“Why would you do that? What’s wrong with a hotel?”
This is a common refrain when I tell people that I enjoy trekking and spending the night out on the moor. It’s a question that is hard to answer, because the answer itself is in many ways a subtle contradiction.
You see, there is nothing wrong with a hotel. It’s comfortable, it’s full of creature comforts, it’s dry and warm, there’s a bar! I like hotels. I like bars! They are nice. But that is also the reason that I may choose not to use one.
Our Western World environment is largely man made. It protects us but could it also numb us? I think this is the case. We are so skilfully insulated and cushioned that we have become distant from the planet that sustains us. For many this not a problem, though I wonder how many have ever paused to consider if it might be an issue?
An exposure to nature heralds passion. The feel of the wind. The sound of rain on canvas. The unearthly feeling of lying beneath a sky so black and full of stars you could almost reach out and touch them. The crunch and sparkle of fresh snow. Have you ever stood somewhere so remote you could hear nothing but your own heart beat? No? I seriously commend the experience.
We protect ourselves from the elements because we are vulnerable but approach the natural world with respect and humility and she will reward you. A bikepacking friend of mine calls our trips his ‘therapy’. It’s a good word for it. Get out there! Try it!
I promise it will inspire and enrich you. Your senses will heighten, you will notice details and sounds anew. You will learn something about yourself. You will return home feeling totally alive. And when you recount your trip to others, you will immediately spot those who have been there too.
You will recognise the glint in their eyes.