Robert Alexander became passionate about the outdoors during his youth in Oakland, California. Outdoor Afro recently spoke with Robert to discuss his evolving commitment to outdoor recreation.
Robert and fellow diver
Tell us more about how your participation in outdoor activities began?
I have an affinity for water. I jumped into a pool of water at age two with all my clothes on, and my mother had to jump in and save my life! She got me into swimming lessons that same summer, and I was swimming laps by the age of five. I became a lifeguard when I was eighteen and worked for various local pools, and eventually became an Aquatics Director for an organization. To this day, I thank my mother for exposing me to many different activities during my youth. She made sure I was an active member within the Oakland Parks and Recreation scene, and I was involved with the local Arts Center where we did things like act in plays, make ceramics, cook, and do carpentry and photography.
What is your favorite outdoor recreation activity?
My favorite outdoor activity is camping because I love to breathe clean fresh air. I also love wildlife and hiking. I like the camaraderie you build when you are on a camping trip with others — from pitching a tent, to cooking food and starting a fire. These are essentially team building experiences that effortlessly create a bond, and I love it!
Do your friends and family join you in your outdoor pursuits?
My friends and I recently took a trip to Lake Tahoe, Nevada. It took a lot of convincing for some folks because many of them had never even seen snow before! Outdoor activities like water rafting I have tried with some friends, but not all as many cannot swim.
If you had one recommendation for someone who wanted to start participating in outdoor recreation as an adult, what is the most important advice you have for them?
The advice I would give them is to take the chance because you never know — you might fall in love with a particular activity. Most people don’t try things because of fear or they think they might be unsuccessful. I tell those people, “you never know until you try!” Another thing I might tell someone, which I know sounds cliché, is: “you only live once!” But seriously, do not wait until you are 90 years old and talk about what you COULD HAVE DONE. Live life NOW!
We know you recently received your SCUBA certification, what is the next outdoor milestone you hope to reach?
I want to become a better skier. I love the snow but it can be expensive. I am a beginner, but every time I go I improve, and this motivates me. I want to try as many things as I can because I have no limits. Sky diving will definitely be something I try in the future, but one thing at a time!