For my first ever blog post for barbsoutdoors, I thought I would try to explore where my love of getting outside and rambling around came from. I think I can trace it back to around the time this photograph was taken of me and my Dad in the field behind our house in Northern Ireland where I grew up.
This was what my parents called 'going over the fields' and I can remember the thrill of being lifted through the hedge at the bottom of the garden to start the adventure. I think it was the excitement of exploring something that was so close but so unfamiliar that sparked my love of getting outside and breaking away from the known and the normal.
Today I am very fortunate to live in East Anglia near a vast network of public rights of way. I have lived here for over two years and have not even scratched the surface of all the paths within a 10 mile radius (including the Essex Way, the St Edmund Way and the Stour Valley Path). However, using the OS explorer app I enjoy discovering new routes near my house for running and walking. Each time I tie up my shoelaces and trot out through the gate, I feel that same excitement and sense of breaking away from the norm as my three year old self.
I find that exploring new paths near familiar areas provides a new perspective on where I live but it also seems to give a new perspective on whatever problems I am currently grappling with whether in work or in my personal life. By the time I potter back through the gate after my run or walk, my mood is lifted and I can usually see a way through whatever has been troubling me. The mental health benefits of walking, running (or just being outside) are something that I feel strongly about and hope to consider more in future blog posts.
A winter view from the Essex Way