Go local – how adventures close to home can make us happy

The joy of local adventures / Go local - how adventures close to home can make us happy

The joy of local adventures

Welcome to the wonderful world on your doorstep. When you think of adventure, your mind probably flits straight to far-off islands, prop planes flying above jungle canopies or trekking trails winding through snowy mountain ranges. And there’s a place for those big epic travels in all our lives, of course – but don’t let them blind you to the joys and discoveries to be found far closer to home. Little adventures await.

We all need to consider flying and travelling less now, reducing our carbon footprints and our impact on the planet. But staying close to home isn’t about denying adventure – just about looking at it with new eyes. Go local, be mindful and you’ll be surprised how exciting local adventures in places you might take for granted really are when you get under their skin.

Walk this way

The very best way to explore your local area? For me, it’s walking or running. Leave the car at home, grab your hiking boots or your trainers and set out from your front door to see the world on two feet. If you live in the countryside, you’re likely to have amazing trails and walking paths very close to you – try downloading a mapping app such asKomoot and plotting new walking or running routes near your house, then save them to your phone so you can follow them easily.

The joy of local adventures / Go local - how adventures close to home can make us happy

Space and the city

Live in the heart of a city? Look online for walking ideas and running routes. In smaller cities you might be able to walk or run from the city centre right out into the countryside in a few hours, or be able to take a local train to a beauty spot you’ve never visited before for a ramble (and still be home in time for tea). Even if you live in the bustle of London, you can get creative with your exploring – the internet is a treasure trove of ideas. How about a nature-spotting ramble along the banks of the Thames? Or following The Line, a walk near London’s Olympic Park which is studded with outdoor art installations? Or an ancient history-spotting ramble – did you know there was a Roman temple dedicated to the god Mithras in the heart of The City? You do now.

The joy of local adventures / Go local - how adventures close to home can make us happy

Seek the water

When I want to feel connected to nature near me, I often look for water. If you want to reconnect with the elements and feel immersed in the outdoors, seek out your local wild swimming spot, lido or marine lake. I also love the Wild Swimming Walks book, which lists walking routes that end at rivers or pools where you can take a plunge. Or for a new perspective, invest in an inflatable stand-up paddle board – paddling along the UK’ waterways and coastline offers up a totally different way of viewing your home city or local stretch of seaside, and you’ll get fit while exploring, too.

The joy of local adventures / Go local - how adventures close to home can make us happy wild swimming

Local adventures with purpose

Itching to get outdoors and do something positive? If you aren’t too far from the ocean (or a river bank. Or indeed, a pond in a park), a beach cleaning walk is an amazing way to get some fresh air and to do something nice for your community at the same time. And it’s free! Wear good gloves such as gardening gloves and take a tough refuse sack for all the bits and bobs you pick up. Find out more on beach cleaning and how to get started online on the Surfers Against Sewage website. Or to make a beach clean even more active, consider trying out plogging. This new planet-saving running craze originated in Sweden (the name is a mix of ‘jogging’ and the act of ‘plucking’ up rubbish) and is very simple – you simply take a few rubbish bags with you on your next run and collect discarded plastic and other recyclables as you jog. Once your bag is full (or heavy!), just deposit it in the next recycling bin you find. You’ll come home fitter and you’ll have made the area you call home and lovelier place for everyone – win win!

The art of little adventures close to home is all about your perspective. Go on – step outside into your street or your closest green space, breathe deep and take a moment to appreciate the small – birdsong, the smells of green things growing, the beauty of the riverbank you’ve just discovered on a new walk. Those simple pleasures are all part of life’s big adventure.