No matter if you have wondered what #OptOutside is, if you have never even heard of it, or know all about it… we strongly encourage you to participate this Black Friday – and make time for it whenever you travel.
The #OptOutside movement was started by the outdoor retail company REI in 2015. The basic meaning of #OptOutside is: Go outdoors on Black Friday instead of shopping. In case you didn’t know, Black Friday is the day after the U.S. American Thanksgiving (always the third Thursday in November). It has grown into an insanely popular and discount-sales-driven day of shopping.
What Is #OptOutside All About?
While #OptOutside is a very successful and award-winning ad campaign, we want to emphasize the altruistic aspects of the initiative that help make the world a happier place… one inspired person at a time.
Every Black Friday since 2015, REI closes all of its 150+ brick-and-mortar stores, does not process any online payments, and gives the 12,000 employees a paid day-off to spend in nature. All this on one of the biggest shopping days of the year!
From the get-go, they were joined by other companies and not-for-profit organizations that offered the same to their employees or featured free services or waived entry fees for outdoor excursions. Besides REI, many other companies, organizations and individuals promote the #OptOutside hashtag on social media when sharing photos and videos – especially on Instagram and Twitter.
Since our own goal is to help people get happier by having more fun outdoors, we wholeheartedly salute and thank REI for launching this effective initiative to get people outside.
We’d like to acknowledge what came before and was probably an inspiration: Buy Nothing Day. This social art piece, protest against consumerism, and global “holiday” also takes place on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Buy Nothing Day was launched by Vancouver artist Ted Dave in 1992 and promoted into global awareness by AdBuster magazine.
And what has come since… By now, the social media hashtag #OptOutside gets used far beyond just that Opt-Outside day in late November. Especially on Instagram, photographers like ourselves add it to outdoor photos to connect with and encourage other photographers.
Updated 2019: This year the movement is focusing not just on opting outside instead of shopping, but puts an emphasis on cleaning up the outdoors. Happier Tip: We always bring a bag to pick up trash others left behind.
Ideas for How to Opt Outside on Black Friday
The simplest thing: just walk out of your door. Walking around your neighborhood may not be the great outdoors; but you might be surprised by the beauty or inspiration you can find right outside your home just by ignoring your device and looking around.
Go for a stroll in the nearest city park… or to try something new: check out the city park that’s furthest from your place.
Before winter takes over, “get in one more” of… whatever outdoor fun you wish you had done more all summer, e.g., bike, roller blade, skateboard, hike, paddle board, run, picnic… or whatever makes you happier outside. You might have to pump up those tires again or dress a bit warmer, but you’ll be happier for having “done it” one more time!
Many organizations are holding special events to encourage you to go outside. Check out this list of US MeetUps hosting outdoor activities on Black Friday… then enter your own zip code to find a local OptOutside MeetUp or organize one yourself.
Choose to not go shopping on Black Friday. If you live in America, you know you can shop every single day of the year. Just opt out of shopping for this one day and opt in to having some fun outdoors!
For people who are not very physically mobile: How about asking a friend or a relative to take you for a scenic drive?
Can’t leave the home at all? Then at least for a little while, sit by a window and look outside… to watch the birds, the clouds or anything else that’s moving out there.
If you need anymore convincing to participate in #OptOutside, you might want to read this: Inviting Happiness and Adventure: Yes, let’s!
Opt Outside While Traveling
Since the idea of #OptOutside has already spread beyond just Black Friday, we want to encourage travelers to include it in their vacation or business trip planning.
When we travel, we usually get to do and see a lot of great things, maybe even some outdoor places. Some travel is even specifically focused on the outdoors, like a beach vacation or a hiking trip. That’s great! But a lot of vacations or business travel aren’t scheduled to include a “nature break”.
Because spending time in nature is known to make people happier, we recommend you choose a day to consciously #OptOutside while traveling.
Being out in nature will not only de-stress and invigorate you, it will also allow you to connect deeper to your travel destination and its people and culture. Consider how the natural environment (the landscape, climate, plants and wildlife) has influenced the development of the country or region you’re exploring.
Tips for How to Opt Outside While Traveling:
First of all, check out the section Ideas for How to Opt Outside on Black Friday. Quite a few opt-outside ideas apply to travel days as well as Black Friday.
Did you get a travel guide book? Look for recommended parks and natural areas.
Seek out travel blogs and outdoor blogs for articles about nature excursions at your destination. You might be amazed at the current and detailed tips and photos you will find.
A great place to do find specific inspiration for travel and outdoor excursions is Pinterest. Here are just a few of the Pinterest Outdoor Boards we curate: Outdoors in the USA, Outdoors in Canada, Outdoors in Europe, and National Parks (Monuments, Forests and Grasslands).
On a road trip? Take a scenic route (e.g., one of the official scenic byways in the USA) – and keep an eye out for scenic overlooks and parking lots for trails to take a road trip hiking break.
Last but not least: ask a local! Ask for the most famous, the prettiest, the least visited, and the must-see natural areas, parks, nature sights… And then ask the concierge, driver, waiter, shopkeeper: so where do YOU and your family go when you make time for outdoor fun?
This goes directly to our fellow travel bloggers: with all the work you put towards exploring sights for your article and all the photos you take, we hope you also make time to take a break and just relax and re-energize in nature. We know it’s a challenge (for us, too) to *just be* in nature, and not take pictures or think about how to describe it later. But it feels so good to just stop, look, relax, and appreciate. Thank you for what you do; you deserve a true break from your travel-work and work-travel, too!
#OptOutside and #HappierPlace
Following the example of REI, everyone at Happier Place gets #OptOutside Friday off to have fun outside instead of buying, selling or staring at our devices. So while our website will be active, no human will process any purchases or respond to comments or messages until the next day (aka So-Much-To-Do Saturday or #ShopSmall Small Business Saturday).
UPDATED 11/18/2019: Like everyone else working online, we have a special sale on yet another themed day: Cyber Monday. We offer a special coupon code for Cyber Monday (valid only on 12/2/2019) which will save you 19% on your entire order: CYBER19. Of course, we also donate 5% of sales (not just of profit!) to the Environmental Defense Fund. So there are incentives to purchase from Happier Place – on any day but the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Revisit this post later and spread the word by saving one of these images to Pinterest.
Let’s Inspire Each Other!
We would love to see your photos of the fun you have in nature. If you use our hashtag #HappierPlace, we might even feature your photo on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
You don’t share photos online? Then TELL us about how you opted outside in the comment section below.
Let’s keep inspiring each other and make the world a happier place.