17th October 2019 by Andy
Take those little moments every day to go and do the things that make you feel alive.
The evenings are drawing in and the temperature is starting to drop. The route from the front door that has provided many an evening of effortless miles during the summer months, resembles a used car that gives a thankless, dull and potentially hazardous ride when the clocks are turned back. Motivation to go out at all, let alone spend evenings out on the mountains or swimming in lakes plummets. More gas is used for your central heating than for cooking your pouch of dehydrated food on over night trips. But the dog still needs walking and the temptation to sit in and watch the plethora of autumn release movies, showcasing exploits of your favourite adventurer is dulled by faint whines from the animal that has been a great companion on your trips.
When light is confined to work hours and darkness dominates downtime, many of us are open to being drawn into this very situation. I am certainly not immune to it and over the years I have learned to be more realistic in my expectations for after work winter adventures. Whilst living in the Lake District and owning a head torch affords me the opportunity to continue longer runs in the evening, I need to be able to adapt on the evening where it isn't so easy. I have to ensure my K9 friend doesn't become disillusioned with boredom.
This evening was a prime example of this. After a busy day at work I didn't feel like running or a long trudge across the fields. Luckily for me I have a beach just a stones throw away from my front door, so I filled up my flask with tea, grabbed a tennis ball, harnessed up the dog and found my way down to the shore.
On arrival I pour the first cup of tea and throw the tennis ball as far down the beach as I can. As usual the dog hurtles of into the distance afterwards. The darkness changes the experience and the distant towns of and across the bay become wells of flickering light. Water runs out of the Leven Estuary, the sound of which becomes more obvious in the absence of other senses. None of this bothers the dog though, who chases the ball for as long as he would on any other trip and still finds as many new smells and experiences to keep him entertained as normal. Meanwhile I sip on my cup of tea, and my surroundings beat any adventure film.
But do not be under any illusions. This is as much of an adventure as any other outdoor experience. It took me away from the television, I explored and learned about my local area from a different perspective and I maintained my relationship with my faithful companion.
You might not be so lucky as to have a beach by your door but local adventures are available everywhere and are great for bringing you back to reality after a busy day. If you have a garden, use an old washing machine drum as a fire pit and indulge in a bit of fire TV. You could invite a friend, get wrapped up in a warm insulated jacket and a hat and talk the night away.
You could go to your local park and have a winter picnic and observe the stars. Some parks may be home to wildlife which paired with darkness could provide an opportunity for keen photographers to capture unique images and learn about operating in low light conditions. If you find you can't sit still long enough for any of these ideas, then continue to run into the winter. Challenge yourself to run in a new place on your way home from work.
Build adventure into your daily life. Be opportunistic on your way home from work. Just decide what time you have and partake in an outside experience where you learn something, build relationships or just challenge your daily norms. Adventure does not have to be extreme, it can be every day.