The Great Outdoors

It took years to admit it to myself, but I’m what you might classify as an “indoors kid.”

I know what you’re thinking. (Unless you’re Congress, in which case, what are you thinking!? Also, stop reading my blog, Mr. Speaker, and fix this mess.)

Indoorsy? But you spent three young-adult summers working at an overnight camp on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay!

Yes, but we spent every minute outside counting down the seconds until our next break in the air-conditioned staff lounge.

Sweat is the new orange.
Sweat is the new orange.

Indoorsy? But you did your undergrad in the wilderness of Maine!

Yes, but 80% of my college career was spent consuming dining hall lobster, rather than hiking the Appalachian Trail.

photo (76)
Oh right. And beer.

Indoorsy? But your entire extended family just went on a week-long camping trip to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore at the upper tip of the Michigan mitten!

Yes, but my favorite cousin and I stayed behind in New York City and attended an afternoon 1920s jazz fest instead.

photo 1 (18)
Why yes, Ray Bans WERE in during the Depression Era.

Which, come to think of it, was held outside. So maybe I’m not 100% indoorsy. Let me rephrase:


For years, I pretended I wasn’t an indoors kid, going so far as to join my college’s outing club, an unused $300 membership that would have made better Carlo Rossi seed money during my co-ed days. Everyone wants to be that girl next door who can hang with the boys for a weekend in the wilderness, but one centipede in my campsite toilet and I’m out of there. What’s that? There is no campsite toilet? This conversation is over.

With great reluctance, I finally began classifying myself as an indoors kid a few years ago, and for good reason: given the choice between a day on the slopes and an afternoon curled up in front of the fire with a good dog and a good book, I’ll choose the latter every time. Sure, I like riding waves and basking in the sun and eating s’mores as much as the next kid, but there’s a reason I moved to Manhattan — there’s no room in my walkup to store a tent.

But while I’ve been categorizing myself as the non-outdoors type for the better part of a decade, perhaps my self-designation was too rash. Sure, I love paved sidewalks more than wintry mix, but I’m also one of the only people I know who spends 10 hours every week in Central Park. While many of my friends spend their Saturday mornings in the comfort of their beds, I’m looping the reservoir and admiring the foliage and dodging rabid raccoons in the city’s many outdoor spaces. And last month, during a particularly beautiful 18-miler, I ran for three hours along a tree-lined trail from Maryland to Pennsylvania, crossing paths with only a handful of humans and twice as many deer. (Don’t look for them in this photo. They aren’t there, Mr. Boehner.)


Running has given me a lot of things — confidence, fitness, justification for my weekly Milano consumption — but it’s also given me this: the ability to correctly categorize myself as an outdoors kid for the first time ever. And that’s something worth celebrating — indoors.

What gets you outside? Running? Biking? A government furlough?


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