I love the outdoors, and every time I go on holiday (piss-up trips to Lanza aside…), my resounding memories of the trip are inevitably of the time spent outside, the walks taken, time spent breathing in the air, absorbing the smells, sights and sounds of the environment around me. Yet while at home, I rarely make the most of the beautiful country I live in. I’m not sure why that is; apathy or laziness? Or maybe an unconscious acknowledgement that it’s always there and I can go whenever I want. Except I rarely do. Anyone that knows me also knows that I love reading, and can lose myself in a book for hours. One of my favourite authors, Ed McBain wrote over 80 crime novels in his lifetime. most of which I’ve read. I started reading his 87th Precinct novels when I was 12 (thanks to my Mum who said “I think you’ll like this” while handing me a hardback book entitled Poison! Hahaha, she knew me too well!!). What immediately struck me about his writing, even back then, was his ability to bring the landscapes of the cities alive, his descriptions of the environment another character to become acquainted with. He drew me in and made me feel as though I was there. Recently I’ve realised I’ve been hiding in the vast worlds inside books instead of getting out an enjoying the real one outside.
That wasn’t my intention for this year, but sometimes life gets away from me. A few months ago I was lucky enough to be able to go to two different screenings of the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour of the UK & Ireland. Every year in Banff, Canada hundreds of films are entered into the November film festival, a stunning array of short and long films that celebrate every aspect of the great outdoors. For the last few years a small number of the films have been chosen to go on a world tour. I went last year so was determined to get tickets to the two programmes showing this year. The films vary from those just a few minutes long, to those over 40 minutes, and cover themes from skiing, photography, climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, running and lots more. Some films made me laugh, but a few more made me cry – put a dog in a film that you know isn’t going to make it, and hello flood gates. Weep-o-rama. What all the films have in common, however, is an overwhelming ability to inspire. I left both screenings feeling thrilled, full of optimism, excitement, and a feeling that I needed to do more. To get outside and create my own adventures. A few months have gone by, and although I’ve not capitalised on those feelings, they’ve certainly not gone away. Life will always get in the way if you let it. There will always be something else to do, some mundanity (new word!) to steal the minutes and hours away from you.
The last couple of months have reminded me more than ever that life is only ever going to be what you make it. You can choose to let life get you down, or pass you by, or you can choose to embrace it. It doesn’t mean jacking it all in and hitting the road for the foreseeable (as nice as that would be); little steps are all good too. I do have some big dreams, but right now, I just need to start with something small. So that’s why I’ve decided to take a week off and go camping in Scotland. Happily some fabulous pals & their kiddies are going to join me for a couple of days, so I can’t wait. Just getting out, going for walks, truly relaxing and embracing our beautiful landscape is exactly what I need at the moment.
It’s time to rekindle some dreams, and start planning some adventures 🙂