Josh Duhamel‘s love of the great outdoors stems from his childhood in North Dakota, where he played outside year-round with his friends. “Yes, it got cold, but you can only be inside so long before you start getting cabin fever in the middle of the winter, so we would still be outside sledding or playing hockey or whatever,” he told Yahoo Celebrity. “We found ways to get out there. You can’t be out as long, obviously, especially when it’s supercold, but when spring came, we were out from sunup until sundown.” This is why Duhamel partnered with Claritin to launch the “Be an Outsider” campaign, which encourages people to get outdoors. (A recent study by Columbia University found that Americans spend a whopping 95% of their time inside… Basically, we’re vampires.)
Looking back on his early years, Duhamel has one regret. “I was never in the Boy Scouts, but I kind of wish I were because I was literally outside all the time.” He and his BFF, Corey (who’s still his BFF today, just FYI), “were literally outside all day catching frogs and salamanders and fish and exploring the woods.” Duhamel sighed and added, “I had no formal training as a Boy Scout, no recognition or badges, but by proxy I guess I sort of was one.”
And while he’s raising his own son in the city of Los Angeles, which is a far cry from the wilds of North Dakota, the Transformers star is determined to expose young Axl to nature. “I go outside with my little guy, and he’s already like, ‘Let’s just stay in and watch a movie!’ and I’m like, ‘No, we’re going outside,'” Duhamel said. “There’s this great little hiking spot behind our house, and we’ll go gather sticks and rocks and flowers and things like that and have lunch out there and he loves it. The more he gets out there, the more he loves it.”
That being said, the father admits that 3-year-old Axl already has a passion for screen time. “We try to limit it,” he said. “I try not to be too hardcore about it, though. He’s not obsessed with [the iPad] yet, but he does like watching movies so he’s constantly doing that, but then after he does want to go out and play.” (Sometimes mom even gets to come too!)
Axl’s going to spend some serious time in the great outdoors soon. “I am trying to instill the same things that I had, and you can’t really duplicate it exactly, but I have a cabin out in the middle of the woods, the deep woods in Minnesota, and I’ll probably take him out this summer,” the 44-year-old actor said. “He’s young, but I just want to get him used to going.” Duhamel proudly added, “I have a cabin out there, just literally got electricity, and we just literally put a well in so we have an indoor bathroom. It’s definitely roughing it, but it’s just such a nice break to to be there.” The cabin also has no Internet or TV, but you can still get a signal, so they won’t be totally cut off from the outside world during their father-son excursion. “When things are stressing me out in L.A., I go there,” he added.
This is the first time Axl is even close to being old enough to join his dad for the cabin trip, but Duhamel is discovering that as children get older, parenting can become more challenging. “It’s probably a little harder now because he’s got opinions and he can articulate them — and he’s got a strong opinion about things,” Duhamel laughed. “But it’s also more fun because you get to actually teach. It’s not just cleaning diapers and putting him down for naps. You can actually interact with him now, and he’s a really smart little dude. He just cracks me up.”
But just because they have fun together doesn’t mean Duhamel shies away from disciplining Axl when it’s needed. According to the actor, his wife, Fergie, is actually “much less confrontational” and the “more peacefully minded” of the two of them. “I’m a little bit more stubborn,” he laughed. “We haven’t really had to discipline Axl other than just trying to explain things to him so he understands, but he conforms pretty well.” Pressed to name which parent is the stronger disciplinarian, however, Duhamel admits it’s him. “I”m probably more so than my wife,” he said — though he also clearly makes sure to let Fergie know how appreciated she is, as this recent (adorable) post in honor of her birthday proves.
Casually comparing himself to a German Shepherd, Duhamel also noted that he needs to get outside every day or he just goes “crazy.” His workouts are no longer about “getting huge and buff,” though. They’re about “injury prevention.” Duhamel runs, takes classes, and has enlisted the help of a trainer. “The truth is I don’t have the discipline to do it myself,” he added, “but I’ve got all that energy!” While little Axl isn’t in any organized sports himself just yet, he keeps physically fit by “playing swords” with his dad and attempting to “catch the bad guy” to keep the world safe. We can only imagine the fun they are going to have on their boys’ trip in Minnesota.
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