How to get over the internet, and GetOutside

James Howgego By James Howgego

Refresh your outlook and get some perspective. James Howgego gives us some sound advice on switching our Insta-envy for the real outdoors.

James walking on hillside

Now this may seem like a non-problem at first but bear with us. For first-timers or those who weren't brought up walking in the countryside with their family on the weekend, there can to be a mental block for some young adults wanting to get outdoors.

For many, it is easy to like and appreciate the outdoors online but in a world of instant gratification, actually getting outside can appear to need too much planning.

Likes vs hikes

A search on any hashtag relating to the great outdoors will fill your phone with inspirational content encouraging you to get outdoors, paired with breath-taking photographs of vistas from mountains, hills, forests and valleys. It is easy to look like a full-time mountaineer, and it can in fact appear to be more difficult than it actually is to get outside.

Don't be intimidated!

James atop a mountain

Dramatic, isn't it!

The most stunning images get the most attention but also can generate the most outdoor envy, because nothing looks so spectacular but less achievable for the scroller in real life. Exercising in a gym can seem a lot easier, closer to home and require less specialist knowledge, whereas the exact opposite is true.

Many public trails are only 30 minutes from our collective front doors and in fact it has never been easier to find a route in the countryside.

Not everything you see on social media is true!

Remember very few people get to spend their entire working day outdoors, even less so doing the things they purport to do on Instagram. In fact, it is very easy to spend time outdoors having your own adventures whilst still working a 9-5.

Why go outside?

It's completely free, doesn't require specialist gear and is available all year round. The combination of fresh air, sustained exercise and Vitamin D can also lead to a huge improvement in sleep quality. And for those feeling run down or unfulfilled by the 9-5, a change of scenery is a great way to find perspective and put a little creativity back into your thinking process.

James looking down from a hillside to a lake

It's also worth noting that all of this combines to release endorphins into the brain, so rather than getting that immediate hit from all the Insta-likes rolling in, you could be getting a much larger and more sustained effect from being outdoors.

How to get outside

Getting outside is as simple as putting on a coat and boots and going for a walk in the nearest bit of countryside you can find. A quick internet search can bring up hundreds of good walks in your area, with only perhaps a short drive, cycle or trip on public transport required.

Besides, many trails in the UK are well marked and you don't always need to be off the beaten track with map and compass to get started.

However, if you want to find your way then there is no better place to start than right here at the GetOutside blog and OS Maps. Check out the beginner’s guides, Nordic Walking or other guides for the essentials.

There's no need to keep staring at your feed in envy when you could be staring at your biggest achievement this week.

Signposted route

We have some incredibly well-signed paths in the UK

James Howgego By James Howgego


James is part of Northern Stroll, a team of outdoor enthusiasts and hikers determined to get people walking outdoors while appreciating all the North has to offer. They design routes easy to follow for first timers and experienced hikers alike, with easy to follow mobile guides.