Life Was Crap. So I Changed It
Yeah right! It’s a work in progress, isn’t that what life is? Change a bit here, tinker there, keep plodding towards those goals and dreams. Then something comes along and knocks you down (chronic illness in my case) and getting up again can be a bloody big struggle. Others just reach ‘a certain age’ and stand around winded, wondering what happened – where the hell did the last 20 years go (job, kids, mortgage anybody?), and what the f*!* happens now?
Some of us (hands up if you’re one of us) realise
Life's too damn short to stand around like the proverbial rabbit in the headlights waiting to be squished.
And with that realisation along comes another big slap across the face: making changes (exciting ones) means getting out of our comfort zone. (Did you hear that? I think it was the sound of people running away.) But, we CAN do it, one small (and not so scary) step at a time!
When Life Was Good (And Full Of Adventure)
Travelling to Germany on my own when I was 15; getting on my 5-geared bike and hostelling with a school friend along the very hilly south coast from Hastings along over Beachy Head and The Seven Sisters, eventually heading inland and up through Winchester; hiking on the South Downs with a group of mates… just a few of the adventures I had before I even left home for art school in Cornwall (which is still my home) when I was 19.
But then what? Loads of mini adventures: walking (10 mile hikes, obviously), cycling and trail running (I couldn’t stop moving) and plenty of family walking holidays in The Lake District or wild camping on Dartmoor and the like. Then something happened: I saw the ‘big 40’ creeping over the horizon. And that was just a wee bit out of my comfort zone.
I signed up for a charity trek in Peru, determined that nothing and no-one would stop me hiking the Inca Trail at the age of 38. They didn’t. And the next year I signed a group of us up to do the Three Peaks Challenge.
I would not be down and out at 40: I, would be a hiker.
I was down and out at 40. Knocked off my feet by the aforementioned illness again (chronic depression). I had to dig deep. Really, really deep. And I had to push myself way out of my comfort zone every day just to keep going. Somewhere along the line I realised that I actually thrived on doing it outdoors (doh!) and I began inventing personal challenges like solo wild-camping or ‘proper’ map reading, and I took part in organised challenges like a 28 mile trail race in South Devon. And the more I did the more empowered I felt.
I think I may be slow on the uptake. When I look back there’s a thread that stretches back to those teenage years; it winds it’s way around the natural world, along cliff paths and up mountains, across moors and downland. Sometimes (to continue the hackneyed metaphor) the thread was kind of blowing in the wind without much purpose, so I decided to tighten it up.
I realised (finally) that I’m sick of looking wistfully at all those 20 year olds on Instagram hiking all the trails, climbing every mountain, having all the bloody fun (but good on them!). (Why not follow 10 Mile Hike on IG instead?!) I want some of that too, thanks. I bet you do too. The trouble is, I hear you say, that means getting out of that cosy comfort zone. And that’s scary as. Yes, it is. And it’s worth it. 100%.
I’ve been pushing myself out of my comfort zone for years now (safely of course – but I always want more), and it makes me feel alive, because there’s no better way to experience the world than by hiking through it. And doing it solo is the bees knees for me.
What about you though, you must be hankering for adventure too else you’d have jumped ship by now! What sort of adventure do you want – and more to the point what’s stopping you?
It’s usually annoying anxieties like getting lost or walking through deep dark woods, then there are things that go bump in the night or finding somewhere to sleep without the worry of being turfed off. Sometimes though there are other barriers to adventure: money, family, work, attitude (trust me, you’re NOT too old)… And that’s where 10 Mile Hike comes in: to make sure you have everything you need to put adventure and challenge firmly back into life (whatever your age!). How? With inspiration, preparation (absolutely key) and nurturing a healthy dose of adventurous spirit! (And, in the near future, guided walks, hikes and hiking workshops with a qualified Lowland Leader (ahem, that’s me! You can find out more about the national training scheme here – I qualified in 2018).
So, are you ready to get out of that comfort zone, you awesome woman you?
Come on then, get your hiking boots on, let's get outside and take life by the horns, because adventure awaits!
(And time really doesn’t!)