There are “mom bloggers” and then there are moms who are “outdoor lifestyle bloggers” – writing on favourite activities that make them the women they truly are – not just one facet of their life. I decided to do an interview with outdoor enthusiast Gayle Labuz, one such blogger who writes about her passion for hiking, camping, geocaching and other outdoor-related activities she does with her family.
Gayle, based in Guelph, Ontario, is somebody I admire because she gets why it’s so important to find yourself in natural settings. She shares this knowledge with her children. Over the past few years, I’ve been following her experiences via her blog. I recently asked her several questions about her love of the outdoors, geocaching and her blog.
Why is getting outside important to you? For your family?
Getting outside is so important to me and my family! When I get outside, it only takes a few minutes for me to feel my mind and body relax. And then I seem to become more “myself”. My energy levels increase, my creativity increases and I just feel happy. I’m a very curious person by nature, and I learn best by experiencing things. Getting outside seems to feed that. When I’m outside I can be free to touch and smell, discover and experience my environment. That seems to get stifled working in an office all day.
Life can be so busy and as my daughter gets older, she is getting more involved in after school activities. We always seem to be rushing from one thing to another. But when we get outside as a family, we’re able to reconnect with each other on a very basic level. I notice the outdoors have the same affect on my family as it does on me. We relax and become more ourselves. Conversation comes easy and there is way more laughter. It sounds so cliché, but we really do develop stronger bonds when we do things together outside.
I have also seen that my daughter, who will be nine years-old soon, is developing great strength and courage and knowledge from experiencing the outdoors. I think that is awesome and will serve her very well as she gets older.
What is your favourite place for a hike and why?
This is a hard question to answer. I have a few favourites! In my hometown of Guelph, my very favourite hike is a portion of the Guelph Radial Trail that starts on Watson Road and runs parallel to the Eramosa River. It isn’t a particularly challenging hike, but it provides a bit of a social and geological history lesson of the area. The side trail that makes this section a loop has a look out over the valley where you see mostly tree canopy, but can hear the geese and ducks on the river below. I’ve hiked this trail so many times over the years with friends and my family that it holds some great “remember whens”. It is a “thinking” place for me and I find it restful
In general, my favourite hikes are ones that take me through a variety of landscapes and that have at least a few challenging sections. If there is an opportunity to spot wildlife – even better!
What has been the most interesting thing you’ve located geocaching?
We have found a few interesting things geocaching, which is why we love the game. The first time we ever geocached, we found a cache hidden under a secret staircase, just off a trail. The property used to be a farmstead, but the house and barn are long gone. Except for this iron staircase, hidden by trees. It prompted me to do some research about the old farm and I learned some interesting things about this area in relation to my city’s history!
We’ve also found animal bones a few times, including a coyote skull and the full skeleton of a groundhog.
The neat thing about geocaching isn’t always the caches you find, but rather the places you find them and the journey getting there. I have discovered trails, little parks and neat places in my hometown I never knew existed, even though I’ve lived here my entire life. And we’ve explored other towns specifically for geocaches – places we would never otherwise visit.
What is your advice for parents that want to encourage their kids to love the outdoors?
Get outside with your kids, lead by example and explore. Integrate an outdoor lifestyle or mindset into your normal way of life. You don’t have to be extreme and go for big camping trips, huge hikes or bike rides. In fact, you can easily start to nurture an appreciation of the outdoors in your own neighbourhood with creative cloud watching or watching the neighbourhood birds. But the biggest piece of advice I have is to make sure you don’t push your kids beyond their limits, because that will only result in frustration for everyone. It’s ok to challenge your kids, because sometimes they just don’t realise they are ready to go that bit further. But outdoor time needs to be associated with mostly happy times! (I say mostly happy times, because there are always some risks with being outdoors and you can’t always shield your kids from scraped knees, bug bites and various other discomforts nature throws our way.)
What is in your knapsack when you go hiking?
- My camera! In fact, sometimes I carry two cameras – my DSLR and a small, waterproof point and shoot.
- A water bottle
- A small wallet with my health card, driver’s license and a very small amount of cash. If my daughter is with me, I carry her health card as well. This is very important to me as a safety measure. (Once, I broke my ankle on a hike. It was handy having my health card on me and allowed us to go straight to the hospital without detouring home to get the card.)
- A light snack
- My Blackberry
- Sunscreen & Bug Spray (Depending on the time of year)
- A pack of gum
What is your biggest challenge when blogging?
Time! I work full time, so most of my posts are started in the evening and finished after everyone else has gone to bed – because that is when I have some quiet, uninterrupted time. Unfortunately, some days (OK – a lot of days) I’m just too tired to sit down and write something that is interesting and somewhat close to being grammatically correct at the end of the day. The ideas are all floating around in my head – I just can’t find enough time and energy to get them all out in the blog.
Give Gayle Labuz some love via her blog and online:
Blog: Sometimes Eventful
Facebook Page: Sometimes Eventful
Google+: Sometimes Eventful