I distinctly remember my first solo adventure. Aged 21, with a bachelors degree and a broken heart, I flew out from London to LA to join a cross-country road trip. I'd travelled before, sure. Canvas covered nights in French fields (and in the British countryside) were a happy constant of my childhood. The mosquito bites and sunburn less so. I learnt to make my own adventures and friends. So whether we were visiting a local market, walking up a hill or playing games I felt peaceful, secure and oh-so grown up.
So finding myself suddenly plunged into a bright and shiny LA, totally alone, I didn't feel quite so grown up. Tears of anxiety soon arrived, helpfully hidden behind my sunglasses. This introverted heart wasn't ready for the wilds of the US. Deep breaths. As is so often the case my initial fears were unfounded and short lived. The group I was travelling with was a brilliant mix of funny, serious, sweet and adventurous people. For three weeks we racked up miles, empty packets of Cheetos and memories. (And an almost military ability to pitch a tent in double time...) We became fast friends as the scenery changed around us. From the canyons of Nevada to the streets of DC we lived in the moment - grasping at every new experience with both hands.
Not as fit as others in the group, I found a restful peace in navigating the wilds alone. A hike through Zion National Park left me lagging behind, but this introverted soul relished such peace. Silence surrounded me, with only my deep breaths and steady footsteps to puncture the stillness. Surrounded by such unfathomable beauty made me understand for the first time how powerful and captivating is the lure of the great outdoors.
Soon enough we reached the end of our journey. I found myself alone again, this time in the big city of New York. This time though, my heart was full not fearful. I'd tasted an outdoors adventure and it had left an indelible mark, that left me bolder than before.
Since this first solo outdoors adventure, I've begun to understand how vital it is to 'get away'. Since being married B and I have found such peace and hope in our trips, both at home and away. Bewildered by our first ectopic pregnancy, we found comfort in the warmth of the Ibiza sun - allowing our emotional (and my physical) scars to begin to heal. We've walked and walked along Devon's beautiful coast as we grappled with some big life questions. We've admired beautiful flowers in countless of England's incredible open gardens. We've wandered through forests, hand in hand, as we dreamt about the future. We've stood at the pacific coast in California, feeling so small and as if we were perched on the edge of the world.
In each adventure and faced with such beauty in the wild our spirits soared and our hearts were sparked back to life.