Because I Can

Growing up in North Vancouver, I was lucky to always have nature at my fingertips. I fondly remember many afternoons spent playing Kick the Can or King of the Hill with friends; climbing trees and tucking myself away in the bushes to try to be the first one to the can or the hill. Endless laughter and what seemed like endless movement.

Looking back at my childhood and remembering the amount of time spent moving while playing, it’s no wonder that I now find the most freedom moving outside. I love walking into a forest to hike and soaking up the beauty that surrounds me, arriving at beautiful viewpoints and gazing upon mountains and the ocean and feeling as though I could soar with the birds. No matter how difficult a hike is, it’s always worth it when I reach the end.

It’s particularly rewarding to be exhausted after spending time engaging with nature. The thought of diving into the salty ocean to swim is so calming to me. The joy of hopping on a bike and taking a path that can lead me anywhere is the real treat that comes with living in such a beautiful place.

Growing up, I struggled with image and weight. The things I would do to try to combat those struggles, like exercising indoors, have never brought me as much joy as when I move outdoors. For many years, I was nervous about what people thought of me while performing certain workouts or going on hikes that I found difficult; activities that others seemed to do with ease. For a long time, I just didn’t do these things. I stopped engaging in movement.

I honestly can’t tell you what shifted in me to start wanting to move again; what made me want to step back on the trails or what drove me to put on that swimsuit and go for a dip. Maybe it was age, maybe it was being surrounded by a group of loving and encouraging friends, maybe it was just time, or maybe it was a combination of all of these things. What I can tell you is that it’s a choice I don’t regret.

There is a wonderful freedom that comes from movement. A freedom in engaging with things that I enjoy and moving in ways that I have come to love. Yes, there are days when a hike is hard and I struggle and have to take a lot of breaks, but I do it! I’m proud of this body that can do hard things.

I find so much encouragement in being part of a community that takes pride in moving. Being a Movement by NM community member is my daily reminder to celebrate the big steps and the small ones. I love that it’s a place for everybody and we all get to grow and move together.

As these days get warmer and the summer sets in, I encourage you to do something you love. Maybe something you’ve given up on or something you’ve been self-conscious about in the past. Because you can do it!

Born and raised in North Vancouver, Holly Snowden is a B.C. girl through and through. She has worked in hospitality for 15 years and loves working with and serving people. Engaging with people over coffee and food is something that fills her heart. When she’s not working, Holly spends her time walking, reading books, hanging out with friends, and taking her nephew to the park.