No More Excuses: Opt Outside

This post was originally published by us on Conscious Wanderlust, a collective of stories, essays and advice from female travelers across the nation. 

Last year, REI shocked the world with their announcement that they would be closed and paying their employees to go outside on Black Friday.

This year, the #OptOutside revolution is bigger than ever before, and we want you to be a part of it.

The campaign is a movement, a statement, a step toward taking back the experience of being outdoors. It’s a simple way of giving people a reason to get outside. REI’s PR team admitted that the campaign would be a success even if it meant only giving 12,000 of their own employees the day to spend time outdoors and with their family.

But it’s become so much more. A snowball of more than 150 retailers in the National Parks department and hundreds other retailers nationwide announced their plans to close and participate.

The #OptOutside movement will continue to grow as generations stop buying into Black Friday. According to Recode, that’s already happening.

I’ve heard too many excuses for why we use the day after Thanksgiving to, a) stay inside and let the calories from the day before sink in, or 2) get up at ungodly hours of the night/day to stand in line and buy things. Here are some (invalid, in my opinion) defenses, and their rebuttals:

Excuse #1: There’s nothing to do where I live.

REI is calling B.S. on this one. They’ve created #OptOutside online to help you search for outdoor activities near you. From low-stress hikes to high-intensity biking and climbing, if you’re physically capable, there is no excuse for sitting at home or shopping all day:

– Hiking and trail running

– Mountain biking

– Skiing and snowboarding

– Climbing

– Family-friendly activities

– Dog-friendly activities

Figure out where you’re going – several parks have free admission on Black Friday! – and get outside.

Excuse #2: I’ll be stuck with family all day.

You might be tied up with family commitments all day for holiday celebrations, but who says that means you’re stuck inside? It might not be everyone’s first choice, but getting the group out for an activity or hike might just be what everyone needs.

Sometimes it’s hard to find an activity that everyone will put up with, so here’s a few that all generations can get on board with to add to your holiday traditions:

– Trail walking

– A low-moderate hike

– Dog park with the family animals

– Ice skating

– Birdwatching

– Snowshoeing

Family members still not interested? Make it unique.

– Set up outdoor games like giant Jenga, bean bags or relay races (P.S. Kubb is a great winter lawn game for those that can’t enjoy green grass year-round) and start a family tournament

– Lead a scavenger hunt around town or your backyard – incentives for the winning team included!

– Walk with intention: take a group walk to the local store to get ingredients for a dessert or to rent a classic holiday movie

Excuse #3: But what about all the deals I’m missing out on?

There are plenty of other meaningful deals and movements that need your attention more than that sweater at the department store that you’re only going to wear once and shrink. You can still take Saturday to #ShopSmall and support your local businesses, shop on Amazon Smile to catch up on deals while giving back, and use #GivingTuesday to pay it forward.

If you absolutely cannot make time to #OptOutside but are still interested in being a part of the outside revolution, encourage others to take part, spend time planning your next outdoor adventure or hop on social media to see the progress.

Here’s what REI CEO Jerry Stritzke said last year about #OptOutside:

“We believe that being outside makes our lives better. And Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of this essential truth.”

Remind yourself that you were born to opt outside.

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