Exploring the outdoors after divorce

Talking to Judy about her divorce got me thinking about the difference having children still at home makes to life after divorce. I’m not going to say that one is harder than the other but there are definitely different challenges. For one thing, when you still have children many of your activities are tied to their activities and your free time is limited. If you don’t have children or if you’re an emptynester, then the time you used to spend with your spouse, is now time alone and what do you do with that time?

I hope from reading about Judy’s opportunity to travel with the Girl Scouts and her going back to school to get the job that was meant to be, you’ve got a sense that even though she didn’t want her divorce, she wasn’t going to sit around and mope at home. Here’s Judy talking about how she found a new way to keep her love of the outdoors alive:

The second or third year after I was divorced I managed to go to my first Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshop. I say I “managed” because my daughter works with the group and she did not want me to go and for her to be known as “Judy’s daughter.” Once she had established herself with people it was OK for me go. Then it was,

“There’s my mom. My mommy ‘s here”

Judy learning to rappel

I think this is my fourth year going so now people know me as her mom.

I like camping but I’m not much of a just take my tent out and sit. I want to be doing something. These women have a passion for life and the camp offers anything from a lot hunting and fishing, kayaking, water sports, canoeing, sailing – my daughter and I even taught the sailing one year together. You can learn chainsawing and I’ve done basket-weaving. My daughter teaches rappelling and taught me how to do that.

The camp I go to has rustic lodges or cabins or you can tent. I take my tent so at night I can just lay there and be there. I like being with the women but I also like being able to be on my own in my tent.

BOW has their workshop weekend in October and throughout the year, we’ll have other camps. It’s just women getting together. It’s not big plans.

It’s we’re going to visit this place, we’ve already got a camping area reserved, come out for the day, come out for the evening, whatever. Bring gear, bring food.

Being part of that group makes it easier to go camping – they take care of the organizing and you know you’ll have company. Some of them are divorced, some of them are married. We get a lot of mother-daughter combinations and we get sisters. Most of the women know who they are and they don’t identify themselves as ‘so and so’s wife or I’m a secretary or I’m the head of whatever.’ Most of them, I don’t even know what they do in real life.

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone when I say there are lots of activities I like to do or would like to learn but I don’t want to do them on my own. I like to hike but I won’t stray too far from home on my own. I like to cross-country ski but don’t enjoy it on my own. I want to learn to road-cycle (as opposed to mountain-bike) and once I have my bike, I’d like someone to ride with. I’d probably go camping too … but not on my own. I think my reticence comes from just wanting company but there’s also a safety factor – if something goes wrong, then two heads are better than one, right?

BOW sounds very appealing – like Judy says, they take much of the leg work out of participating in activities. I’d definitely consider going on one of their weekends.

Buck$ome Boomer had the same approach after her divorce – she had young kids at home and Parents Without Partners was a safe way for her to take her boys camping and it was through that group that she met her second husband.

And now writing this reminds me that one of the first things I did when I arrived in the U.S. was to join a ski club. It was a great way to meet people and they were active year-round, not just for skiing. That’s also how my husband and I met :)

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  • Judy

    The links you have go to the Kansas BOW, here’s a link to the National BOW
    http://www.uwsp.edu/cnr/bow/
    Also both BOW and our Oklahoma BOW have facebook pages, look for us under “Becoming an Outdoors Woman”. If you like the outdoors it is a great group to join, and can be a great support system if you are going through a divorce.

  • http://lifesclassroom.blogspot.com T

    Yes, I started doing a lot more alone post-divorce and managed to squeeze it all in, even with small children. I’m just at the point now where I don’t want to do it alone anymore.

  • http://www.bucksomeboomer.com Kay Lynn @ Bucksome Boomer

    That outdoors group sounds great. Thanks for mentioning Parents Without Partners.

    After we got married, we were “kicked out” of the group so we joined the Sierra club and have done gone on a wide range of activities from hiking to weekend camping trips.