Jordana Milne


MA (Master of Arts), Recreation and Leisure Studies

Thesis title

A phenomenological investigation of spirituality in outdoor recreation experiences

Year of defence



There exists a rich history of people describing meaningful moments during outdoor recreation as spiritual experiences. These involve connecting to something bigger than yourself, and recognizing your place in a larger universal system (Ashley, 2007; Fischer, 2011; Huss, 2014; Jirasek et al., 2017; Naor & Mayseless, 2019; Taylor & Egeto-Szabo, 2017). Although many different disciplines are beginning to explore this relationship, challenges exist in defining these moments, appropriate methodologies for studying them, and with illuminating a holistic understanding of experience. This study drew on Ingold's (2000) Dwelling and hermeneutic phenomenology to explore spiritual outdoor recreation experiences and proposed the use of an emplacement nexus to highlight the converging of histories, social and cultural understanding, and embodied experience within this phenomenon (Grimwood, 2015a; Pink, 2011). This theoretical orientation allowed for the essences of rhythms, the power of nature, and elements of purpose in life to emerge as tenants of spiritual experiences. It illuminated the importance of intentionality, balanced course design, and opportunities for reflection as vital to the facilitation of spiritual outdoor recreation experiences. This study hopes to move the outdoor recreation field towards an understanding of the ways humans exist as part of a larger universal system, and to extend empathy and caring towards the human and non-human elements that influence our lives.


Jordana Milne
Jordana grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba where she completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Manitoba in Recreation Management and Community Development with a minor in Geography. During this time, Jordana studied parks and protected areas management through an undergraduate research study involving revitalization of the Two Jack Day Use Area in Banff National park, and was also a research assistant with a study that explored film industry perspectives in regard to film tourism marketing opportunities. Jordana played five years of CIS women’s volleyball with the Manitoba Bisons, winning a national championship during the 2013/2014 season and maintaining academic all Canadian status during her time on the team. Jordana's athletic background instilled within her a passion for health and wellbeing, including her love for being active and competition. For the past five summers, Jordana has been involved in youth camp programming, particularly as a supervisor with Mini U Programs at the University of Manitoba. Her connection with the natural world stems from camping and road trips with her family as a child, as well as more recent domestic and international tourism experiences.