Last fall Jenny Holt and her husband, having been inspired by Bill Bryson’s book, A Walk in the Woods, hiked a portion of the Appalachian Trail. "While we were well prepared," she told me, "our progress was slower than expected and we got into some difficulty and ran out of food. It was ok, we were not too far from civilization and completed our trek safely, if a few days later than expected. However, it did make us wonder how well prepared we are for a situation where we were much further from help/shops etc..."
Jenny is a health and travel writer, and she has come up with a delightful hiking advice sit, Backpackerverse, to develop a guide on outdoor survival skills covering the basics anyone should know before hiking in the wilds; especially if travelling in a foreign country or remove landscape. Perhaps knowing the connection between this blog and DownWithTyranny, she wrote this post especially for us.
-by Jenny Holt
You’d have to be living on the moon to have avoided all the political headlines at the moment. Everyone seems to be talking and worrying about the recent state of global affairs. But you don’t actually have to go and live on the moon to escape from it. There is a more practical, cheaper, and achievable solution. Just switch off, unplug and get outside. And we don’t mean to go and sit in a coffee shop. We mean out out. In the great outdoors.
Disconnect and Reconnect
When we are at home or work, we are always so busy and surrounded by distractions. But when you are in the outdoors, you'll likely find yourself outside of cellphone coverage or email reach. So, it's just you and the world.
It doesn't have to be expensive either. Depending on whether you just want to hike a trail for the day or escape for a few days, you don't have to spend a fortune on kit. And once you are out in the great outdoors, everything is free.
If you have got a taste for escaping to the great outdoors, you will need to do a little preparation before you head out.
In case you get lost or just fancy venturing off the beaten track, you should make sure you know some basic survival skills to keep you going until you make it back or are found. While it's encouraged to disconnect, there are gadgets that can help you when you are out in the wilderness. But they can break or stop working, so you still need to know what to do if you are unable to rely on them. Last year a Dutch woman survived five days in bushland without the help of any gadgets. Bushcraft experts have said she would have died if it wasn't for her quick-thinking survival skills.
Good for the Mind, Body and Soul
Apart from the obvious benefits of getting some fresh air and exercise, being outside in nature has some huge mental health benefits too. Experiencing nature regularly can actually help to improve complex memory tasks and has been said to help people suffering with dementia. Just being exposed to the natural environment can lower stress levels, aids with symptoms of anxiety and depression and helps improve cognition in children with attention deficit disorder.
Escaping the Hamster Wheel
Getting outdoors offers a brief escape and refuge from the pressures of the world. It may not be for everybody of course. Some people prefer lazing on sandy beaches and enjoying hot showers and clean sheets. But for some, exploring the outdoors is the perfect remedy to some of the absurdity going on in modern life. So, switch off and get outdoors, you won’t regret it.