With the upcoming release of the movie ‘Wild’ starring Reese Witherspoon on Dec 5, I’m hedging my bets that women are going to become more & more curious about going it ‘alone’ – out there. So what’s stopping us? Fear for the most part; fear of falling, fear of the dark – fear of things that go bump in the night! Stepping away from the safety net of city lights, cell phones & our ‘in-house Jungle Jims’ can be a stretch for many of us.
If RockyPoint Outdoor Education’s (www.rockypoint.ca) first ever Women’s Outdoor & Survival Skill course selling out in just 48 hours is any indicator, then we might be on to something. Who are these women? Well we, (because I count myself firmly embedded in this demographic), are not necessarily portraying Witherspoon’s character from the ‘Wild’. We are career women, mature students, working mothers, grandmothers … The exponential growth of obstacle races, is seeing us going neck to neck with the fellas, and is just one indicator that we are looking beyond the classic gym routine for personal fulfillment. We are looking to challenge and be challenged; physically and mentally, and we are often leaving our male partners at home.
It’s not a feminist thing so much as an independence thing – it’s a stretch for us. Neither is it solely a young person’s game. We’re hitting our second adulthoods, fitter & more confident. Mid-life women in Canada are enjoying longer life expectancies and continue to experience vast changes in the traditional expectations of gender roles. These demographic shifts are creating more space for self-discovery and personal fulfillment that some women are achieving by taking part in a whole myriad of outdoor adventure. Through outdoor pursuits, individually or collectively, women can seek to challenge, and be challenged. Solo adventuring may be a far cry for many women, but buddying up with like-minded women on the trail may not be.
Vancouver Island is an outdoor enthusiasts heaven. The Island offers it all, from world-class trails to waterways, and it is a magnet for wilder-wanderers of all demographics. Adventure tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of BC’s tourism industry, and women are well represented!