Finding yourself outdoors can be easier said than done – just being in nature isn’t always enough to calm the mind and champion the now. Ben’s got some tips to get you there.

How many times have you heard that you should be ‘living in the moment’? Heading into nature is hailed as one of the best ways to unwind and connect with yourself, but I’ve found it difficult to relax and connect with the environment around me on an afternoon walk around the block.

Cinematic Instagram reels only add to the feeling that we need to undertake a barefoot ascent of Kilimanjaro to finally experience ‘real’ liberation, excitement and self-understanding.



Well, I’m here to claim that those same feelings can be experienced almost right on your doorstep. Australia has endless fascinating and truly ‘wild’ locations that offer the perfect playground for discovering ourselves.

On a recent Thursday afternoon a few friends and I left the urban jungle of Canberra and drove into the Snowy Mountains. From there, we embarked on a two-day backcountry skiing trip chasing all the ingredients of a ‘real’ outdoor adventure.

This is a story about how we made it happen.

Eliminate Excuses – Minimise Prep Time

First off, this trip involved little planning and even less time packing. While it’s important to explore safely and to be prepared, I’m also a firm adversary of the ‘death by checklist’. As long as you have the key essentials, you’ll probably be ok.

Too much time to think about the prep sees me starting to make excuses, so the way I usually plan is to find an exciting place and an equally exciting activity, and then give myself suitably little time to make it all work.

That way I’m too excited to get demotivated by the prep work and it’ll also be too late to cancel without really disappointing my trip mates.

The point is, whether it takes a nudge (or kick) from someone else or a bit of healthy self-manipulation, eliminating all excuses is the first step to a great time.

Read More: Packing List for Backcountry Skiing & Splitboarding

Make Space For Each Other… and Yourself

I like to leave everything behind when I head into nature. I prefer not talking about work, but about the environment we’re in, things we see, or the way we feel in a certain place.

You might feel compelled to share your thoughts with others at one point and want to be alone with your thoughts at another.

Both are great ways to reflect on yourself and your surrounding environment, but there’s a flow to it. The pattern of a group moving together and spacing out reflects the emotional cycles I go through on every multi-day trip.

Before you go, talk to your partners about what you hope to gain from the trip. A shared approach is key to a good time and ensuring everyone gets the space they need.


Entertain (Almost) All of Your Crazy Ideas

Nobody on this trip was an expert skier and we had all the more fun for it.

‘See that hill over there? How fast do you think I can fall down it?’

‘Oh, I bet Thredbo River is freezing right now, we should definitely go for a dip.’

Voicing our crazy ideas and actually following through on them is what really makes me feel alive on these adventures. Allow yourself to be a bit silly, to push your limits, to feel hot, cold, tired or scared. And trust me, you never regret a swim.

Embrace the Simple Things

Of course, it’d be way more comfortable to take a 4WD packed with a coffee machine and heated blanket, but the lack of those luxuries is one of the things that makes an outdoor trip meaningful for me.

I get an almost primal satisfaction from interacting with my environment to ‘survive’ a night in the wilderness. Small tasks, like collecting water from the river or replenishing the firewood make the experience that much more real.


Get Physical (If You Want)

This one’s a personal preference, but adventures, for me, aren’t meant to be easy. I can truly say that the hardest times often makes for the best story.



Sure, it was a grind to find out 10km into our skiing trip that there was no more snow and we’d have to carry our skis.

But having grown up in European conditions, somehow this experience had something raw and unique about it. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

In fact, my favourite part of this trip was embracing our environment physically. Rolling around in the patchy snow and taking portrait photos, laughing at each other stumbling along in our skiing boots and attempting to mud-ski, made for some core memories.

It’s Not What You Do, but How You Do It

If there’s one thing I learn every time I head outdoors, it’s that a ‘real’ outdoor adventure is whatever makes you feel alive. You might approach your adventures in an entirely different way to how we did.



Grabbing a tent and sleeping on a beach for a night can produce the same result. The point is, a polished Instagram reel could be hiding a crowd of 50 people on an overpriced Contiki tour.

Finding a place that makes your skin tingle and engaging with it in a way that’s meaningful to you, that’s a real adventure, that’s something worth being present for.