Finding our Tribe in the Outdoors

Traveling as a couple can be somewhat isolating. You aren’t single, so you don’t make the extra effort to go out at night and meet lots of other people, mostly content to just share the experience with your partner. Instead of finding a companion to travel with for awhile, you meet people here and there, and when the brief activity or trip is over, you go your separate ways, solo travelers preferring not to travel with couples for a number of reasons.

Rebecca and I were struggling with this reality until we realized that to find our tribe, we needed to go a little more into the wild.

Rebecca has always been really into the outdoors. As a child, her parents took her on hiking and camping trips to those most beautiful national parks in the western US. I, on the other hand, grew up in a family that preferred hotels to campsites with few exceptions. Early on in our relationship, Rebecca took me to her family’s cabin in the woods outside of Sequoia National Park. The first time did not go well. I didn’t like the dirt, the bugs, or the heat, the only respite being the freezing cold river that runs through the cabin complex. The best thing was the stars; I had never seen so many, and it almost helped me forget the mosquitoes and gnats that tormented me at night.

Fast forward a few years, when I have slowly but surely become more of an outdoorswoman, primarily because I love to see (and photograph) nature. As it turns out, nature doesn’t come into your air-conditioned hotel room; you have to leave to see it. So here in Asia, not content merely to see city life, we booked a few treks to see some beautiful backcountry.

The success of a multi-day trek depends heavily on the people that accompany you. A good group can make a bad experience pleasurable, and a good experience amazing. And even though the outdoors isn’t something that has been an easy conversion for me, the people that I have met on our treks have been those with whom I have connected most naturally. They are our people. They share our interests and values, and encourage us to be more adventurous as well. So even though it means I have had to be dirty and tired away from the comfort of a clean shower, I have had a wonderful time sharing the experiences with people like us.

We really look forward to keeping in touch with them as the months and years go on, to hear more about the adventurous things they do in their lives, and maybe even visiting them as we pass through on other adventures. But even if we never see them again, they will be the encounters that we will remember most fondly. We found our tribe in the outdoors in Asia, and we’ll keep looking for years and years of hiking and backpacking to come.

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