When did you last opt for public transport instead of the car?
Over the last couple of years the statistics for public transport use have made interesting reading. In 2019 84% we in Great Britain travelled 873 billion passenger kilometres (that’s 22 million times around the world). 84% of these kilometres were in cars, vans or taxis.
Journeys for work, leisure and adventure.
Some of these journeys will have been for work but many will also have been for leisure. For those of us who love outdoor adventures, access to our favourite outdoor spaces has become synonymous with jumping in the car (or more recently the camper van).
Did you learn how to pitch a ridge tent? I did and it is the teaching I remember more than those first camp nights.
It seemed to me, at the tender age of eleven, there was a ritual to the whole affair. Even then I was aware of the passing down of skills. Like sailors on a land-ridden sea as we pitched we, master and apprentice, were not only partaking of tradition, we were becoming tradition.
This week, thanks to a great piece of research work from Plas-y-Brenin (The National Outdoor Centre) . I read the fantastic news that almost a third (32%) of the British population have tried a new outdoor activity since the start of lockdown.
Trying a new outdoor activity
That’s almost 17 million UK adults who have experienced the challenge and exhilaration that outdoor achievement delivers. The Plas-y-Brenin ‘Outdoor Aware 2021’ report (definitely worth a read) also reveals that 32% of people plan to continue their new-found enjoyment of being outside once lockdown ends.
The other day I had a wonderful outdoor experience. One that reminded me of my own childhood.
Freedom to explore
I’ve recently realised that my happiest childhood memories are outside ones. I grew up next to the Malvern Hills, and spent a fair amount of my time roaming the hills and commons near our home. I grew intimate with the outdoors, built dens in freshly mown grass, climbed rocks next to quarries, and made friends with the horses grazing on the common.
There’s nothing like the feeling of working in a team but when you take on life as a freelancer, you often find yourself working alone. When you’re doing freelance jobs, you might not have colleagues in the traditional sense but don’t be surprised if they appear along the way.
Walking with children can be enormous fun but often also includes an element of determined reluctance, particularly as the day goes on or the paths turn uphill. Here at Fi Darby Freelance we’ve been busy creating some downloadable child-friendly maps for our local area. We’re very pleased with the results. If you want a few more tips on how to encourage children on a walk, read on!
Sweeping gender-based statements seem to be in so I don’t feel too bad suggesting that in general we women worry more than our men. The science agrees with me but (like me) doesn’t really understand why. Suggestions include hormones, cultural burden, and our tendency to look after ourselves better than the chaps.
Being outdoors helped my anxiety
Whatever the reasons, I do know that my levels of worry (already excitable) increased as I approached menopause. Despite loving the outdoor lifestyle, it took me a while to register the soothing effects of being outside. Whether it was outdoor swimming, walking, wild camping, or (a new addition) running, experiencing intimacy with the outdoors had the ability to calm my concerns.
This is ironic because we women worry about being outdoors.
I know women worry about being outdoors because, in various guises, I’ve spent a big chunk of my life helping them gain outdoor skills. I’d like to add at this point that I’ve done the same for men and that they have worries too. But not always the same ones.
Over the last 12-months. I’ve been enjoying finding out more about the principles of permaculture. I’ve also been trying to apply them to my own life. Developed in the 1970s from a sustainable agriculture movement, permaculture offers an exciting incentive towards positive change.
Local outdoor exploration has been on the uptake since the first lockdown in March 2020. We now all know, and appreciate our local areas. This doesn’t mean of course that we aren’t all longing for the opportunity to explore further afield but that time isn’t quite with us yet.
With the prospect of ‘somewhere else’ just around the calendar corner, these last few weeks of ‘stay local’ restrictions, might perhaps be the most tricky. To keep us all outside as spring unfolds, I’ve done some research and put together ten of the most interesting and creative ideas to help us get outside and explore locally for this final lockdown push.