In this week’s weekly blog, episode 37, I am musing on the fact that today is National GetOutside Day. Ordnance Survey and my fellow GetOutside Champions are asking – will you go out with me?
I guess by the time this weekly blog is published, in the early evening (or maybe late evening, it depends how long this takes to write…), you will already know if you’ve taken part in National GetOutside Day… I hope the answer is yes and that you’ve had some time outside in today’s glorious autumn sunshine.
The idea that being indoors all day every day is considered normal and the right place to live our lives these days is hugely concerning. We know that being outdoors, in the fresh air and natural light, is good for our body, mind and soul. And there really has never been a more important time to get outside and be active. National GetOutside Day is here to kick start your new habit.
On the Lack of a GetOutside Activity Challenge
For the last two years I have celebrated National GetOutside Day with a somewhat ridiculous challenge to see how many outdoors activities I can squeeze into a 48-hour period.
The idea has been to demonstrate that the outdoors can be all kinds of things to everyone, by showing you just how many activities there are available to us out of doors – hopefully at least one of them will take your fancy and you can go and try it out for yourself.
Good friends Sarah @the_urban_wanderer and Katy @hellokatyish have both been on hand to join in and encourage me. We walked, ran, kayaked, camped, cooked, crafted, cycled, dug, picnicked, swam, and a whole lot more than that.
In all honesty the real reason I’m not going big on my challenge this year, in the same or even a different way to the last two years, is because I’m just too tired. The changing rules and restrictions made it super hard to work out how best to do it, and while I did have some fun sounding “at home” ideas, I have just been too overwhelmed with life to make it work.
It’s not that I was worried about not being about to beat the 71 activities I did last year, that was a ridiculous number of things to do in 48 hours, but more about getting off the starting blocks. It sounds defeatist, but I just haven’t been able to get myself motivated enough in these times of global pandemic to organise it. There, I said it.
I really and genuinely admire those who have been able to make big challenges work at the moment. I know a good number of people who’ve done really very cool things over the last few months, and I am in awe of their physical and mental strength in pulling off those feats in these strangest of times. The pandemic is adding a huge layer of difficulty to any adventure or activity like this. I’m clearly not cut out to be a record breaker! And do you know something? That’s fine with me for now.
I’ve not given up on my activity challenge. I mean, I managed 55 activities the first year, and a whopping 71 last year, it would be a shame not to give the challenge a third outing at some point. And so here, in my weekly blog, I am committing to a third go at some point over the next year…
I am open to suggestions. Do I wait until all this is over and go big when restriction free? Use it as an opportunity to go somewhere to try exclusively new-to-me outdoor activities over the course of a weekend? Or try something smaller by seeing how many activities I can do outside without moving from my own garden? Comment below or send me a message to let me know what you think.
If you are looking for inspiration on how to spend some time outside in the coming week, you could do worse than checking out my published long lists from my GetOutside Activity Challenge 2018 and GetOutside Activity Challenge 2019. There will definitely be something in there for you to try out.
How I Spent GetOutside Day
There might not have been a GetOutside Activity Challenge this weekend, but I did mark the occasion in my favourite way, by going for a short walk. Having spent the last week or so in a different place every day, travelling around England and Wales on a (long-time-coming) motorcycle road trip, I decided stroll on my local patch was exactly what I needed.
(If you want a sneak peak of what I got up to on my road trip this last week, head over to Instagram and check out my Road Trip 2020 story highlight for some snaps – some kind of blog recap coming soon.)
We headed up onto Cleeve Hill near Cheltenham for an hour-long walk up along the common, and down beneath the yellow cliffs. Spending time outside isn’t (always) about going on big or lengthy adventures involving lots of equipment, training, time or money. Sometimes, the vast majority of the time, it’s about getting out for some close-to-home fresh air.
I am fortunate to live close to lots of places good for a wander, and there is something very special about heading up a hill which gives you a view of your own home. I mean, it’s not quite Lion King, but you can’t beat a sunny view of the places you know from up high. Shattered from a week being on the go constantly, this was the perfect antidote to the tiredness, and the ideal way to put off cleaning the motorbike or doing the (ridiculous amount of) washing for a few hours more.
Being a beautifully sunny day there were lots of other people enjoying the outdoors up on the hill with us, but being such a wide open space there was plenty of room for everyone, and it was lovely to see families, couples and individuals out enjoying the countryside. I’m sure every single one of them knew it was GetOutside Day… it really doesn’t matter if they did, the good thing was that they were out there.
I know National GetOutside Day is just a one-time thing each year, but I do love how my social media feeds have been full of people spending time outdoors today, and encouraging others to do the same. I hope it has been the catalyst for many people to start a new habit. Maybe getting One Hour Outside each day would be a good place to start.
I normally ask you to tell me your favourite thing about this week, but today I want to know – how will you be celebrating National GetOutside Day…
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.