Time to be your most active and adventurous self.
The year we explore more. The year we get excited about early-morning alarms and sunrise adventures, throwing a pack on our back and spending as much time as we can in the great outdoors in every way that excites you – and it starts now.
Whether it’s taking a stroll up the hill at sunset after a day of Zoom calls, zipping up the wetsuit for an early-morning swim or marking each season with a bucket list adventure, the outdoors is the place to find some much-needed relief and grounding, escapism and soul-searching. The trick is getting outside in a way that serves you.
From exploring a new National Park every month to plugging into a podcast that will inspire an adventure, we’ve pulled together a list of ways for you to get outside more, whatever happens this year. #forthosewhotravel
Four seasons, four adventures. That’s how to get excited by each new chapter of the year. They could be four entirely different places you’ve always wanted to visit when the time was right or it could be the same place seen in four totally unique conditions. Either way, now is the time to plan them. Mark your calendar, book your tickets, plan your journey, take the time off and feel the hairs on your neck stand up and salute as you get excited about a winter, spring, summer and autumn adventure; the kind you’ve always wanted to experience. From waking up in a tent on the Isle of Skye to taking one of Lonely Planet’s ‘best in travel’ trips, it all starts with a plan.
You’ve thought about it, haven’t you. At some point or another, you’ve watched on with envy as a peloton of cyclists has whipped down a long, bending country road in front of you, the wind whooshing past them as they soak up the first glimmers of sunrise – and you’ve wanted to get in on the action. So do it. Counter the sedentary position of life at your desk and take up a life of two wheels. Strap our cyclist-first Roll Top to your back and commute to work on your bike, join a Sunday cycling club where coffee is high on the agenda or choose thicker wheels and enjoy life on the trails. Whatever piques your intrigue, every session in the saddle is epic.
There was a time, not so long ago, when the food on our plates was seasonal. Jerusalem artichokes in January, aubergine in August and wild mushrooms in November. Now take that one step further and try foraging, using the woodlands and hedgerows to find wild food as you connect with the landscape in a whole new way. From seasoning your food with field garlic you picked yourself, to hosting a monthly dinner club with foraged foods to going on a half-hour foraging walk five times a week, there’s something pretty cool about partaking in a practice that others have for hundreds of years. Sustainable, delicious and adventurous, there’s nothing quite like cooking from Mother Nature’s pantry.
This is it. The ideal time to act on the cravings for some newfound excitement and a fresh challenge, and it doesn’t get better than exploring your own doorstep, developing new skills and pushing your boundaries. That’s where hobbies come in. Dip your toe into the world of wild swimming, strap on a backpack for another epic hike, take your mountain bike to the trails or dust off your racquet and take up tennis again. Whatever gives you goosebumps, getting hooked on a new hobby is as much about exploring the outdoors as it is about exploration, meditation, challenges and rewards as you discover new places, new passions and new people.
When it comes to National Parks, there’s one for everybody. Whether you’re into inching your way through a network of wetlands, scaling dramatic mountain peaks, swimming in hidden valley lakes, hiking across wide open moorlands or traversing across towering coastal cliffs, there is a National Park for everyone. From Brecon Beacons to the Norfolk Broads, the Lake District to Loch Lomond, South Downs to the Yorkshire Moors, the UK alone has 15 National Parks, which lays out a challenge: for you to explore them all in a year, or at least discover a new one each month.
The thing about life is it happens. So no matter how many times you tell yourself you’re going to pull on your Adventure Bag and explore more, you have to somehow fit it in between work, family and your social commitments. That’s where sunrise comes in. By setting your alarm that much earlier and getting outside for a stroll across some mist-heavy meadows, a lap around the park with your dog, a gentle 10 kilometre jog or a road trip to your favourite water’s edge, by getting outside as the sun comes up, your making the great outdoors your priority. But best of all, you’ll be starting your day with a rush of endorphins, a lungful of fresh-air and a soul-stirring adventure, whether it’s big or small.
One glance at social media or an ad campaign for outdoor gear and you’re left believing that all outdoor-people should aspire to summit Mount Kilimanjaro – but there are more realistic ways to become an outdoor enthusiast, and it starts by redefining what the outdoors means to you. No pressure, just pleasure. Long walks along the UK’s best mega-beaches, mornings spent on your paddleboard, days lost wandering around your favourite National Trusts, hiking the Pennine Way, hunting down local swimming holes or simply soaking up some Vitamin D in your local park. By reconsidering what it means to be “outdoorsy”, you get to reframe what qualifies as getting outdoors and how you spend that time.
What you listen to and who you listen to is what you become, so open up your podcast app and go on an audio adventure full of outdoor inspiration, life lessons and travel-advice; the kind that will stimulate your intrigue and encourage you to spend more time outside. That’s what our For Those Who Travel podcast is all about. From explorers and travel photographers to expedition tour guides and pioneers of sustainable adventure, For Those Who Travel aims to get under the dirt of travel and the extraordinary lives of those who live for it, such as Phoebe Smith, Graeme Purdy and Tom Hall. And that’s just one of hundreds, so take a few minutes subscribing to podcasts like Of Mountains And Minds, Terra Incognita and Wild Ideas Worth Living, and go on a journey of a thousand miles without having to move your feet.