My REI Outessa Weekend
My One Little Word for the year is GO and I think putting that energy out into the universe helped bring the awesome opportunity to partner with Leatherman tools to co-host workshops at REI Outessa in Mt. Hood.
I wasn’t sure if I would be able to shake my imposter syndrome while at an event with some of the people who inspire me to head outdoors. My best friend reminded me I could take an extra day off of work and spend extra time with her in Portland if I went, so the choice became infinitely easier! The event was held the same weekend as the solar eclipse so there was an extra level of excitement in the air…would there be an insane amount of people in the Portland area? Would there be so much traffic that I wouldn’t be able to get back to the airport in time for my flight?
Whenever I felt nervous, I reminded myself to just GO and take it all in stride.
What is REI Outessa?
Find your crew, do what you love, and try something new in some of the country’s most beautiful outdoor playgrounds. During our three-day retreats designed for women, you can choose from hundreds of activities, from rock climbing and mountain biking to yoga and hiking. All gear for activities, instruction, and chef-prepared meals are included. – Outessa website
Bringing women together to explore the outdoors and share their stories is magic. It was great to have casual discussions with women from all over the country and from so many different outdoor backgrounds. We were all learning from one another and there was zero judgment the entire weekend. I think we were all more concerned with getting plenty of wine and happy hour munchies to care about anything else!
I took an introduction to compass and map navigation class and I hope to register for some in-store courses in early 2018. You can find classes and events at your local REI on their website.I did buy a better compass after attending REI Outessa and tried to reference it while on a trip with Shawnté last month because she is so much more experienced than I am when it comes to most outdoor things. I definitely need more practice.
I sat in on Alex Borsuk’s Adventuring with Dogs class and joined a quick class on taking better photos with your phone. There are so many classes and activities offered throughout the weekend and I wish I was able to attend more of them.
The workshops I co-hosted were well attended and thankfully small enough that we were able to cozy up inside the Leatherman event tent so we didn’t have to shout or try to be heard over the other workshops being held on either side of us. We spent time with a quick introduction of the brand before going around the circle and having each participant introduce herself and her level of outdoor experience. We made sure to have several tips prepared (with props!) but also made sure to emphasize that this was going to be an open discussion. There was a wealth of knowledge from each group and I know I learned quite a bit.
The part that probably stuck with most of the women was going over the “3 Ps”: Pooping, peeing, and periods. For this workshop we reminded everyone of the basics like the distance you should be from water sources and trail, digging holes vs packing out your waste, and that not all women have periods and not everyone who has a period is a woman, so passing along the menstruation information to all outdoor buddies is important. We should all be more like Dave. Also, we don’t have to always let our periods hold us back from fantastic adventures.
A good portion of my time outside of the workshops was spent in the ENO hammock pods set up around the Village area of the event. It was pretty warm in the sun where the vendor tents were set up, so stepping into the shade of the trees was so welcome. It was really relaxing to have a drink in the shade and unwind for a little bit.
One of my favorite things was happy hour! The amazing ladies behind Dirty Gourmet were there and they were so so so sweet to bring me a plate of snacks during one of the evenings because they knew I was helping run an activation at the Leatherman tent. I don’t think they know this, but meeting them was like meeting celebrities! I was a little overwhelmed that they know who I am and that they would even consider taking time out of their busy schedule to bring me food (all the heart eyes for them). I wasn’t able to fit in their cooking class into my schedule due to my workshop schedule. Next time!
The adventures didn’t end on the mountain, the next day was the eclipse and the Portland area was full of people coming and going so they could be close to the totality zones. I ran into a few Outessa friends (of course we shouted OUTESSA FAM! as soon as we saw one another) in the airport and we stuck together through security and visited each other at different gates as flights got delayed. To close out my Outessa weekend, the woman next to me on my flight into Las Vegas was from Outessa and we turned to each other and said, “I think we’re Instagram friends??” as we settled into our seats. Again, magic.
If you are interested in learning more about Outessa, sign up for the emails so you are the first to know when the dates and locations are released for 2018.