Good Morning and welcome to Outside the Extraneous!

My name is Claire and I am a mom of three, a wife of one, an outdoor enthusiast, baketress (a word of my own making), a musician, a language lover, an amateur theologian, and a hobby collector.

I grew up in the suburbs of Central Texas and, while I was a Girl Scout and my dad was a backpacker in another life, the outdoors was never something I really “did”. I participated in a few sports, I enjoyed playgrounds, but I never considered myself an outdoorsy person. Maybe the fact that I loved the few times we went camping with Girl Scouts and how I aced my outdoor cooking badge should have been a sign to me, but what can I say, small kids are not always the most perceptive. I even found a deep peace at going to camp each summer and spending most of my time outdoors during middle school and high school, but I was not athletic so I assumed I was meant for the indoors.

Then I found myself as an “adult”, because let’s face it that your 20s never feel very adult-like, being invited camping for the first time. I had a tent and a sleeping bag, so I said sure! I was excited but also nervous to be cooking and living outside for a weekend. And while it was not perfect, I felt alive. All those moments at camp where I had woken up early to sit by the lake just to breathe it in began to make sense. The deep love for hiking a difficult section in Colorado, the waterfront work that excited me, and the intense feeling sitting below the stars gave me all began to click together in perfect harmony.

And that’s where the passion started.

So now we are cutting back on screens, we are opting out of screens for our children, and finding joy in camping, hiking, and generally being outside.

We went to Vermont to go snowshoeing and sledding, we hiked in the Texas Hill Country, we enjoyed the snow in North Carolina, we camped in Haiti, we walked all over Seoul to find its green spaces, and backyard camping. So much backyard camping!

I’d love to take you with us on this journey.

In fact, I’ll make you a promise. I will keep coming here, posting each week, giving you the real version of what it is to camp with young three children, and to have a life without a remote controlled babysitter. I will give you product reviews to help you succeed, pictures to help you feel inspired (and normal – because we all make mistakes), and any tips I can find. This will not be a blog that is always about my perfect polished life, but it will be honest and it will be helpful.

Let’s take a note from REI and #optoutside together. Let’s let go of all of all the extraneous things in our life that do not have purpose and do not give life. Let’s live Outside the Extraneous.

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