I grew up in Starokrzepice, Poland a small village not far from mountains; remote, quiet and surrounded by nature. As children we spent our summers outdoors, leaving the house after breakfast and playing until we were called in for dinner. We were the kings and queens of our castles, the cowboys and Indians of our deserts and the wild horses of our fields. Every day was an adventure and the spirit of adventure I found there has never left me.
As I grew older my adventures leapt out of my imagination into real life. I left Poland when I was 18 to live in Manchester, before heading to Edinburgh to study fashion and after graduating I set off for London to work for Alexander McQueen. I have travelled around Asia, America and Europe and feel most alive when I am discovering and exploring new places.
However, it is almost inevitable that as we grow older our responsibilities grow and the bonds that hold us in one place start to tighten. Caught in the daily grind it can be easy to lose our adventurous spirit and along with it the sense of self and of belonging to something greater in this world.
However, in the words of the great modern philosopher Wayne Dyer, ‘if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change’ and sure enough, if we look hard enough it is possible to create adventures every single day, even out of the most routine and mundane circumstances.
Nature is a great place to rekindle your spirit of adventure and is something that can be found all around you. The moment you step outside your front door and hear the birds singing, the sound of the rain bouncing on the pavement or see clouds swirling and breaking above your head. Take a few seconds to stop, listen, look and allow your senses to absorb what’s going on. All too often in our ‘plugged in’ existence we fail to see evidence of these daily miracles; miracles that remind us we are part of something much bigger than ourselves and that we are constantly connected to other things.
Being in nature can nourish your soul, bring you peace, help you reconnect with loved ones and reset your thoughts and attitudes towards your daily challenges. If we let it, it can help us approach life as one big adventure rather than a daily slog that must be endured.
Why not try it for yourself? Challenge yourself to spend 30 minutes in nature for 30 consecutive days and feel the difference. I tried it and experienced:
- A significant increase in my sense of wellbeing
- Increased energy
- Reduced feelings of stress and negativity
- Improved quality of sleep
- Higher levels of productivity
- I felt happier!
Ideas for your 30 Minutes for 30 Days in Nature Challenge:
- Ditch the desk and head outside for your lunch – find a local park or common area and enjoy lunch al fresco.
- Walk to work (or to a bus/train station further away from the one you usually go to). Changing your route will rewire your brain and help you become more aware of your surroundings.
- Search out the local cycle path network and piece together a safe and quiet way to get around. Cycle paths are often home to a variety of colourful flora and fauna, if the season is right you can even stop to pick some blackberries. Who knows where the paths will take you?
- Sit in your garden for half an hour once you get home. Spend time examining it; tend to your flowers, watch how the trees move in the breeze and look out for all of nature’s life forms that exist alongside us.
- If you live in a flat why not spend some time planting a window box that you can fill with your favourite flowers or herbs. Buy a ‘grow your own’ chilli plant or simply treat yourself to a beautiful bunch of flowers that you can appreciate on a daily basis.
- Try a new outdoor activity – running, cycling, wild swimming, hill walking, climbing or scrambling are all incredible sports to help you get into nature and regain your adventurous side. Feel the wind on your face, challenge yourself mentally and physically and focus your mind on nothing but the task ahead.
- Take a trip to the seaside! I cannot think of many things that restore the soul like a walk along the beach. Throw off your shoes, feel the sand under your feet, dip your toes into the water and breath in the salt air.
- Borrow a pet (but remember to give it back!) There are websites now that pair dog owners with voluntary dog walkers so you can benefit from the positive mental vibes of walking a hound, without having to hoover up the hairs afterwards!
- Get cosy under canvas. Camping is an incredible way to cut ties with technology, strip back to the bare essentials and convene with nature and whatever elements it decides to throw at you. It also encourages spontaneity as you can go where, when and with whomever you choose!
Wherever you go and whatever you do - remember to have fun. Nature is a beautiful place with adventure abound so go out there and rediscover that child adventurer that once played so fiercely, imagined with such abandonment and believed they could be whatever they wanted to be.