We may be grounded but there are ways to make the most of the small world on your doorstep! It’s time to turn your daily walk into an adventure. Sweet summertime is here. The dragonflies are out, the birds are chirping, and the temperatures are up - all of which make for great conditions to go on hikes, swim in streams, or even sleep under the stars. This lockdown offers the opportunity for local adventures. Watch my latest adventure video here.
A warm, clear night was forecast so I packed my bag and off I went. I strung up my hammock in some nearby trees, lit the campfire and whipped out my campfire dishes that I prepared ahead of time (see episode one here), and finished cooking them over the flames.
At 9pm, with only the faintest glow left in the west, the birds stopped singing. Venus blazed and, as darkness descended, others joined: Arcturus, Procyon, the Plough and the Milky Way. A breeze riffled ink-black trees. Bats swooped. Something scuttled in the hedge. Even though I had walked this way up the farm many times, and since lockdown almost daily, it had been a very long time since I camped up here at night. I sat, swaying in my hammock, listening, with every pore, and every nerve.
Travel teaches us to look at the world differently, and the same can be applied to our new, smaller spheres. Even if your walking routes or adventures are limited, approaching your allowance of daily activity with a different focus - such as walking after dark or camping in your garden - can bring huge rewards.
I am lucky. I live on a farm in rural Shropshire, where the rolling hills meet the Welsh Mountains. From home I can walk through woods flush with wild garlic and bluebells and sandstone follies; I have a lovely local hill that provides soul-stirring views. But it doesn’t really matter where you are if you have a travellers curiosity. Think about what you love to do when you are away - walking at sunrise, watching wildlife, taking photos, learning something new - and seek the same sensations from your own doorstep.
Sometimes my walks have a hint of safari: sheep migrating across Shropshire savannah, foxes emerging at dusk, small birds flashing between verges, a lone llama, quite out of place. My translation app has been replaced with with Birds Song ID; Ive even started an album of poo pictures I try to identify when I get home…
Inventing new campfire meals has been an exciting project! I’ve tried to perfect a few of my expedition recipes and improved lighting fires from friction. I have let my imagination roam wherever it wants, even if I can’t physically follow.
Yes, we are grounded. But that doesn’t mean we can’t explore. Embrace your surrounding area - the country, the city - even if it means covering the same areas - with the right outlook, it won’t be the same walk twice.
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Let me know ow you get on with your recipes by leaving a comment below.