Growing up in a well populated, suburban area, I could hear the cars on the freeway miles away from my house and see the sparkling lights of the city from atop the hill that our 4 bedroom house sat on. I liked being close to Starbucks and Target and enjoyed a 20 minutes ride into downtown San Diego. There is so much culture in a melting pot of a bigger city, and I find myself craving it now that I live a good hour away from Pittsburgh. However, there is another part of me that longs for silence. There is a stillness and serenity when no vehicles can be heard for miles, and you're standing in a cathedral of trees. 

Yosemite National Park holds a special place in my heart. Even though my parents are the epitome of "opposites attract,"  they both fell madly in love with Yosemite and enjoyed sharing their passion for this California gem with my brothers and I. There is some thing spiritual about being so far removed from the modern world, miles above sea level. It allows you to readjust and center your focus on what is really essential to you as a human person. 

Of course I have fond childhood memories there, but that's not the only reason I'm looking into going back. The endless valley of granite is literally prehistoric. In a world where our every thought is often heard on social media, we often think ourselves important as our pride inflates with the amount of "likes" we receive; these slabs of rock humble me and remind me of my place in the world. They tether me to some thing real, alive, and earthly. 

Every interaction I have outdoors has this effect on me on a smaller scale, which is perhaps why I become so depressed during these Ohio winters when I don't get to go outside for days on end. Technology has offered me a lot of comfort over the years, but I still crave organic, nature-made experiences. 

How do you feel about the outdoors?