Campfire Thoughts - a short read whilst the kettle boils or the embers die out.
Think about the most important moments in your life, or the happiest ones. How many of them were the result of careful planning and how many just seemed to be suddenly happening? When you carefully construct a perfect moment, it so often turns out to be better in your head than it was on paper, but those random experiences are all the more valuable for being unexpected. That’s why New Year’s Eve is never as good as the quiet afternoon pint that turns into a 3am singalong. It’s impossible, by definition, to stage those experiences, but making yourself open to them can lead you on some amazing adventures.
The first thing to do is stop playing it safe. Yes, that beach in Cornwall is always a winner, but there are pockets of coast everywhere and rivers twisting through wooded valleys where the swimming is just as wild and far less likely to involve getting hit in the head by a surfboard or squeezing onto a square foot of sand. Try just zooming around the map, finding a spot or a line of blue and then heading for it, just make sure that you don't end up in a reservoir or someone's swimming pool, both of those are likely to get you in trouble.
Even better is going and doing something completely different. Dig out that list of places you’ve always wanted to visit and things you’ve always wanted to try, pick one and just do it (sorry, Nike). At the very worst you end up with a one-off experience, but you could come away with a totally new hobby or a whole new part of the world to explore. We’ve even heard stories of people who went away for a weekend and ended up moving their entire lives.
Then there’s the journey itself. If you’re open to a bit of spontaneity, sometimes you might head out for the day and not even make it to where you were heading. You’ll end up following moss-covered signs to secret viewpoints or working your way through networks of country lanes, navigating by sight towards the smoke from what you’re choosing to believe is the chimney of a pub. It doesn’t matter if you get lost when you just wanted to see what’s out there.
Because that’s the point of travel. It's great to share things with your friends but there's a danger of losing the immediacy and the magic if you stop to capture every moment or try and schedule your free time to maximise enjoyment, which is a terrible phrase for a terrible idea. Your free time should be free - from pressure, from worry, from any sense of measurement or comparison. Even when it’s so tempting, after a year when we’ve all had so much taken away from us, to try and grab as much of it back as we can, we need to relax now more than ever. So don’t worry about whether or not you’re doing the right thing or the best thing, just say yes, take the turning, follow your nose and enjoy whatever you end up doing.
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