In Defense of Chilling Out

I’ve spent time in a fair few mountain towns. They share plenty of commonalities, like an almost-comical pride in their own breweries and an overabundance of dogs per capita. But mostly they share this: a legendary drive for adventure that spans the spectrum from weekend warriors to full-time ski bums and dedicated #vanlifers.

I ended up in the most manic mountain town of them all: Revelstoke, B.C. Everything is leveled up here—the skiing, the kayaking, the mountain biking. I mean, c’mon: we have heli-biking. You can’t throw a rock without hitting a professional athlete, and the hashtag #practicallypro has become less a joke than an application to most of the rest of the population. There’s always an adventure to be had, and a crew to have them with. Summer is something of a mad dash to have as many as possible in the endless light before the long cold dark of winter hits again (which, at the very least, carries the benefit of forcing us to rest sometimes).

So this long weekend, I was planning to head south to the Slocan valley for some kayaking, mountain biking, and camping with a bunch of rad folks: the typical orgasmic summer adventure.

But at the last minute, I backed out. I had all kinds of excuses at the ready. I really need to get some writing done; I should do some life organizing for once; I’m watching my friend’s dog (this one was just stupid—we all know dogs are literally the best adventure buddies).

You know what the real reason was, that I finally admitted to myself? I just wanted to chill out.

Sometimes, in our adventure-heavy mountain town cultures, this statement is a sign of weakness. Or it’s received with some disbelief (“What do you mean you have a life outside of shredding the gnar?!”) Half the time we don’t even utter it, let alone abide by it, just to avoid the inevitable FOMO of being left out of the next great memory-making expedition.

If social media is any gauge—who are we kidding, it seems like the only gauge these days—everyone else is out exploring, summiting mountains, making first ascents, first descents, and just generally having an epic time; #yolo #followyourbliss and all that bullshit that makes us feel like we must not be living if we’re not dirty, exhausted, and sleeping under the stars with all our best friends and soulmates.

But here’s the thing: chilling out is awesome. While it poured down rain outside, I was so psyched to be lounging under a blanket with my weekend rent-a-dog keeping my feet warm, watching another episode of Parks & Rec. By myself.

Will I have FOMO if I open Instagram to see all those photos of other people out having epic weekend adventures? Probably. But I also know that I live in a mountain town, and particularly this one, because I can go have my own anytime I want.

In the meantime, I’m going to glorify the less-than-epic activity of chilling. Speaking of, I’m going to get back to finishing that book I’ve been reading, and maybe make some cookies if I can peel myself off the couch. But it’s pretty damn comfortable, and  after all, you only live once.

2 thoughts on “In Defense of Chilling Out

  1. Excellent article, and so true! All this emphasis on nonstop adventuring and having epic experiences has made outdoor pursuits just one more thing to stress about and feel guilty about if we are not doing it ‘well enough’! There is so much deep enjoyment to be had in doing just what you did…hangin’ with our pups, laughing at Parks & Rec, and gorging on homemade cookies. Good for you! I’m bookmarking this article just to remind me to do the same…thank you!


  2. Chill days are legit! Instagram has become so off the hook ridiculous about outdoor adventures. Most of the sites look like they’re using someone else’s photos and are just selling something.


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