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We were constantly outside and always enjoyed it, no matter the weather. I remember hiking up mountains and gushing at fjords basked in beautiful sunshine. I remember making igloos in the playground at school, from the mounds of snow on the ground. I remember running around a frozen lake with my gymnastics team. I remember seeing people sledging and cross country skiing to work when the roads were covered in snow.
One thing I don’t remember is ever feeling annoyed at having to spend time outdoors, or being uncomfortable outside. I am almost certain that was down not only to having comfortable and practical clothing – something that wasn’t a luxury there, just the norm – but also to the Scandinavian mindset.
Getting outside and enjoying nature is so ingrained in Scandinavian culture that there are many sayings that celebrate the outdoors. Ut på tur, aldri sur (out on a trip, never sour) is one of my favourites. As with a lot of these sayings, it doesn’t really flow that well when directly translated to English but the essence is easy to grasp. In one simple sentence, it explains the huge benefit of being outdoors – happiness!
When I moved back to Scotland, I took this attitude and love of the outdoors with me and I can often be found adventuring outdoors, no matter the weather.
Here in the UK, the word adventure seems to be associated with big epic trips but that doesn’t have to be the case. Adventure can be as big or as small as you like (or have the time for). It can be a walk up your local hill or through nearby woods. It could be toasting marshmallows around a bonfire in your back garden or a weekend camping trip on the coast. It can be meticulously planned down to the finest detail or it can be a last minute spontaneous whim.
A few weekends ago, I saw a sign for St Abb’s Head when I was on my way home from Coldingham Beach. I was a bit surprised as I thought St Abb’s Head was much further away. I woke up the next day, looked outside, and saw sunshine and a beautiful blue sky and thought “mmm…I have no plans today, maybe I’ll go see if I can find St Abb’s Head”. Off I went and enjoyed a spontaneous coastal adventure.
No matter what it entails - being outside, adventuring, and connecting with nature is really important to me. I believe it is essential for a healthy body and a healthy mind. Standing at the top of a hill or floating in the sea waiting for the perfect wave, is the only time I really feel 100 percent myself and happy. I am free to focus on nothing but the moment and the beauty of our small planet – all the worries and stresses of busy modern day life flutter away in the wind.
Having the right gear is essential to feeling this sense of euphoria. Good gear should allow you to focus on what you are doing, not what you are wearing. Hiking up a hill in boots that rub or clothes that don’t protect you against the elements is pretty miserable – regardless of how amazing the surroundings are.
So, if you haven’t already guessed, I am very excited to be a part of Nordic Outdoor. I will be helping Daniel spread the Nordic Outdoor love of the outdoors and will hopefully continue to inspire you to get outside and adventure.