Routines + Rituals

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effective ways to Build + achieve Habits/goals/dreams

If you nodded your head or raised an eyebrow to anything under the "umbrella", An Outdoor Experience might be your cuppa tea

Get to know your friend behind the blog 

Practical Self care + holistic wellness

A supportive community of friends living seasonally

Seasonal Nutrition

Under the umbrella of seasonal living, An outdoor experience is all about:

Bio: Ashley Bredemus

what i do.

i create seasonal frameworks + outdoor experiences, informed by  timeworn fields of study + my own experiences in the remote wilderness, to contribute to the pursuit + development of your highest self, in an accessible and practical way.

favorites.

christmas music, the smell of  a campfire, the return of Loons in the spring, foot rubs, a cup of coffee with a nice view, hats, winter (all of it), Fleetwood Mac + Cat Stevens

lifework.

writer, ex-mechanical engineer, certified yoga teacher, canoe guide, photographer, business owner, + outdoor educator

journey.

from a corporate job + apartment living in a Floridian tourist town to quitting my job + living in a semi-off grid cabin in the remote wilderness of northern Minnesota without running water, cell reception, or road access, + all sorts of ups + downs in between

mission.

to advance the tuning of our modern rhythms to our forgotten rhythms -  closing the gap between the pursuit of progress and connection to our land. in turn, creating harmony + healing on a collective + individual level

writing style.

friendly, simple, + warm while always keeping it real

Fifty miles from civilization, past the road’s end, there’s a cozy cabin nestled in a gulch of pine trees beside a river.

I promise to keep the feet of this blog on the ground for you. I don't want you to move to a cabin in the woods or blow all your money on nifty wellness gizmos. This is not that kind of blog and my views on self-development, wellness, + seasonal living do not pander to consumerism. I love to write. I love to learn. And I love to experience the outdoors. This blog is about connecting these three in the hopes it will offer value to you, as it has me. It is not about giving you the false notion that you need to come from a place of privilege to experience the benefits of seasonal living. If you can look out a window, you can put most of the topics here into use! When I do suggest some*thing* to you, you can rest assured that it is something I trust and have used/read/devoured/worn myself, but is absolutely not required!

My Promise to you:

 "No one is more suitable for bringing adventure into the lives of hundreds who seek the peace that is found in the remoteness of northern Minnesota."
-Duluth Pack 

"Ashley's optimistically energetic spirit and genuinely generous warmth have made us big, big fans quite, quite quickly."
-Up North Trading Company 

An Outdoor Experience is a response to not only my journey but to the current distracted, toxic, processed, disconnected, and busy state of the world we live in...

Six years ago, a woman in a suit and high heels told me I was moving to Birmingham, Alabama…me, a 22 year old girl from northern Minnesota.

The company I worked for was sending me there for the foreseeable future to work as an engineer. The woman said, “Location doesn’t matter. Your career does. You’ll make the most of wherever we send you.”

She was right about one thing, I would make the most of it. I spent the following five years in the south forging my own path and learning what I was made of but something was missing - passion.

It felt like everyone else was in search of it and finding it…except me. For many years, I hated that word. It made me uncomfortable.

Someone very important to me at the time told me how unattractive it was that I wasn’t “passionate” about anything. That person is no longer in my life but his comment stung because I thought he was right. I didn’t feel a connection to my work, my home, my hobbies, or the land around me.

Was I some strange anomaly - the girl devoid of passion for something, anything?

My worry was only compounded by the complacency I felt in the routine rhythms of my life. I didn’t understand at the time, but venturing out into the world alone, forging my own path, had served its purpose. I finally had a loose grasp of who I was. I no longer felt or needed the growth that came with flying the coop.

Instead, I felt like something was missing…you know, like when you head out on a trip and you’ve got that nagging feeling that you’ve forgotten something.

I questioned – why was choosing to live on my own so far from the people I care about? Was my engineering career in the south worth it? The lady in the high heels told me my career had to come first. Was she wrong? I had become a very independent woman, would hightailing it back to Minnesota change that?

I no sooner asked those questions when my dad called with news of extremely high blood pressure. Having survived a cancer diagnosis years earlier, any health scare with him sends me into a tailspin. My mom passed away years ago and I wasn’t about to lose my dad too.

The morning after he called, I received a letter under my apartment door notifying me that the owner of the unit I had been renting from for the past two years would be selling. I had thirty days to move out.

The timing felt like the turning of a new chapter. I could either find a new apartment in the south OR I could use the events of the past two days as leverage to change the path of my life and follow my heart home.

So that week, I chose to listen to my intuition. I quit my job, packed everything into two Duluth Packs, and drove fifteen hundred miles north to live in a primitive cabin in the remote wilderness of northern Minnesota, a stones throw from my dad’s cabin. 

When I left the scorching heat of the south I was terrified, had I made a huge mistake? But when my boots hit the maple floorboards of my 200 sq ft cabin nestled in amongst the pines, I had an overwhelming sense of clarity. Some might call it an epiphany. The best way I can describe it is like popping out of a dense fog, the road ahead instantly in focus and a sigh of relief at the ability to see clearly.




It was then I realized, the boy and the woman in the high heels were both wrong!

I was not devoid of passion. My old lifestyle was devoid of connection!

During the first few weeks in my shack, I reflected on my years in the south with this newfound clarity. I used to shop constantly. I ate out all the time. I had heaps of stuff. I had a handsome paycheck from my corporate job, full benefits, a nice car, fancy clothes, regular vacations. Some version of the American Dream. A product of privilege, no doubt.

And I was unhappy, disconnected, lost.

I hate saying that. I’m incredibly grateful for and proud of everything I’ve received and achieved in my life so far. BUT, I lacked one crucial thing.

The thing that my whole house of cards should’ve been built on:

Connection!

Connection to my own natural spirit and it's natural rhythms.

That sounds very airy-fairy and hard to pin down…maybe it even sounds too obvious but I have a hunch that lack of connection is at the heart of our restlessness as a society. Privileged or not, disconnection to ourselves, to our planet, + to our communities does not discriminate. It only shows up in different ways.

It was certainly at the heart of my tireless search for passion + meaning. I didn’t see any of this when I was living it. For me, it took a cabin in the woods to see it.

It took forced immersion in the simplicities and cycles of my home wilderness.

And THAT was the key to everything! {And the foundation of this blog} I had discounted location and connection to nature for so long because I believed the lady in the high heels who told me location doesn’t matter. But what I discovered is that, for me, place, and specifically mother nature, is inextricably linked to passion and connection.

Harmonizing my once helter-skelter life to the natural cycles of nature, harnessing it's ancient rhythms, was the key to alignment and connection in my life. 

But it wasn't like I read about the power of seasonal living in a self-help book somewhere. {Which still seems odd to me because I have read a lot of them!}  Instead, it found me and offered the missing perspective I needed to implement the thousands of pages of self-development studying I've done as an adult - the missing link.

My contribution, I hope, is to string together everything I've learned and lived in a way that is aligning, actionable, and accessible - no matter how dramatic your seasons are, whether you live in the heart of a city or out in the country, or how "outdoorsy" you care to be!




but, before we tackle the world, let's start with a story:

"Of all the amiable and rugged Minnesotans we know, Ashley Bredemus is definitely in our top 5. Native Minnesotan, creator of “An Outdoor Experience,” owner of Birchwood Wilderness Camp, and dog mom to the cutest Shiloh Shepherd (Arlo), this young woman lives an amazing life in the deep wilderness of the Northwoods-- one without running water, cell reception, or indoor plumbing."
-Duluth Pack

Press, Interviews, + Podcasts

An Outdoor Experience in

Ashley bredemus: Life at the End of the Gunflint Trail

Duluth pack

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Creating a New Life on the Gunflint Trail

friends of the Boundary Waters

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Feature Blogger: Ashley Bredemus

Up North Trading Co.

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Soul Places: A Search for Belonging

Lake Time magazine

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Community Stories - Risking the Development of Our Youth

Save The Boundary Waters

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Instagram

@ashleybredemus

Thank you for being here!

I'm Ashley Bredemus

Engineer turned wilderness camp owner and cabin dweller. 

At A.O.E. you can expect posts on topics like:
-Slow living
-Seasonal living
-Sustainable living
-Wilderness philosophy
-Rambling heartfelt journal entries


But, at the heart of it, this is a blog about the fullness of a life lived outside. I can promise you there will be stories of adventure, discovery, and love filled with comedic relief.

So whether you’re looking for some ideas on how to experience life in rhythm with the seasons, curious about my remote lifestyle, or you’re a friend/family member just checking in to make sure I’m surviving, I’ll do my best to be helpful. I’m so thankful you stopped by!

In a nutshell, I was born and raised in Northern Minnesota. Although I was raised in the land of 10,000 lakes I flew the coop in 2014  to work as an engineer in Alabama and Florida. My years there are marked by memories of sweet tea, even sweeter people, and a different kind of stunning wilderness. But it had been five years and my heart was pulling me north, back home.

So now you know what to expect here but where the heck is “here”, who am I, + who is this dog?


In September of 2018 I packed up my things and set my sights on the small border town of Grand Marais, MN.

In the ’60s, my grandparents opened a small wilderness camp an hour's drive north of town, or should I say, an hour's drive and a ten-minute boat ride/short snowmobile trip from town. The camp is not accessible by road. Some would say it's on the wrong side of the river. I’d say it's on the right side.

So that's where I moved; a vacant wilderness camp with no cell reception, running water, or sewage system (in winter months). My cabin is called the Pepper Shack and you can read all about her history HERE or take a tour HERE.

After my first winter in the Pepper Shack, living a stones throw from my dad's cabin, he and I decided to purchase the summer camp from my uncle.

Now I can proudly call myself a business owner AND blogger.

However, before I became a business owner I became an Arlo owner. My sweet Shiloh Shepherd, Arlo Grace!

You can read all about her and her breed HERE.

If you head over to my Instagram, you might think it's another dog account but we do indeed share it. She's just way more fun to post photographs of!

One last note on Arlo, don't let her majestic appearance fool you! She's a giant derp!

-Sarah Bolton

+My Favorite Poem