I love getting outdoors, doing things like surfing, mountain biking or hiking. I love #campvibes (thanks Poler Stuff for that one) and I’m starting to appreciate bushcraft. But sometimes this can’t happen during the winter.
Or so I thought…
I challenged myself to to 31 days of wild – the whole of January. To find some
Different things to do and find moments of wild with and around family and fitting around work.
These are some of my learnings from my month of wild. A lot of this seems obvious but it’s actually the application that was a bit of a revelation to me. It’s helped me get though January without feeling too blue. Try some out and let me know about it.
Train yourself to get up earlier
I’ve been getting up earlier, and have managed all sorts before breakfast, I’ve had adventures before work. You could even get up at stupid o’clock, say 4am, be up and down a mountain and off to work 9 or 10am. But make sure you’re packed and ready to go, I made this mistake of being half packed and faffed wasting time.
Even better sleep on the trail in a bivvy bag. Sleep in the car park or the beach by the wave and be ready for early doors, get your surf in and home before anyone knows it.
Make the most of lunch hours
So much can be done in an hour. You can hop on your bike and get to a park. You can brew up a coffee on a stove. Take photos of nature near the office.
Don’t let darkness put you off
I love hiking but never thought about doing it at night until this challenge. It’s lovely to rely on the moon and be on your own. What might be termed a walk in daylight is a bit more of an adventure at night. Also you’ll be on your own which would be awesome on really busy trails, which of course you get all to yourself. Cycling at night, mountain biking, kayaking or trail running at night is awesome, and I’ve even surfed at night.
Also don’t let the wind and cold put you off
Just bad kit right? Well that doesn’t really apply to cold water swimming. That just takes nerves or steel or maybe shrivelled up balls! It’s so awesome though, such a rush! I can’t persuade you to try it, you just have to it. I also went for a hike in the rain during the 31 days of wild, I was on my own apart from one other hiker, we had a brief chat and gave each other an imaginary pat on the back for being out.
I sometimes cycle with a group of Dads mid week which really helps me push my fitness a bit more, and it’s a lot more fun (slash less scary) to cruise dark Welsh roads, with owls hooting with some other people. I also quite fancy doing the Back to Black 10k in the woods in March, which should be much more fun than the 10k in the middle of summer.
Make the most of your commute
The commute could be a bit more wild? Could you cycle though Richmond Park, or take a dive out of town before heading back to the office or home? When I lived in Brighton I worked I Lewes and would cycle across the South Downs to get to work, luckily it didn’t matter that I was muddy!
Ok, so this is radical. But how important is the outdoors, nature and wilderness to you? If you’re in London you might struggle to find it regularly. Living in smaller towns and cities like Bristol helps. We are surrounded by mountains, rivers, hills and wilderness. Some of my hikes during my 31 days of wilderness were just 15 mins drive from the city. Living in the countryside would be better but you can have a city and a wilderness life.
Look at your job
Could you be more flexible? Could you go freelance? I’m freelance and sometimes this allows me to start work earlier or finish later. Ideally I can earn the same amount working less hours, leaving me more time to get outside and enjoy time with the kids.
Do activities that you don’t normally do
It’s not always feasible to go surfing or windsurfing – sports I would normally do – with kids in the depths of winter. Due to the drive to the beach and daylight. But expanding your active sports worldview might help. I don’t normally cave. But it’s a great thing to do in the winter and it’s not that cold down in the depths of a cave (if it’s a dry cave). You could also try indoor climbing or go for a night hike. I tried stand up paddle boarding recently and it’s a great watersport to do even on a river during in winter, as you don’t get wet (or shouldn’t).