Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Many mountains to climb

Sometimes it's necessary to shake up your environment to remind yourself what it is you really value.

Despite my previous chirpy positivity about the winter weather, all it took was a couple of nasty colds to make me retreat indoors and stay there. In fact, until this weekend away in Snowdonia I don't think I'd so much as even set a foot in my local park for over a month. Now, for some people I'm sure that's just fine, but if I've learnt one thing about myself over the last five years it's that if I spend too much time in the city, or doing city things, then I go a little nuts.

One of the biggest revelations I had on my year abroad was that I wasn't as much of an urbanite as I thought I was. Living outside of London for pretty much the first time in my life, suddenly all the things that made me anxious at home didn't seem so important any more. In London there's a lot of pressure to 'be' someone, and maybe it's just that I'm a little too inclined to narcissism but it gets me every. time.

It's a huge cliché, but something about fresh air and wide open spaces always helps to put things back into perspective. It's a combination of the reminder that to be warm, comfortable and fed are all we really need in this life, the physical challenge and the sense of insignificance against something so permanent and so old that helps me feel - for lack of a better or less annoying phrase - at peace.

Since returning from Colorado this little glimmer of fundamental truth I believe I discovered has been the driving force behind quite a lot of life decisions. When I left my job in content marketing in 2016 my boss asked me what it was that I actually wanted to do with the journalism MA I was just about to start. "I want to write for an outdoor travel magazine!" I replied. At a Halloween party last year, a much cooler and more successful journalist than me asked the same question. "What I reallllly want to write about is adventure travel" I drunkenly gasped. She looked horrified.

This weekend in Snowdonia reminded me about all of that in a big way. Considering I was just starting to feel as if winter was going to go on forever, this could not have happened at a better time. Not to sound too British about it but we were incredibly fortunate with the weather, and the day we hiked Cnicht was still and sunny. We didn't make it up snow-capped Snowdon this time, but I'm fully intending on returning for it sometime in the Spring.

And the best realisation of all is that with so many mountains to climb on this planet of ours, I've got a whole lifetime of adventures to keep me busy!

Platitudes aside, though, I'm definitely still narcissistic enough to make sure I get a good photograph for Instagram. Which just goes to show that some things will never change.

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