Give Your Friend the Gift of Nature!

In recent years, I've been making an effort to suggest a variety of different outings with friends rather than just the usual - "Let's Catch Up Over Coffee!".

Don't get me wrong - it's great to meet up for "coffee" (insert whatever your favourite hot and/or cold drink is) or food as there is nothing quite like sitting down and being able to really focus on your conversation with a dear friend.  Meeting up in this way can provide a good environment to have a supportive talk without interruptions (with cell phones off, of course!).  But I was feeling that some of my friendships were being held together with just food and drinks, so every so often I've thrown in a Nature Outing option for a different kind of get-together.

I've found that once people pair off and/or have children those fun outings that used to involve friends are now done with families and partners.  And without those adventuresome activities, this didn't give me as many opportunities to build memories with friends.

How about you?  Are you finding that many of your get-togethers are catching up over coffee, drinks or food?

Going on an outing can still include time to sit down and focus on deeper conversation - it could be during the drive to an outing or it could be during your adventure when you find a moment to sit down to enjoy the view or take a break.

And this way - you get to enjoy the best of both worlds!

And if your fun outings include nature you'll be giving your friend all the benefits of nature on top of all the great benefits of friendship also!

I'm lucky to have friends who share my love of nature and who are interested in getting outdoors and enjoy our local greenspaces.  Some of the fun outings I've had include:
  • going snowshoeing and seeing deer near the trail
  • inviting friends out for a downtown swift watch (that included beers after!)
  • a late afternoon of kayaking with a friend on a local river
  • weekly evening jogs along some riverfront pathways in the summer
  • and more recently joining a friend on her walking loop that takes us through parks, along a river and through a small woodlot

-- Pictured: Me and my friend Gerald Dykstra* who has the same love of nature and recently contributed a blog post to Wild. Here. --

Or if you don't have many friends that enjoy nature but want to meet more who share this specific interest of yours, consider participating in nature activities to meet like-minded people.

I've met some wonderful people through various activities such as:
  • tree planting and streambank clean-ups
  • regular activities at a local conservation area
  • volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation centre
  • taking a bird song course to help with urban bird counts
  • attending nature talks offered by a local stewardship council

When you DO go out with your friend, remember the bonus benefits of doing something active (whether it's walking, biking, paddleboarding, etc) and/or going somewhere new!  And doing something new together creates deeper bonds, walking and talking can get the creative juices flowing and you'll both be appreciating the beauty of the outdoors (which was something that Katrina Onstad underscored the importance of in her newest book).

Nature: It Really IS a Gift You Can Give Your Friend!

What's your favourite urban nature outing to do with a friend?

Do your friends enjoy nature like you do?

Treeclimbing with a friend or niece or nephew - why not?

P.S. Shout Out to Shasta Nelson - her book Frientimacy and the GFC members who have such inspiring insight into strengthening friendships!

P.P.S. and a BIG SHOUT OUT to Viliam Glazduri my partner (in crime!) a.k.a. my husband who has always been amazing at capturing our nature outings and helping us to preserve our memories.

*P.P.P.S. Gerald wanted me to mention that our outing that is pictured above (from 10 years ago) was on one of the coldest days in January in the winter (sunny but cold and we still got out!)  :  )


  1. Just love this! I do think I need to shake up my friendship activities and do more than just meet for coffee. Will see if any of my friends are up to a nature outing (I'd like to get on the water this summer - maybe some SUPing?) and if not, as you suggested I can see if I can meet some friends who like nature and the outdoors by volunteering or taking a SUP class!

    Thanks - Marnie

    1. You are so welcome! Let us know how it goes with your friends (and finding some new friends who enjoy the same passions!