Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.

Nevis

The Great Outdoors

Mountains, valleys, waterfalls, lakes, wildlife, deserts — nature is truly miraculous. But being outside doesn’t necessarily mean you’re rappelling off sheer rock or jetting down precipitous ski trails; it could also mean a walk through an urban park or along a grand boulevard. I’ll take you there.

As a native New Yorker, born and bred in Brooklyn, I came to nature late. A patch of grass in front of my house and a fig tree in the backyard, the East River, and hordes of pigeons, squirrels, and sparrows constituted my experience with the great outdoors for many years.

That all changed for me during a camping trip to Maine with my brother — a largely tree-hugging anti-urbanite, in the best possible sense. During that trip, when we saw nary a town, I learned to hike, discovered what a cairn is, and fully realized that the great outdoors is just as appealing and engrossing as any castle or cathedral that had long fascinated me. It was also a stark contrast to my everyday existence of being constantly surrounded by eight million other people in an endless cacophony of car horns, police sirens, screeching subway car brakes, blasting boom boxes, garbage trucks, and ever-present construction. It was a place where I could truly be alone, listening to the more dulcet sounds of birds and breezes, inhaling the scent of pine and grass, enjoying what no hammer or chisel could ever create.

Of course, appreciating the great outdoors doesn’t necessarily mean you have to isolate yourself in some remote forest or atop a mountain. A great bike ride, a stroll through a botanic garden, a relaxing cruise, or a couple of hours at a farmers market can be an equally rewarding way to enjoy a glorious day.

These are some of favorite spots to be outside.

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