What drives you to spend time outside?
The outside is my sanity. It is where I go to escape, to breathe, to think, and (most importantly) to play. I am that normal woman in her (very) late 30s trying to squeeze in as much outdoors as I can in between everything else. I am proof that spending a little bit of time outside every day is good for us.
Being outdoors is essential for body, mind and soul – it helps me make good decisions, means I can be productive for longer at work and home, and gives me an opportunity to take in everything that nature has to offer me. Life is busy but the outdoors can and does help.
Where are your favourite places to go?
I’m a big fan of getting outside close to home and far away. I enjoy walking from my own front door, and road tripping to far flung places to explore and experience new things. Getting outside, spending time in the countryside, whether it be hauling my somewhat unfit body up a big hill, removing my shoes and socks for a paddle in the cold ocean, or finding a quiet spot to enjoy a moment to myself and a flask of tea, is all about seeing the views with my own eyes.
Rivers and trees and rolling hills and the ocean (especially the ocean!) and cloudy skies and wildlife and everything else, look great in the photographs. But they’re even more amazing in person, and I live to see as many views with my own eyes as possible.
What is your favourite thing to do outdoors?
I’m pretty simple when it comes to being outdoors – I love to walk. Short walks, long walks, and multi-day walks. My absolute favourite are short walks with maximum satisfaction – a couple of hours and handful of miles in a circle with great views. Nothing too taxing or energetic, just good, honest, countryside walking.
What are your focuses this year to help people get outside more often?
I want to encourage people to spend a little bit of time outside, in the fresh air and natural light, on a daily basis, whatever the weather and however busy we seem to be. One Hour Outside (#OneHourOutside) is my challenge to get you outside more – quite simply, for one hour every day. With this and through GetOutside, I am trying to encourage people to leave the comfort of their desk or sofa or kitchen and go outside for a little bit of time every single day. It might be before work, at lunch time, or in the evening. It might be walking, cycling, or indeed sitting. It might involve running errands, it might involve eating. It might even involve going on an expedition, playing a team sport or doing something you have never done before.
Whatever it is, it always involves being outside. Through this I am trying to say two things; first, that we all have time to get outside into the fresh air and natural light. And second, that spending time outside is for all of us, regardless of fitness, life goals, or perceived level of adventure. It doesn’t have to be way out there, it can be in your own town or garden. It could be your job, your commute, or happen to fit in with your current daily routine. It can be from your own front door, or your office door, or the door of your car service centre when you’re getting new tyres or an oil change. It doesn’t have to involve specialist equipment. Although make sure you know when it should. It can be an adventure. But you don’t have to push your limits, crawl on your knees, or work so hard you’re aching the next day. You just have to go out there and experience the outdoors in your own way. What are your 3 biggest life achievements?
I don’t compare to others in terms of breaking records or being famous for something, but here are three outdoor related things I’m proud of: I carried the Olympic torch in the London 2012 torch relay. What an incredible and surreal experience that was! I walked the West Highland Way with a friend, carrying my own gear, and ended up being featured on ITV’s Britain’s 100 Favourite Walks as part of it. I took part in 71 different outdoor activities in 48 hours to celebrate National GetOutside Day last year. It was exhausting!
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