Reflecting on the past year or so inevitably brings me to think about the travelling I did during my gap year. Looking back, what I loved most about always being on the road – particularly backpacking up Australia’s East Coast – was that Alice and I were constantly outdoors. And I miss that. Today I thought I’d share with you what the outdoors means to me…
I absolutely love getting out and exploring my surroundings is actually something I need to do more of in my beautiful hometown – London! Whilst away, I did as much exploring of the world as I could and this included waking up at 2am to trek for four hours up Mount Batur in Bali. Watching the sun slowly rising behind the clouds whilst sitting on the summit eating our breakfast of bread and boiled eggs was just something else. It really is the simple things in life that take your breath away; things that occur naturally in this world and are completely free. There are many other beautiful moments just like this one: more sunrises (and even sunsets) on gorgeous beaches in Australia, seeing a rainbow appear after a tropical thunderstorm in Ubud and feeling the very fine grains of sand on Whitehaven beach running through our toes to name a few.
Just physically being outside can be so refreshing in comparison to being cooped up indoors. Whether I go outside to read a book, do some work, chat with friends or people-watch, I always feel much better for doing it outside. Back in Byron Bay, one of my absolute favourite moments was when we stumbled across these amazingly-talented guys doing live acoustic covers on the grass with free chai tea & pancakes on offer. It was such a lovely evening, with Alice and I grabbing a blanket to sit on and simply enjoying the music. I remember thinking at the time that it’s moments like these that I live for – unexpected, unplanned events where people come together as a community.
Typically when you hear your parents moan, “go outside and do something” you tend to think of people being active outside. The outdoors immediately shouts this at me purely because nature is so beautiful. As a runner, I much, much prefer running outside rather than on a treadmill inside a stuffy gym and I’m definitely into walking everywhere. Moreover, whilst in Australia, I got to try out loads of new sports in the outdoors which was amazing! Stand-up paddle boarding is probably one of my new favourites now and I’ll always be up for a good-old hike in the wilderness. Being outdoors and being active are the perfect pair.
Fourth and final point: adventure. I can’t go on enough about how much this means to me when I discuss the outdoors (people I speak to are probably sick of hearing about it!) I absolutely love adventure and I’m always seeking it out in some way, shape or form. In Australia I did probably the craziest thing I’ve ever done: I jumped out of a plane at 14,000 feet. Leaving home for a total of seven months (and not coming home in-between) is a massive adventure in itself, as is starting university next month (I am way too excited haha). Whilst away I found myself sleeping outdoors for the night, snorkelling and scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, navigating around the island of Bali only speaking English, doing the Great Ocean Road roadtrip, teaching English to over 700 Chinese students, being made homeless in China, having to fly almost 5,000 miles back to the UK to sort out Chinese visa problems, having my phone stolen(!), experiencing a hot and sunny Christmas, bringing in the New Year at a festival and many, many more adventures. I can’t wait for more to come and I hope most will be outdoors!
If you’re not joining the adventures (haha) already, here are the links:
Instagram & Twitter – @violahelen_
Snapchat – violahelen
Peace and love,