Friday, 9 August 2013

This Time Last Year

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I have had far too many "this time last year I was....." moments recently which in my head hasn't necessarily been a bad thing but I figure it is probably annoying the people I keep saying them to so I thought I'd do a quick post on it.
I went on an Outward Bound Classic Course (see previous post) last summer which hugely cahnged the way I look at things in life so it's nice to keep thinking "ooooh I did X this time last year". I turned 18 last summer and on my 18th birthday I was sick; not because I had one too many tequila slammers but because apparently you can get sea-sick in a kayak. Who knew?! I got up at about 6am on my birthday, did a cross-country run, had a dip in a loch then went kayaking. To cut a long story short, it was a tidal loch which was very choppy because it was raining and windy; by back was aching so I couldn't paddle properly against the tide, my tummy was doing somersaults and my kayak had to get toed by an instructor. Despite the fact that all of this happened and I was away from home for my birthday this year just didn't feel as good, which is a bit of a bizarre feeling. I would give anything to go off on expedition right now.
The whole Outward Bound experience unlocked this immensely determined side of me I hadn't noticed before; I'm not a fan of high up open spaces yet somehow I just can't say no if someone asks me if I want to jump into a gorge. I just have to say yes; I wouldn't exactly call myself an adrenalin junkie so it can't be that, I really like the feeling of doing something that scares me and that I think I can't do just to prove to myself that I am capable of doing it. This is probably why I am such a busy person; I hate to think that I could miss out on an opportunity just because I don't have enough time, I find time to do it in, which usually involves me trying to condense what should take 48 hours into 24 hours and having my diary glued to me hand.
If you met me in person I would probably seem like one of the least likely people to appreciate wild camping; I think I come across as distinctly girly yet somehow I have this love for being outdoors. I think it might be because you can detach from everything; we live in a world now when we are constantly connected to each other, at any one time you can contact someone at the other side of the world and sometimes I think it's just nice to be uncontactable. The second reason I love being 'out and about' is the fight of it, to stand at the foot of a mountain and think "I'm going to get to the top and it's probably gonna hurt in the morning but it will be worth it" is just nice (for a writer I have horrendous use of adjectives). I like the sense of achievement that extends beyond being able to connect to someone's unprotected WiFi; this sense of achievement is so personal and almost impossible to explain but I'll give it a shot. Your muscles burn, your joints are wobbly, your brain can barely concentrate on pealing a banana, your hair is glued to your head off a mix of sweatiness and rain, your feet are blistered, you feel physically drained so much so that you could sleep for a week. Yet, somehow it is the most liberated you've ever felt, take off your backpack and you could run for miles purely off the feel good it has all given you. That is what I miss sitting here, in a city library. There is no feeling of freedom or exponential achievement, I crave the thrill of expedition. I miss the thrill of expedition.
Hannah x
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, UK

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