Dive In to Wonder Outside

Welcome to the Wonder Outside Blog! Let's dive in!

The goal of this blog is to help you and your loved ones to GO OUTSIDE MORE and connect to your sense of WONDER.  Once a week I will provide you with inspiration, resources, destinations and activities that will help you and your loved ones get outside in more simple, fun and challenging ways.

I'm Ranger Ted and I'm your wonder guide.

I’ve spent most of my 52 years in the great outdoors hiking, paddling, camping, skiing, skating, swimming, and exploring.  From the Boundary Waters of Minnesota to Denali in Alaska to the Cascade Mountains of Washington to the High Sierras and deserts of California. the power of wonder has shaped me every step of the way.

Now as a hiking guide, nature walk leader, educator and certified California Naturalist, I help people of all ages, abilities and experience to get outside and engage their sense of wonder and adventure as much as possible.



But here’s a secret: YOU are a Wonder Guide too! And so is your spouse, co-worker, partner, child, parent, friend, teacher and friendly barista. This blog will help you use those guides within you and around you to get outside and experience wonder, awe and adventure more.

Why Go Outside?

In a word: Wonder.

Connecting people of all ages and abilities to their sense of wonder and adventure is my mission. The best way I know to do that is to go outside.


In as many fun, immersive and adventurous ways as possible.

Going outside makes you happier, healthier, more creative, more confident, less stressed and more excited to share the great outdoors with others. It also gives you better stories for that dinner party or play date ;-)!

Who Should Go Outside?

  • People with families, friends and loved ones
  • People who have kids or used to be a kid
  • People who have phones, computers or screens
  • People who work
  • People who want to be healthy
  • People who live in the city, country or in between
  • People who care about the planet

Yes, I mean everyone!

How Should I Go Outside?

Step 1

Step… you know… OUT.  SIDE. 

Step 2

Ask yourself, what do I notice?  Let’s start with the weather.

DON’T check your phone! Now that you are outside, just stand there. If you feel naked without your phone, that’s okay.  If you feel naked without your robe, then go put that on first.

Most of us these days, including me, look at an app to check the weather.  Or we ask our so called “smart speaker.” The next chance you get, I want you to try an experiment. Let Siri and Alexa stay asleep, step outside and observe the weather.


Let Siri Sleep In

Cumulus Nimbus cloud over Balsam Lake, Wisconsin. Approximate height 60,000 ft

"Hmm...about 57 degrees?"

Good guess! Now check in with your other senses. Is there any wind? How does the sky look? Might it snow or rain later based on what you are observing right now? Are you with someone? What do they notice? Ask them!

Step back in and decide what to wear then check in with your inner wonder guide.

Do you feel different? Do you feel more alive? Do you feel like you are more a part of the natural world? Do you feel a bit untethered? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of those, then we’re on to something.

I know it’s driving you crazy so now go ahead and check your phone or wake up Siri or Alexa. How close were you to the temperature? Close or way off, doesn’t matter! The act of observing all of this on your own without a computer was the key thing.

Seriously though, how?

The next HOW of going outside can go in any number of directions. Much of that will depend on your feedback, but a few of the first questions we’ll address will include:


  • How to choose a trail or activity that’s right for you
  • How to feel safe and prepared
  • How to find a nearby natural area
  • How to choose the right clothing
  • How to observe and interact with plants, animals, birds and fish
  •  How to have FUN
  • How to encourage exploration and wonder

We Need You!

Your participation is vital to the wonder journey we are all on together. You are part of the network that others will rely on to get outside and wonder more! Tell us about those moments. Share your insights, advice and plans to the Facebook Group.

Where did you go?

There was a beach you sat on that caused you to lose all sense of time. There was a rainbow that appeared that stopped you in your tracks. There was a hike you took that was so incredibly hard that you thought you’d never make it home, but when you did, you started planning your next hike.

Where are you going next?

It can be as simple as the ravine just down the road hoping you may see some frogs. It can be as elaborate as a month long tour of glaciers in Patagonia. What do you usually pack, wear, prepare ahead of time? When you tell us about your adventures, we listen!

Keep It Simple

For now, please know this: IT’S EASY to go outside and connect to wonder. You don’t need more gear! You don’t need crampons, bivy sacks or caribeeners. You don’t have to know what those words mean at all! You don’t need new shoes, better underwear, a new helmet or the latest fashionable tights.

What Do You Notice?

Nope. All you need to do is ask one question: “What do I notice?” That’s it! Go outside and do your thing. Walk, hike, bike, run, paddle or just sit. And while you’re doing that, open up your wonder sense and see if you can notice something.

Perhaps it’s the behavior of that one bird that you don’t know the name of. That’s great! Maybe you’ll notice that most of the trees point kinda to the south. Or maybe you’ll notice that it’s starting to rain and you forgot to look at your app!

Wiki Less, Wonder More

Whatever it is that you notice anew, is the trail back to wonder. Keep following that trail. And share it with us. You can share where you go here on the Facebook Group.  

The power of wonder has shaped my life for over 50 years.

Now I’m sharing what I’ve lived, experienced, learned and noticed with you. I hope you’ll come along on this journey and do likewise.

Ted Mattison, also known as Ranger Ted, is a Certified California Naturalist, trained in Wilderness First Aid, and has explored, hiked, canoed and kayaked extensively from his home state of Minnesota to Alaska, Washington and California. He’s a graduate of Oberlin College and a former Social Studies teacher. Ted has been a working actor, director, producer and acting teacher in Los Angeles for 25 years. He is the founder of Wonder Outside with Ranger Ted and lives in Huntington Beach with his wife and two daughters. For more info please visit

4 thoughts on “Dive In to Wonder Outside

    1. THANK YOU! I’m so happy to hear that and know someone is reading this and finding it useful! thanks again, I’ll get back on a regular blog posting schedule soon. One question for you if you had the time would be to ask what kinds of other info or tips do you want? Places to go with kids? What to bring? How to keep them engaged? Maybe all of that?=) Thanks again TED

  1. Moved out of Chicago area to “Wonder Outside” in North Eastern MN on Lake Vermilion 14 years ago and am so glad I did it! Even when I feel there is no time time in the day to go out and enjoy the great North Woods I realize I need to take a minute and realize I am experiencing it daily! There is so much wildlife here; black bears, owls, fox, deer, loons just to name a few. I am fortunate to live in the Great North Woods and also feel fortunate to have met and become friends with Ranger Ted and his beautiful family. So, get out there and enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer you whether it be with Ranger Ted or on your own 🙂

    1. Thank you DAWN! Didn’t realize you were from that really big big city of Chicago on the big lake. We are very happy you made it all the way north past the Laurentian divide to one of the great gems in all of North America, Lake Vermilion =)! More coming soon to this site/ blog and podcast !

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