Happy New Year!! We all hope that 2018 and will bring better things. One way to make this happen is to spend more wild time outside. Here are my top 10 tips for EASY fun times to be had in the wild this year.
1. Take a flask on a walk. Having hot food or drink outside even on a short walk turns it into an event. Food always tastes better outside especially when you have made a bit of an exercise effort first. It is even better if the weather is a bit grotty as you feel you have really earned your lovely hot food or drink. This is minimal effort for maximum payback wild time.
2. Cook and share food Outdoors. In any way you like, take a bit of kit on a walk or go full on barbecue if you like but the act of being outside and making and sharing your food in the wild is unbeatable. Get a disposable BBQ on the beach or look up your closest Forestry commission site with barbecues. Maybe you have a fire bowl or some kit you like to use. Invite some friends and spend some time cooking from scratch outdoors.
3. Go on a tiny Adventure. Grab a bag with some provisions in it that mean that you can stay out for the day and go to a new wild place and just see what happens. Packing a bag for a tiny adventure is great. We don't really give ourselves time to just explore and play for a day. You will discover all kinds of curious things around you. You can cook outside to keep you going or just take some sandwiches, I like to take a brew kit and make a nice cup of tea outside, whatever works for you. The point is, adventures are not predictable, you don't know what will happen, go with it.
4. Do some drawing. Take a sketch book to your favourite place or even your back garden. Sit for a time and draw what you see. Drawing makes you observe and drawing makes you stop. You don't need to be an artist to love this, you will see things you have never noticed before. Go with what you have, pencils in pocket or take all of your water colour kit if you have it but my favourite thing is just some paper, any paper, and a biro.
5. Go on a walk with a map. Even if you walk a walk you know really well, walk it with a map and see if you can navigate from A to B using the map. It's a good skill to have and can turn a walk into an adventure. The map will show you things you didn't know were there. You will discover new things, new routes and you will see even a well known place in a new way.
6. Make from what you find. A great friend of mine, Sally Jones is a master of making something where ever we go. She will rustle up something out of leaves, grasses, vines whatever she finds. Kids are great at this, they will turn a log into a fairy den or piles of pine needles into furniture. Probably the most elaborate make with one of our groups was an enormous slug hotel! Make a leaf hat, a bit of nature jewellery, a crown, a boat, a picture with leaves, whatever, be led by what you find.
7. Go on a Micro Adventure. Grab your sleeping bag on a clear night and sleep outside. This could be your garden or any of your favourite wild places. It doesn't need to be in the cold weather you can wait until the weather is better and star gaze. If this sounds good to you you can make a challenge of it a sleep out somewhere every month of the year. You can get yourself a bivvi bag a few more layers of clothing and sleep out all year round. A really cool thing to do when you need a break from the norm. Take your kids too, you feel as if you've had a mini holiday-even on a school night!
8. Go out in the rain. Get your wet weather gear on and go out anyway. We can put off going out when the weather is terrible but you can turn these days into some of your best outdoor times. Even if you only manage an hour, the feeling of getting dry and warm afterwards will be reward enough. Kids love the rain and we don't let them out in it much. Take umbrellas and use them upside down to see how much rain you can catch. Catch raindrops on your tongue. Break the rules, get as wet as you can and don't worry about it.
9. Camp out. Camping is great, it is one of my favourite ever things. If you are not quite brave enough to microadventure under the stars then take a tent. It feels good to get away from all of the stuff we think we need. If you don't own a tent then borrow one, many people have a tent in the cupboard or the loft they wish was used more. It's a great feeling to "make camp". Combine it with cooking outdoors, even if that means boiling water for a cuppa soup! Maybe turn it into a tour, make camp in different places and explore each place before you move to the next. You will be surprised at how you can do without the things you think you need. There's no greater feeling than waking up outside.
10. Make a den. Make a great one or a rubbish one it doesn't matter because all dens are always fantastic! You can take kit to help you, tarps, rope, maybe even blankets or challenge yourself and make a proper survival shelter using only what you find. It's great to have some food and drink in a den when it's finished, it's what makes it feel like a den. Dens aren't just for kids. It's amazing how you can enjoy making a camp or a den as an adult, it's pretty primal, go with it! If you are feeling adventurous, sleep out in your den.
And there are many more simple things you can do to have fun in the wild this year, dream some up, tell us about them. You never really know what will happen and that is the best thing about hanging out in the wild. You find cool stuff to look at, you get to chat, play, the weather changes, share food together or sleep out all night under the stars. Try the links below for any extra information that you might like.