Thank you for your kind words regarding the first in my series of The GetOutside Interviews last week. It seems my readers know that a desire to spend time outside and encourage others to do the same is considered normal by many – phew!
So go on then… I’d love to know where you spent time outside over the last week… Did you get a little bit of time outside every day close to home and/or work? Or did you head somewhere nice at the weekend for some top-up hours in a park or at the seaside? We are getting the most daylight hours of the year at the moment here in the UK – I hope you are making the most of them by not being stuck indoors the whole time. Comment below with your outdoors stories from the last seven days.
Here’s a snap from one of my One Hour Outside wanders from last week. The idea that time outside should only be in the countryside is a myth – spending time outside in the city is also pretty awesome, especially if that is where you happen to be! I went for an early morning walk as I knew I had a busy indoors day ahead, and it was lovely to wander the streets when it was so quiet. And it definitely makes me appreciate every tree and little bit of green space.
A wander in Sheffield city centre was really quite wonderful!
For the second interview in The GetOutside Interviews series, please meet Katie, who is one of the most beautiful humans I have had the pleasure of meeting; her story and life is so interesting. Here’s what she had to say to my questions…
The GetOutside Interviews | Katie Tunn
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you? Where are you based? What do you do (the day job)? What’s for dinner tonight?
My name’s Katie and I’m an artist and marine conservation volunteer who lives and works in the Isle of Skye. I moved from London to the Hebrides about four years ago, looking for a break from city life. It was only supposed to be a six month retreat but, with a love of wildlife and the ocean, I found that the islands felt like home. I decided to stay and never looked back. Because my family is based in the South of England I often travel back to England to visit them, and I’m currently spending a week staying with my Mum and catching-up. We’re off out to Pizza Express for supper tonight as we’ve both recently become vegan and their plant-based pizzas are delicious – a lovely treat!
Where and how did you spend time outdoors today?
Even though I live in a beautiful area with miles of wild landscape to explore I often find myself prioritising work and admin over time spent outside. When work gets stressful I find it helps to go for a walk and come back with a clear head, it’s just making that break that can be tricky. Luckily we have plenty of rescue dogs in the family so walkies time is when I’ve got no choice but to ignore the emails and get some fresh air. That was my One Hour Outside today… I took Mum’s two pups for a long wander around Chobham Common near her home in Surrey.
Tell us about your favourite outdoor activities.
Other than dog walking, the main reason I get outside is to be closer to nature. It’s escapism for me and I find it really helps me keep my mental health on track. I’ve never been sporty and I’m as far from an endurance athlete as you can get, but I’ve learned that this doesn’t matter when being out and about watching wildlife or enjoying the views. I admire mountaineers and fell runners but I prefer to take my time, absorbing the sounds, sights and smells of a place, watching for tiny insects and enjoying finding new flowers. I love exploring, finding secret wild swimming and camping spots. Spending days off-grid is like a holiday for me! I find the more time I spend in nature the more I’m able to face the fast pace and additional stresses of everyday modern life.
With all the pressures of normal life, how do you make sure you find the time for outdoors adventure?
I’m lucky in that I’m self-employed so I can choose my working hours. The downside of this is that it’s difficult to switch-off; weekends don’t exist and most evenings are spent working. Still, the flexibility makes up for it and it’s great to spontaneously shut my laptop after a busy morning and say “right, I need a break from this for a while!” Sometimes conservation work can be emotionally draining and I’ll treat myself to a couple of days off-grid to recharge (this also works well for healing a broken heart!), I find it’s an effective remedy for stressful times but when I’m more content and happy with work it takes a little more effort to get outside.
As you are a GetOutside Champion it goes without saying that you want to encourage others to spend time in the great outdoors. Why do you feel this is important?
While getting outdoors is, of course, beneficial to our physical health I think it’s also vital for our mental well being and for safeguarding our precious natural environments for the future. I think that the positive effects time outside has on our mental health cannot be overestimated. For me it’s a really important tool in keeping on top of stress; I feel like I’m pushing the reset button. Realising this value also teaches us to appreciate and protect outdoor spaces. By developing a connection with nature we realise how important it is to look after it and treasure it – something that’s especially important for future generations of decision-makers and leaders.
Thanks Katie for taking the time to answer my questions for this interview series. I absolutely admire how you’ve taken yourself to Skye to make the most of the things you enjoy most. The solitude and opportunities to spend so much time in nature must be wonderful.
To find out more about Katie, take a look at her blog The New Girl.
And for more information about the Ordnance Survey GetOutside campaign, you need to be here.
Come back next Thursday for the next installment…