Life is one great adventure, but more often than not over the last few years I have found myself in the wilderness, not sure of where I am heading or even what my goal is. Slowly however I am emerging from the wilderness, exploring nature, and being content to meander wild through my life. This is not how I have always been.
Driven and ambitious was my style, pushing myself to the limits. I had an amazing husband, two gorgeous boys, a job I loved and enough adventure to make me happy. That has changed and I now realise that life is far too short and I need to do what makes me and my boys happy. This has taken time to evolve and is still evolving, but I have discovered where I need to be.
A combination of listening to Simon Reeve in the confines of The Anvil in Basingstoke and my personal trainer trying to persuade me that he can see I can prioritise anything other than exercise, I realised I can always find a way to prioritise travel as it is something I really want to do. If you want to do something enough you will find a way.
I was always the girl who liked to be outside, nature made me buzz and I loved my flower and butterfly books. On my journey over the last few years I have found that sitting on a cliff top with my camera, whatever the weather has given me the space to think, to escape and to just let my mind clear.
Believing that the universe will deliver and there is nothing I can do to change anything has helped me to accept the hand of life I have been dealt, however much I hate it at times. Wide open spaces let my mind wander and allow me time to process my emotions and thoughts away from being needed as 'mum', answering the needs of work and my students or the ever-growing jobs list and draw of social media. Research has shown that being outdoors reduces the stress hormone cortisol, something that rises to bursting point before I give in and take myself out for a long stomp. Even planning my escape can have beneficial effects and that is why I always have the next adventure in the planning stage. Even on my cliff top perch or isolated beach the next idea starts to form.
Slowly my adventures have grown, from a short detour over the moor on the way back from the shops, via a week in Norway photographing the winter wilderness to two weeks trekking over the Andes in Patagonia. All have been adventures in their own right and even the smallest moment grabbed when I least expect it is worth the photograph. The beach with angry skies and sun rays breaking through as the boys learnt to skim stones before the storm hit was magical. Everyone can make these moments happen, it is just being able to let go of the 'should' and 'must' in life that is hard.
This little adventure called life is evolving and developing for all of us. Every moment is precious, you never get time back to try again and I intend to fill as many moments as I can with memories and happiness. I want the boys to see the natural world as well as the world without commercialisation. Visiting places off the beaten track, small markets, islands that aren't tourist traps and learning about what is important in life is essential. Money doesn't come into this in any way. We manage 'free' adventures whenever we can; walking on the beach looking for treasure, visiting a small village with an ancient cairn or collecting another trig point and geocache tick. They are all adventures in their own small way.
Four Small Steps to Make an Adventure Happen
Prioritise adventure and travel - set aside time even if it is just one afternoon or evening. Make time in your schedule and do it. You find time to sit on social media or go to the pub with friends once in a while. Change those priorities to adventure
Being broke is not an excuse - adventures can happen without money. Not having money is an excuse. As Alistair Humphreys points out, if you were given £1,000,000 to spend a night on Dartmoor you would find a way. Therefore you will find a way to have an adventure if you really want to do it (even without money as an enticement). Nature for the most part is free. Walking is free. Finding a wide open space and sitting watching the world go by is free.
Start small - go the long way home, find a quiet side road you have never been down and look at the houses (really look, don’t just meander with your eyes shut as we so often do), walk to the headland or hill that is nearby and you have always wondered what the view from the top is like. It doesn’t have to be a huge adventure around the world to be an adventure.
Have a reason and a goal - are you travelling to see new places, to get fit, even just to escape the kids for a few hours? Whatever your reason keep that goal in your mind as you plan your adventure.