When the small camera crew and I travel through airports or even in the truck on the road and maybe stop for breakfast along the way to tape an “O’Neill Outside” or “Travis Johnson’s Outdoors” television program, we get to meet quite a number of men and women who watch the show or listen to the radio broadcasts or both. Many will recognize us or hear a familiar voice and simply walk up to say hello. We are always flattered. Most of the time everyone will have complimentary things to say about our efforts or will sometimes relate a fishing or hunting story; even offer up a lake to try or place to hunt. I consider that a personal compliment. These stories are great to hear and everyone is so proud to be able to tell them. Many times it’s a story of how they got started fishing or hunting, who was there be it a grandfather or dad. I suppose the people who do not like our programs just keep quiet. That’s okay too.
Anyway, we are real lucky to carve out a reasonable living while having some fun. But that is not the point I want to make. A great number of people we meet just simply say that they are too busy to go hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, i.e., enjoy the outdoors. That’s too bad. However, I don’t believe that. There’s always time. You have to make arrangements. I’ll bet time is made to sit in front of the television and watch the NFL, college football or the Braves. Here’s an idea, the next time you’ve planned to watch a game, tell you son, daughter, wife, that instead of that, you’re going for a walk together.
A simple visit in the woods can get you and your family started. You don’t have to schedule an Elk hunting trip to Colorado. An hour or two on the banks of a neighborhood pond getting a Bream to bite may be a better beginning than angling for Black Marlin off Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Pick your place to start. Find some squirrel nests, a Whitetail deer rub, whatever.
As an interested observer, I say you and your family will be better off for it. There’s nothing quite like the gray dawn over the marshes of southeast Georgia coast or a crimson sunset in the dark, leafy hardwood forest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. You’ll remember vividly the shrill cry from a Red Tail Hawk or a Barred Owl’s haunting invite cascading from the evening shadows. The sights, sounds, and overall experience of the outdoor world is unmatched by anything in our manmade environment.
Make time for yourself and your family. From the outdoors, you will carry memories to be cherished and recalled for a lifetime. There will be another ‘game’ next week to replace the one you missed. That day with your family will be remembered FOREVER.