As my family enjoys the summer in Alaska on our family gap year we are slowing down (a new adventure for us). Part of this gap year was designed to meet up and connect more deeply with adventurous families and one family in particular was sparked by having a guest on the podcast. Amy Buschatz was a guest in 2022 and after we recorded she nonchalantly suggested that when we come to Alaska we could stay with her. I warned her that I don’t pass up invitations like that. Apparently she has offered to many of her podcast guests and no one has ever followed up until she met us. A few weeks ago we parked our RV in Amy’s driveway. My oldest son went with her oldest son to high school adventure camp with the youth group and I got to experience Friday Fling and hike the Butte (a 1-mile staircase to heaven) complete with views of Knik Glacier and Bald Eagle soaring above us. Given the connection to our point in time experience in Alaska, I thought I’d bring this episode back for a feature today.
Amy’s message is very similar to our effort of building a foundation of simple adventures and discovering the adventures that can happen just beyond your backyard. In 2016 Amy left behind life as she knew it and moved with her husband and two sons to Alaska, looking for a fresh start and more time in the great outdoors. While Amy had a background as a reporter, editor, runner, and Army wife she was not an expert in designing a life in all things outdoorsy. She created the Humans Outside podcast to help people like her get outside and love it. But just talking about getting outside wasn’t enough. Since September 2017 she has spent at least 20 consecutive minutes outside every single day.
1. Alaska is full of people looking to get away from something and experience a fresh start. While there were many reasons that led to Amy’s family moving to Alaska you don’t need to move to Alaska to experience the transformation of spending time outside. A change in mindset can be experienced anywhere. Sometimes that is easier to do with a change in scenery.
2. We are conditioned to do things as humans that make us feel good. It is a great day when the things that feel good are also good for you.
3. There is therapeutic adventure and there is adventure therapy. Going outside makes you feel good, and one is using a licensed mental health clinician to work with you through the adventure experience.
4. After a year of living in Alaska where the purpose for the move was to be outside more, she wasn’t actually leaning into that in reality. She challenged herself on Memorial Day 2017 to go outside every single day between then and Labor Day 2017.
5. At the end of the 3+ month experiment of going outside everyday she realized she liked the experience, she felt better and liked how many new things she had done. She wondered what would happen if she kept doing it for a year.
6. To mimic the Happiness Project, Amy decided to create rules she would follow as a part of her everyday outside challenge. This was critical for her success to create a meaningful benefit.
7. One rule she created was to define what counted as outdoor time everyday. After some research a healthy dosage of outside time was 20 minutes. Combined with the fact that 20 minutes was an amount of time she would actually do each day. Her accountability was to post a picture every day on instagram and began using the hashtag #humansoutisde365 as a way to find the photos after.
8. Outside is Outside, the challenge gave her permission to just be outside doing whatever she wanted. She did want to push herself to try new things such as classic country-country skiing, dog sledding, among other things.
9. She signed up for a course called Becoming an Outdoors Woman, which is offered every state (she believes) sponsored by the state Fish and Game department. In Alaska, they offer a 3-day retreat which exposes her to experiences such as skinning and hide prep, a chainsawing course, and downhill skiing. After forcing herself to spend time outside and try new things, new things don’t seem so scary.
10. When you realize what is outside your back door and you are intentional about exploring it, so many more opportunities open up to you. The practice of being aware and intentional.
11. Outside is always new, because outside is always changing. Even if you do the same trail the rest of your life you will encounter something new on that trail, whether you see something new or not depends on how much attention you are paying to what you are doing.
12. While mountains and the Grand Canyon and all the epic adventures are great, Amy challenges us to experience adventures where we already are in a new light.
To follow or connect with Amy
Resources mentioned in this episode
Humans Outside Challenge: https://humansoutside.com/challenge/
Episode: How to use the outdoors as Therapy with Judith Sadora https://humansoutside.com/podcasts/judith-sadora-how-use-outdoors-therapy/
Book: The Four Tendencies, by Gretchen Rubin (affiliate link)
Book: The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin (affiliate link)
Outside Magazine Episode: https://www.outsideonline.com/podcast/afghanistan-soldier-tbi-trauma-recovery/
Book: 52 Ways to Walk, by Annabel Streets (affiliate link)
Disclaimer: Since I share family adventure strategies with awesome people like you, I sometimes share affiliate links for products I use and love, or were recommended in this episode. If you take action (i.e. Subscribe, make a purchase) after clicking the link , I’ll earn some coffee money, which I promise to drink while creating more content to support families connecting through adventure.