Everyone has that one moment where they felt something special while being outside.
Whether it was at the top of a mountain or the bottom of a canyon, in a wooded forest or wide open plains, everyone has that moment.
Even avid outdoorsmen and world travelers — who have seen nearly every nook and cranny this planet has to offer — have that one moment that stands out amongst the others.
Adventure photographer Chris Burkard, who is one of those world travelers and has been to the farthest ends of the earth, has his favorite moment too. Despite having been to some beautiful tropical locations and booming mountain regions, Burkard cites his time in the cold, frigid waters of Iceland as his most memorable moment.
Burkard, who spends a lot of time photographing surfers, talks about “the struggle” of this trip to Iceland. The freezing temperatures. The ice cold water. The harsh winds. To him, all of this was the perfect experience.
No, Burkard isn’t a masochist. He just likes to feel something. He likes to be tested; to be pushed.
And that’s what makes the outside so sacred. It does push us. It forces us to face adversity head on and defeat it.
But it also calms us. It motivates us. It moves us.
My moment was in Cercedilla Madrid, at the top of the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range. One of the longer, more kick-in-the-butt hikes I’d ever been on, the views at the top were well worth the effort.
No, it wasn’t as isolated as Iceland — as you can see red-roofed homes in the valley below.
But I think that was part of what made the moment so special. These homes and these people lived in this breathtaking spot, surrounded by a towering mountain range. They aren’t two forces fighting against one another.
I hate symbolism in its many forms — in large part due to all the English teachers I’ve had over the years — but there are definitely parallels between that image and that view to what’s going in the world today.
While the people of Cercedilla Madrid can coexist comfortably with the nature around them, in other parts of the world… well, not so much.
It seems as though people are starting to take notice too.
No, not the conservationists who have been proponents of the environment from early on.
But the average consumer.
Consumers are starting to place emphasis on purchasing products from sustainable companies. As a result, businesses are pivoting to include eco-friendly.
I’ve referenced this company before in past writing, but Naadam is a great example of a younger company that has taken sustainability seriously and moved it to the forefront of their business strategies.
Take a peek at their (awesome) ‘About Us’ video
And it’s not a trend. It’s not a consumer preference that will come and go.
No, it’s a necessity.
It goes so much farther than consumers being more aware of what they are purchasing and where the materials are from and how it was made.
What it really comes down to is that we need to take care of this planet. Regardless of whether or not consumers want it, businesses should be working towards more eco-friendly, sustainable solutions.
Because until Elon Musk finally colonizes Mars, we’re stuck with this one planet.
And that’s why the outside matters.