few miles down the road, and places like Ohiopyle only a drive away, I knew that I would be able to discover a little piece of home wherever I wandered in the city and the surrounding areas.
Once I moved to Pittsburgh and began classes, however, I spent less time outdoors and found myself overwhelmed with the feeling of being trapped and stagnant. In moments of frustration or stress, I would take a breath, lace up my sneakers, and head to the trails in Schenley to just get lost for a bit. I don’t know what I was looking to lose—maybe it was myself, my worries, my fears. Whatever it was that I wanted to lose, I lost, but I also gained so much from those moments spent outdoors. I gained insight on life, a sense of peace amidst the chaos, and a heightened perception of the impermanence of my problems. Sometimes when I let life take control of me, I forget about the necessity of time spent outside and just how beneficial fresh air can be.
So for 2017, my New Years Resolution is to get outside more. Finding an organization like Venture Outdoors helped me recognize that getting outside was a lot easier than I had imagined. I didn’t have to set aside a whole day or a whole weekend in order to get my nature fix—I could find adventure almost anywhere, and if I couldn’t find it, I could make my own. As I train for the Pittsburgh half marathon this spring, I am going to embrace the cold weather and try to train primarily outside. If I can’t find the time to get out and explore, I will set out a little earlier for class and follow a new route that takes me through the quieter, greener spaces of Oakland.
Getting outside isn’t always a matter of time—it is a matter of putting yourself first. This year, I challenge you to set your own outdoors resolutions. As John Muir once wrote, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature’s sources never fail.”