How to Fight FOMO? Head Outside.
By Stephen Scott, KEEN fan and Outdoor Afro leader
Living in the Midwest and having friends all across the country can cause FOMO (fear of missing out) when perusing their social media accounts and blogs. You could say I get extremely envious when I see folks in Colorado hiking 14ers or Texas out fishing in the Gulf.
To combat this envy, first I had to take a closer look at myself and ask why. Then do something about it.
I am envious because I have a busy work and home life AND I’m looking at other people’s adventures through a screen. PUT DOWN THE SCREEN AND GET OUTSIDE! Find places to explore in your backyard. The Twin Cities area has so much nature to offer if you just lace up your boots (and several little shoes) and get outside!
Step 1: Find a nearby spot that fits into your life
With a plethora of options to choose for an adventure in my area, one must decide where to go. For me, this required understanding my constraints with work and family life. If it was a solo adventure, I can squeeze in about an hour. If it’s with family, the little ones can only manage about 2-2.5 miles before the world crashes.
These criteria lead me to the Minnesota River Bottoms Trail in the Bloomington Ferry Unit of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. For those who have never been to Mnísota Wakpá, the Dakota name for the Minnesota River, you are in for a treat, especially in the Bloomington Ferry Unit. The trails along the river meander through floodplain forest and wetlands. You never know whether or not you’re going to see turtles, chipmunks, squirrels, blue herons, or bald eagles.
Walking among the river bank and seeing the giant sequoias of Minnesota (Cottonwood) both standing grand and tall. And ones that have fallen victim to the seasonal floods. The trail components constantly ebb and flow with sand and compacted dirt.
Step 2: Connect with nature and find harmony
During my solo visits to the Minnesota River Bottoms trail, I have enjoyed the peace and serenity of the trees, wildlife, and flow of the river. There's an energy that comes from nature. The sway of the branches balances the occasional side steps off-trail to allow bikers to pass. The trail is a multi-use trail that functions as a hiking, running, birding, fishing, and singletrack trail. Even the trips with my little ones allow me to see the joy of exploration through their eyes. The youngest also gets the opportunity to have memories of Dad carrying them on his shoulders for a bird's eye view.
Step 3: Make it a habit
This was a good reminder for me to take every opportunity to get out and explore my local backyard. To find the excitement from what's nearby and give up the envy of digital adventures. My best advice to anyone who finds themselves feeling the same way is to maximize the time you have to be your adventurer. Don’t lose the hunger for life in between the daily grind of work and family. It’s out there peeking through the canopy of a forest or even drifting down the stream of a river!
There’s harmony among all living things, no matter where you are.
Stephen Scott is a husband, father, food scientist, and Outdoor Afro leader who lives in Minnesota and loves exploring the outdoors. KEEN has partnered with Outdoor Afro since 2012. Together we hope to connect more people to outside experiences.