20 Ways to #OptOutside this Holiday Weekend

Looking for a fun way to #OptOutside this Thanksgiving weekend? We have your back. Whether you’re adventuring with friends, family, or your fur baby we’ve got you covered. With 20 ways to #OptOutside, we’re sure you’ll love something on our list.


A Gap Year you’ll be thankful for.

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1. Explore your city

No matter where you are there is always something to see. History is all around us and sometimes when it’s in our home town we never get the chance to see it. Whether you’re home or abroad, explore the sites, parks, and world around you. We promise you won’t regret it!

2. Build Something

Opt outside by building a new inside for those who need it. So many amazing skills come together when you build something using your own two hands, and nothing will make you feel more accomplished than seeing the end result.

#OptOutside
Photo By: Abby Dulin

3. SCUBA Dive

Live near the Coast? Spend your weekend diving. Our students have loved their time getting their SCUBA certifications in Costa Rica. Not near the coast? No worries! Most SCUBA diving courses start with you learning in the pool. One of our students from Kansas came on our program having already earned her diving certification!

Maria ready to dive | Photo By Emma Mays
Photo By: Emma Mays
#OptOutside Scuba
Photo By: Winterline Staff

4. Go Camping

Camping with friends and family is an easy way to #OptOutside for the whole weekend. Be sure to enjoy what’s left of the fall weather while you still can.

Will helping pitch the tent | Photo By: Abby Dulin
Photo By: Abby Dulin

5. Swim

This may be dependent on where you live, but if you have a pool and some warm weather, invite some friends over to share in your leftovers and spend the day swimming together. (Or just relaxing in the hot tub.) And if you live up north, you can always opt for a Polar Bear Plunge! 

Alex Messitidis
Photo By: Alex Messitidis

6. Chase Waterfalls

You don’t have to be in Costa Rica or Belize to take in an amazing view. There are plenty of waterfalls here in the U.S. that you can enjoy. Not sure where to begin? Google “Waterfalls Near Me” and grab your pack and get chasing.

Waterfall #OptOutside
Photo By: Meagan Kindrat

7. Go boating

With so many different types of boats to choose from there’s sure to be something to fit your city. Boating is a great way to enjoy the water and see places from a new perspective.

opt outside birding

8. Bird-watching

Bird-watching isn’t just for grandmas. You’d be by surprised the amazing wildlife you can spot in your own backyard. And, with your smartphone you don’t need a book to identify the birds you see. Just download one of the many bird-watching apps and go adventure. Just be sure to not disturb the birds you do see.

#optoutside birdwatching
Photo By: Maria O’Neal

9. Practice Yoga

Of course we’re not all as talented as our Yogi Field Advisor, Arielle…Yoga is a great exercise pretty much anyone can do. And it’s a great way to take in the fresh air while practicing.

#OptOutside Yoga
Photo From: Arielle Polites

10. Take a hike

We mean it in a nice way. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to #OptOutside is to take a hike. Bring a friend, bring your pup, bring some water, and enjoy.

Andrew walking in Maharashtra | Photo By: Lex Messitidis
Photo By: Lex Messitidis

11. Water sports

From wakeboarding to wake surfing, to water skiing and tubing. There’s sure to be something you’ll love when it comes to getting your adrenaline pumping on the water.

12. Fishing

Give a man a fish, you’ll feed him for day. Teach a man to fish, you’ll feed him for his whole life. Fishing is a peaceful and great way to #OptOutside alone or with friends or family.

Fishing in Wyoming NOLS

13. Football

And we don’t mean watching it. We mean getting outside and playing with your friends and family. Feeling frisky? Raise the stakes and play for that last piece of pie.

Photo By: Brittany Lane

14. Learn a new skill

There are so many outdoor skills to choose from! Our students especially loved learning archery but maybe you’ll love rock-climbing, gardening, or golf! Learning a new skill is a great way to feel accomplished after your long weekend.

Andrew learning archery | Photo By: Susie Childs
Photo By: Susie Childs

15. Practice your photography

Nature is a great model! Head outside with your camera and work on your photography or videography skills. Your instagram will thank you later.

Photo By: Emma Mays
Photo By: Emma Mays

16. Stargaze

There’s nothing like a clear night sky. Keep track of how many constellations and planets you can find.

Leela Ray
Photo By: Leela Ray

17. Spend some quality time with your pet

Whether you’re taking your dog for a walk, playing with your animal outside, or going horseback riding. Spending some quality time with your pet outside in nature is one of the cutest ways to #OptOutside.

Photo By: Emma Mays

18. Cook

Cooking is probably the last thing you want to do after all the time you’ve spent in the kitchen for Thanksgiving, but cooking outside can be loads of fun. Whether you’re roasting nuts, grilling, or improving your campfire cooking skills, cooking outside can be a good time – and also prep you for your audition for Survivor.

19. Kayaking

Kayaking is a great way to enjoy the water and the company of others. If you live on the coast or even a city with an urban river there’s sure to be a place you can rent a kayak and embark on this fun adventure.

Photo By: Abby Dulin

20. Take a nap

Set up your Eno hammock or a picnic blanket and sleep off your turkey coma in the great outdoors. We won’t judge you.

Photo By: Emma Mays
Photo By: Emma Mays

Interested in our programs? Apply today for our Fall 2019 Winterline gap year. To see more photos of our students in the field be sure to check out our InstagramTumblr, and Facebook.

Photos of the Week 11/16

While many of us are wrapping our heads around our first flakes of snow, our gap year students have been soaking up the sunshine and rainforest air in Costa Rica. For the past week, our two squads have been in Rancho Mastatal learning about sustainability, and Monteverde working on their Independent Student Projects, or as we call them, ISPs. Check out the photos below to learn more about the skills they’ve been learning and the adventures they’ve been having!

Every Friday we will be putting together our favorite photos and travel highlights from the past week. So be sure to check back again next Friday for another glimpse into our programs. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out last week’s photos as well.


Ready for the adventure of a lifetime?

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Abby on the bridges in the Moteverde Cloud Forest | Photo From: Abby Dulin
Abby on the bridges in the Moteverde Cloud Forest | Photo From: Abby Dulin
Abby, Cristina, and Katie on the bridges | Photo By: Katie Mitchell
Abby, Cristina, and Katie on the bridges | Photo By: Katie Mitchell
Jason on a bridge in the cloud forest | Photo From: Jason Smith
Jason on a bridge in the cloud forest | Photo From: Jason Smith
Squad 2 getting ready for diving in the Pacific ocean | Photo By: Susu Gray, Regional Director
Squad 2 getting ready for diving in the Pacific ocean | Photo By: Susu Gray, Regional Director
Sweet new friends | Photo By: Christian Roach
Sweet new friend | Photo By: Christian Roach
Beautiful shot of SCUBA Diving in the Pacific | Photo By: Emma Mays
Beautiful shot of SCUBA Diving in the Pacific | Photo By: Emma Mays
Nora in Costa Rica with a new friend | Photo From: Nora Turner
Nora in Costa Rica with a new friend | Photo From: Nora Turner
Jason surfing in Costa Rica | Photo From: Jason Smith
Jason surfing in Costa Rica | Photo From: Jason Smith
Benji on a boat in the Pacific during SCUBA | Photo By: Emma Mays
Benji on a boat in the Pacific during SCUBA | Photo By: Emma Mays
Maria ready to dive | Photo By Emma Mays
Maria ready to dive | Photo By Emma Mays
Diving | Photo By: Emma Mays
Diving | Photo By: Emma Mays
This is one of the projects Brogan created while learning the skill of upcycling.
This is one of the projects Brogan created while learning the skill of upcycling.
Brogan with one of his finished products from his Upcycling ISP in Costa Rica | Photo From: Winterline Staff
Brogan with one of his finished products from his Upcycling ISP in Costa Rica | Photo From: Winterline Staff
Ivan post dive | Photo By: Emma Mays
Ivan post dive | Photo By: Emma Mays
Sam ready to go | Photo By: Emma Mays
Sam ready to go | Photo By: Emma Mays
Be your own squad goals | Photo By: Maria O'Neal
Be your own squad goals | Photo By: Maria O’Neal
Stella and Christian | Photo By: Emma Mays
Stella and Christian | Photo By: Emma Mays
Our amazing Field Advisor, Jeremy | Photo By: Emma Mays
Our amazing Field Advisor, Jeremy | Photo By: Emma Mays
Ready to Dive | Photo By: Emma Mays
Ready to dive | Photo By: Emma Mays
Selfies at the baking ISP
Billy Selfie-ing at the baking ISP
Paris grinding chocolate | Photo By: Emma Mays
Paris making chocolate | Photo By: Emma Mays
Making Chocolate | Photo By: Emma Mays
Making Chocolate | Photo By: Emma Mays
Caedon making chocolate | Photo By: Emma Mays
Caedon making chocolate | Photo By: Emma Mays
Selfies at Upcycling
Selfies at Upcycling with Brogan and his mentor
Linnea | Photo By: Emma Mays
Linnea | Photo By: Emma Mays
Linnea and Yeukai on the SCUBA boat | Photo By Emma Mays
Linnea and Yeukai on the SCUBA boat | Photo By Emma Mays
Silks | Photo By: Maria O'Neal
Silks | Photo By: Maria O’Neal
Paris smiling | Photo By: Emma Mays
Paris smiling | Photo By: Emma Mays

Lastly, our student Will Vesey made this video about the issue with water in Monteverde. He connected with a local filmmaker who showed him some new tips and tricks to better his filmmaking. After about a week learning and shooting his video, Will made this video for a presentation. Check it out!

Interested in visiting Costa Rica and Monteverde for yourself? Apply today to visit on our next Winterline gap year. To see more photos of our students in the field be sure to check out our InstagramTumblr, and Facebook.

NOLS Quotebook: Highlights from the Field

In mid-September, our Squad spent eight days and nights hiking through the desert, climbing canyons, and trudging through rivers in the Gila  National Forest, New Mexico.

Be it thoughts, mental images, or sensations, each of us has unique memories of our course with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). In my case, the smell of our portable gas stove seems to have never escaped my nostrils…

In order to showcase our varied perspectives and experiences, I asked my fellow squad members to engage in a bit of self-reflection. The following collection of responses grants a glimpse into the thoughts of Squad 2 throughout our NOLS expedition.

What is your favorite memory from NOLS?

“My favorite memory from NOLS was when everyone arrived at camp at the same time on the fourth night. It had been a long and hard day, and along with the expedition of the tent pole retrieval there were a lot of doubts. To see everyone make it was amazing.” — Caedon

“My favourite memory was the river crossings in the canyon. It was a refreshing change from hiking through the more desert-like areas, and the scenery down there was worthy of postcards and desktop screensavers.” –Yeukai

“It was the last hour of the most grueling hike of my life. But singing Mamma Mia and relishing in old memories of McDonald’s McGriddles actually made the long, dark trek down the canyon really enjoyable.” — Sam

NOLS Canyon River Crossing | Photo By: Benjamin Kilimnik
Canyon River Crossing | Photo By: Benjamin Kilimnik

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

“I am proud of myself for completing the trip. It felt like a very long week, and our squad went through a lot…Forgotten gear at previous campsites, and a lot of miles to travel. We all finished the journey and came out with a new respect for nature, and for the industrial revolution.” — Caedon

“I’m happy that I was able to complete the course and still be mesmerized by nature rather than get distracted by the tasks at hand” — Ben

“Completing an 8-mile hike in a single day. It was my longest hike, with my heaviest pack on and the fastest travel group. The final descent was in the dark and the trail was ridiculously steep but we were all determined to reach the X on the map. It was the first time that we made camp after dark, so that was a new experience.”Yeukai

“Getting down that giant canyon after 10 hours straight of just hiking. Seeing camp and everyone waiting for us with the tent pole and piping hot ramen was the best thing ever. I’ve never had better ramen in my life.” — Sam

Nature’s Best Bath | Video By: Noah Bestgen

What was most challenging for you?

“There was this phrase we had for having to go to the bathroom, called “Trowel Time”. Basically, you and a trowel ventured far off into the woods and you had to relieve yourself without the comfort of a seat or toilet paper. You would use water to clean yourself. It was horrible and I hope I never have to Trowel Time again.” — Caedon

“Being cold at night was really tough. Even though I was wearing multiple layers, thick socks, gloves, a buff, and a hat, I’d constantly wake up cold and have to try to curl up and hold my freezing knees, whilst inside my sleeping bag.” — Yeukai

“Getting up in the morning. Giving up my nice, warm sleeping bag to a cold, wet morning with a grueling day of hiking ahead was hard to psych myself up for.” — Sam

If you were to sum up your experiences at NOLS with a single word or phrase, what would it be?

“Loco” — Caedon

“Worth the hardship” — Ben

“Stay hydrated everyone” — Yeukai

“Fulfilling” — Sam

 

To learn more about our programs and hear from our students be sure to check out the rest of our blog. We upload new posts three times a week!

Photos of the Week 11/9

Time flies when you’re exploring beautiful Costa Rica and learning skills like surfing, SCUBA, and woodworking. Can you believe there’s only a few more weeks left of Trimester 1?

Every Friday we will be putting together our favorite photos and travel highlights from the past week. So be sure to check back again next Friday for another glimpse into our programs. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out last week’s photos as well.


Ready for the adventure of a lifetime?

GET STARTED


Waiting for waves | Photo By: Abby Dulin
Waiting for waves | Photo By: Abby Dulin
Views from the cloud forest | Photo By: Abby Dulin
Views from the cloud forest | Photo By: Abby Dulin
Woodworking at Rancho | Photo By: Maria O'Neal
Woodworking at Rancho | Photo By: Maria O’Neal
Christian at Rancho Mastatal | Photo By: Maria O'Neal
Christian at Rancho Mastatal | Photo By: Maria O’Neal
SCUBA Diving in Costa Rica | Photo By: Abby Dulin
SCUBA Diving in Costa Rica | Photo By: Abby Dulin
Linnea at Rancho Mastatal | Photo By: Maria O'Neal
Linnea at Rancho Mastatal | Photo By: Maria O’Neal
Woodworking at Rancho | Photo By: Maria O'Neal
Woodworking at Rancho | Photo By: Maria O’Neal
Tyler heading into the surf | Photo By: Abby Dulin
Tyler heading into the surf | Photo By: Abby Dulin
Jumping in! | Photo By: Maria O'Neal
Jumping in! | Photo By: Maria O’Neal
Learning new skills at Rancho Mastatal | Photo By: Maria O'Neal
Learning new skills at Rancho Mastatal | Photo By: Maria O’Neal
Making chocolate | Photo By: Maria O'Neal
Making chocolate | Photo By: Maria O’Neal
Squad 1 in Costa Rica | Photo From: Abby Dulin
Squad 1 in Costa Rica | Photo From: Abby Dulin
Emma at Rancho | Photo By: Maria O'Neal
Emma at Rancho | Photo By: Maria O’Neal
Micah at Rancho Mastatal | Photo By: Maria O'Neal
Micah at Rancho Mastatal | Photo By: Maria O’Neal
Woodworking | Photo By: Maria O'Neal
Woodworking | Photo By: Maria O’Neal
Woodworking | Photo By: Maria O'Neal
Woodworking at Rancho | Photo By: Maria O’Neal

Interested in visiting Costa Rica and Rancho Mastatal for yourself? Apply today to visit on our next Winterline gap year. To see more photos of our students in the field be sure to check out our InstagramTumblr, and Facebook.

Meet the Staff: Erica Schultz

Where are you from originally?

I was born in Iowa, but I was raised for my entire life in Southern Oregon.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I grew up being outside, whether it be for sports, hiking, rafting, fishing, camping. Anything! I was infected by the travel bug late in high school when I went to Europe for the first time and never turned back. The last couple years before working for Winterline, I lived over in Southeast Asia running programs for another travel company and eating all of the food!

erica schultz winterline global education gap year
Erica and her mom in Spain.

You were a field advisor with Winterline last year, what made you want to come back this year in a different job position?

I am very passionate about this line of work (being an FA), but within this past year I have become ready for something with a little more permanence where I could have a home base. Being the Director of Outreach and Recruitment still allows me to meet students, talk with them about a program that I am very passionate about, all while allowing me to have a balanced lifestyle.

Why do you love working for Winterline?

I LOVE travel. Winterline goes everywhere and does EVERYTHING. What else is there to say?! I was able to learn so much as a Field Advisor. Getting to spend time with students participating in the plethora of skills and activities offered was as much an experience of growth for me as it was for each student on the program. Winterline really allows students to learn exactly where they want to, what they want to, and to learn something new that they may never have the opportunity to try elsewhere.

erica schultz winterline global education gap year
Erica after celebrating Holi Fest in India.

Can you explain what you do for Winterline? How do you work with/for students?

As mentioned earlier, I am the Director of Outreach and Recruitment. This means that I’ll be the girl at your school talking with your classmates, teachers, study abroad counselors, and other departments about how awesome Winterline is! I’ll be traveling around the US speaking the good word of travel to anyone and everyone that is remotely interested in the coolest alternative to college. It’s a pretty hard job, but somebody has to do it 😉

What is something you want students and parents to know about you?

I’m fresh off the program (May 2018!), so if parents or students have very specific questions about the program/just want to talk about the cool things students get to do, I have great insight on it all!

erica schultz winterline global education gap year

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

Since 2015, I’ve been outside of the country more than I’ve been home.

To find out more about all the rest of our amazing staff, be sure to check out our Winterline Team here.

Photos of the Week 11/2

Hola, Costa Rica! Can you believe it’s November already? Our students have had a busy week settling into their second country, of their 9 month journey, and getting SCUBA certified. Check out some of their awesome pictures from their new destination.

Every Friday we will be putting together our favorite photos and travel highlights from the past week. So be sure to check back again next Friday for another glimpse into our programs. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out last week’s photos as well.

Stella and Christian | Photo From: Christian Roch
Stella and Christian | Photo From: Christian Roch
winterline global skills surfing
Abby and Cristina ready to catch some waves | Photo From: Cristina Hoyos
Enjoying the sunset with friends | Photo From: Tyler Trout
Staying flexible | Photo From: Paris Geolas
Staying flexible | Photo From:Paris Geolas
Peace from below the sea | Photo From: Abby Dulin
Taking in the ocean air | Photo From: Brittany Lane
Taking in the ocean air | Photo From: Brittany Lane
Catching some waves | Photo By: Abby Dulin
Brogan and Billy | Photo From: Brogan Trevethan
Brogan and Billy | Photo From: Brogan Trevethan
Spencer, Brogan and Billy | Photo By: Becky Quilkey
Costa Rica Vibes | Photo By: Paris Geolas
Costa Rica Vibes | Photo By: Paris Geolas
Chasing waterfalls | Photo By: Nora Turner
Diving | Photo From: Abby Dulin
Diving | Photo From: Abby Dulin

 

All smiles for Costa Rica | Photo From: Paris Geolas
Ready to hit the waves | Photo By: Tyler Trout

Interested in visiting Costa Rica for yourself? Apply today to visit for yourself on our next Winterline gap year. To see more photos of our students in the field be sure to check out our InstagramTumblr, and Facebook.