As you are reading this episode of my Weekly Blog series I should be well on my way to the first stop of our week-long road trip. As you know from episode 26, our original plan had been to head to Switzerland with Bike Shuttle, and spend just over two weeks riding in Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and Germany. Alas, as with most other people I know, any overseas travelling adventures have been put on hold for a while. Instead, we’re going on a much shorter road trip here in the UK.
With any fortune, we’ll be checking out some of the beautiful high passes here in England and Wales, taking in a handful of National Parks, and visiting some of the country’s best biker cafes (best according to the internet!). That’s the plan, anyway; head over to my Instagram stories to find out if it works out as we hope.
In the meantime, episode 36 of my weekly blog is here for your reading pleasure, it’s a short one this week but I hope you enjoy anyhow…
A New 30-Day Challenge | Exercise
If you remember this post earlier in the year about how I’m working my way through Dana and Lou’s Live Creatively challenges this year, you might be wondering what happened to that… well, I’ve got a small pile of “what I’ve learnt in 30-Days of…” blog posts to write – I may get caught up on those one day!
In the meantime, I’m about to start the next challenge in the book – a 30-day exercise challenge.
This challenge isn’t actually all about doing loads of cardio every day (thank goodness for that!), it is also not about setting body-related goals (which can be incredibly unhealthy), but rather it is about using exercise as part of your routine to practice mindfulness.
To quote some research Dana and Lou use in their book, a 2014 study at Stanford University looked at asked the question: “Does walking improve our creativity?”. They compared the creative output of students seated versus students walking and found that the group that was asked to answer questions while walking had a 50% higher output than their peers who were sitting. Other studies (I quote some in this post about the benefits of getting outside) agree that walking is so good for our minds that it helps us making decisions, do good work, and be happier people.
A long list of creative thinkers and innovative artists including Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, Beethoven, Aristotle, and many others, have said they used walking to improve their creative output. Henry David Thoreau wrote: “Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow”.
This challenge is therefore about incorporating intentional walks into my weekly routine to help me be more productive, and help our own personal creative process.
Which, of course, fits in particularly well with my One Hour Outside project, and you won’t be surprised to hear that I’m very happy to day this particular 30-day challenge on over the next few weeks.
I may be setting myself up for a fail by starting this when on a motorcycle road trip, but I’m still hoping it’ll be possible. I’ll certainly be outside a lot, feeling the wind (and probably rain) in my hair all day every day. And motorcycling is definitely “intentional”, in that you can and should really only think about the bike and the road. Although I’m not sure I move my body enough when I ride for it to count as exercise! I shouldn’t be impossible, though; we will be walking in the evenings, and to see views away from the road during the day, so I’ll just see how it goes. And then I can pick it up more definitely when I’m back home.
I’ll let you know how I get on…
In the Mail
KEEN Targhee Hiking Boots
You know I love trying out footwear, and so I was very excited to receive a pair of the updated Targhee hiking boots from KEEN, this last week. The Targhee is celebrating its 15th birthday this year, one of the first hybrid hikers to become popular. While I’ve not had a pair of Targhees myself before, if these are anything like my long-gone KEEN Bryce hiking shoes (read a very – very – old review here), then I am going to be a very happy hiker.
The boots have a super rugged look with deep lugs and supportive leather uppers, and are designed for everything from walking the dog to multi day hikes. I’ve already had them on around the house (working from home is the perfect opportunity to break in a new pair of boots!), and I am excited to wear them out on the trail (they’ll not be clean for long!). Of course, I will be putting the promised stability and comfort to the test over the coming weeks, and will let you know how I get on later in the year.
An Update | Thomas Hardy, Return of the Native
I thought I’d give a quick update on how I’m getting on with Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native, the audio book I started last week by way of a weird rematch with my A Level text. I have to say, I’m doing quite well, it’s not as terrible as I remember! I’ve gotten through the first part and am well into the second, and I’m starting to get to know the characters and work out how they fit in with each other, something I definitely didn’t manage as a teenager.
It’s still pretty hard going, if my mind wanders even for half a paragraph, I don’t know what’s happening and have to go back, but I would say I’m not hating it. It’s very old fashioned, of course it is, but I’m kind of enjoying the talk of moors and barrows and quaint pubs. I might even finish this one!
On YouTube: Abbie Barnes – Spend More Time in the Wild
After recommending Kara and Nate in last week’s weekly blog, and Itchy Boots in my Currently Loving post for September, I thought I’d make it a nice round three and recommend another YouTube channel – Abbie Barnes’ Spend More Time in the Wild.
My favourite thing that Abbie does are her long-distance hiking documentaries. These are an hour or two long and follow Abbie taking on some of the most iconic multi-day hikes in the UK and further afield. She takes you along with her on each day of the hike, including information on the route itself and camping options, information on the history and geography she’s showing us, along with notes on the highs and lows of her experience. I came across Abbie’s channel a while ago when I was first looking at Wainwright’s Coast to Coast route, and since then I’ve watched a heap of her documentary films.
If you’re interested in hiking, especially of the long-distance variety, you should definitely check Abbie’s channel out. She’s actually a fellow Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion this year, and it’s lovely to feel a bit connected to someone who loves to hike and share the benefits of spending time outdoors in this way.
I’d love to know about your week. Let me know what your favourite thing about this week has been in the comments below…
If you enjoyed reading this episode of my weekly blog, and if you think my weekly blog series is a fun thing to read regularly, and especially if you got to the end of this one(!), I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Come on by next Sunday evening for the next in the series.
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