Escaping Your Comfort Zone

A gender-inclusive & body positive hiking group

Guest author: Richelle Olsen (Founder) and Loey Matthews (Storyteller), from Escaping Your Comfort Zone.

We live in a society where there is immense pressure to conform to a certain size, shape, and have other physical characteristics that are considered “good looking”. When people don’t fit that size or shape, it is expected that we should diet and exercise, and use makeup, hair product and even surgery until we do fit that expectation.
At Escaping Your Comfort Zone (EYCZ), we’re all about accepting that our bodies are unique and realistic, and furthermore, they are amazing and powerful just the way they are.
We want our members, and everyone else, to know that we are not broken, our bodies are enough. They are whole, and powerful and capable of amazing things. We are not a project to be fixed. We accept you all as you are.
The outdoors doesn’t care what you look like, and neither do we!
We aim to be an open group for every woman and gender diverse person who wants to get outdoors but doesn’t know where to start. Many hiking groups are fantastic places for people who are already hiking or having outdoor adventures regularly to meet each other, but we aim to be a starting point.
The majority of our hikes are beginner friendly, and usually take between 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours to complete. We don’t focus on how many kilometres you’ve done, because more often than not, our hikers are capable of much more than they think!
We always go at the pace of the slowest hiker, and there is never any rush to the finish on one of our hikes. We expect and plan for lots of stops along the way, to take selfies and point out the mushrooms and animals we meet along the trail.   At EYCZ we take the need to support everyone at their own pace really seriously – you’ll find a leader at the rear of each of our hikes, chatting to the person who is taking their time.
Escaping Your Comfort Zone hikes want you to feel that no matter your size, skin colour, where you were born, your religion, your favourite song to dance to, who you’re attracted to, your disability or anything else, your body will never be seen by us as a problem to solve, but rather as an individual person who is on your own journey and wants to have adventures along the way.
We have groups across Melbourne, Geelong, Gippsland, Canberra and Sydney.
Please vote for our project for funding to buy a mini bus so we can include Culturally Diverse & Refugee women on our hikes.  Go to www.pickmyproject.vic.gov.au.  Set your location as “Hoppers Crossing”, and find Body Positive Hiking to vote.
Find us at:
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/escapingyourcomfortzone/ (this has links to all of our local groups)
Instagram: @escapingyourcomfortzone
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