Outdoor Adventure Empowers Me Because _______. OWA Community Answers

“Outdoor adventure empowers me because ______.” This May, we collobarated with Outdoor Women's Alliance (@outdoorwomen) on an interactive Instagram series exploring the relationship between outdoor adventure and empowerment. Everyone was invited to chime in. Inspiring answers were bountiful, and it was nearly impossible to choose between them. Nonetheless, here are seven of our many, many favorites.

Definition of empower - make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.

Holy Cho (@choh): Outdoor adventure empowers me because I used to be afraid and now I am not. I was afraid of failure, afraid of falling, afraid to look stupid. I didn't try anything new because of my fear, no matter how much I wished to. When I started to explore the outdoors, I learned that I am in charge of my own success, my own abilities, and my own response to fear. Outdoor adventure empowers me because now, I can close the gap between who I am and who I want to be. It empowers me because I used to assume I was weak and now I know I am strong. It empowers me because that feeling of surprising yourself with what you can do is the best thing ever.

Jenny White (@runsinwoods): Outdoor adventure empowers me because it empowers happiness. It is where I find the woman I am beneath the clothes and insecurities, and away from the electronic chatter. We are all metaphorically naked out there. As it turns out, that woman of muscle and madness is stronger than I thought. Outdoor adventure reminds her she is not broken; she just needed the mountains.

Anne Bayerle (@abayerle): Outdoor adventure empowers me because I feel dwarfed by the natural world around me. It's like pressing pause on any problems or stressors that I'm currently struggling with and reconnecting to a natural force that is so much bigger and more wonderous. Outdoor adventure brings me perspective, inspiration and connection.

Whitney Hay (@_whittybee): Outdoor adventure empowers me because it's a form of active meditation. It strengthens body and mind while bringing you back to nature. The amount of willpower and personal boundaries you break down to reach that next summit, climb a frozen waterfall, or shredding down a mountainside fully in tune with your body, board, and the mountain is unparalleled to anything you'll find in a gym. Nature has a way of humbling you, healing you, and strengthening you all at the same time. If you push through and conquer a mountain, you can conquer anything life throws at you.

Mariela Hellewell (@the_bodhi_tree): Outdoor adventures empowers me by giving me a clear body and mind. There's so many distractions in the world today and there's no better way than to run away into nature to leave it all behind. It's like hitting a reset button. As a mother I want to make sure I plant that seed into my kids. I want them to be in tune with nature and respect it. It's like free therapy for all of us! 

Madeline Cohen (@maddieco): Outdoor adventure empowers me because nature isn't biased. It isn't sexist. It isn't prejudiced. It challenges everyone equally. It doesn't tell me I can't. It shows me that I can.

Elizabeth Porter (@elizabethporter23): Outdoor adventure empowers me because in a world where everywhere I look I am ambushed by the media telling me what to do and even how to think, it gives me the opportunity to go back to who I truly am and discover what I can do myself if I put my mind to it.