Tuesday, 18 June 2024 14:25

The Balance: Michelle Morpeth on getting Outdoorsy

Written by  Katy Prescott
Michelle Morpeth Michelle Morpeth

What started as a conversation with her antenatal group has grown into a successful wellbeing business for Michelle Morpeth, and one she balances with her wine sales career at Central Otago’s Wooing Tree.

“When I had my son Nate, I started getting out having little adventures with him and I was always getting asked by other mums about how I managed to do all this stuff. How did I know where to go and what to do? Where did I get my confidence from? So, I started writing all the advice down in a blog.”

Ten years on, Outdoorsy has developed into an online community and a business offering wellness subscriptions and retreats for Mums, and workplace wellness workshops. The Outdoorsy Mama Facebook group boasts nearly 11,500 members throughout New Zealand. “It was obviously a niche just waiting to be filled,” Michelle says. “Membership grew so quickly and it’s a really, really cool little corner of the internet… I think since Covid, people have really recognised that getting outdoors is something that really helps them to reset and recalibrate.”

There is no “typical mum” in the group. “It runs the whole gamut from people who simply like being outdoors but don’t know where to start, right through to women who are very experienced outdoors and want to make connections with other adventure besties and get out there for some really cool experiences.”

A recent retreat took members on a collaboration with the Great Glenorchy Alpine Base Camp teaching mountain adventure skills. Another highlight has been working with Pure Salt adventure company in Tamatea Dusky Sound. “We go down and spend four or five days on a boat, spending time hiking, diving, foraging and doing conservation work. It’s pretty magical,” says Michelle. Other excursions have focused on more gentle hikes and yoga, with gourmet food sometimes thrown in, for example at Kawakawa Station in the Wairarapa.

But perhaps the ultimate thrill has been hosting 10 mums on an adventure retreat to Niue in conjunction with dive company Niue Blue. The group swam with humpback whales, hiked, snorkelled and biked as well as making new friendships. It was so successful that two trips are planned there this year.

The newest strand of Outdoorsy is facilitating workshops for businesses, explaining some simple science-based wellness strategies to help people thrive and flourish at home and at work. It’s based around fitting more of the outdoors in, and helping people understand why it’s important that they prioritise it. “It is great getting people to understand that little changes do add up,” Michelle says.

“A lot of people equate being outdoorsy with doing more sport and think that I’m going to tell them they need to climb mountains. But it’s not like that at all. It can be as simple as taking your coffee outside in the morning or going out before bed to look at the stars. It really does help with our immunity, our metabolism, our sleep patterns and with resetting our circadian rhythms. It’s a fantastic tool to use against stress and to increase productivity at work, and it’s also just really good for connection.”

Michelle continues to find balance in her own life, prioritising time with family as well as her role with Wooing Tree. She is grateful for the support and flexibility of Thea and Steve, Wooing Tree’s owners. “They’ve just been so incredibly supportive. I’m really thankful.” She manages to align the busy and quiet times of Outdoorsy around her commitments in the wine calendar. “But I’ve found that they are quite complimentary. When I’m running retreats, we often end up having great big discussions over dinner about wine. It’s an easy topic to get onto.”


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