It’s easy to forget the world we have on our doorstep. Thanks to social media, we can easily see images and stories from all over the world, beautiful places with gorgeous weather and stunning scenery. But unfortunately, we don’t all live on the Norwegian fjords or the Caribbean coast. But with a little work, it’s possible to find some beauty (or at least some green space) in your local area!
Get good with Google Maps
For me, Google maps has been a key tool in discovering my local area. It’s a great way to be able to see large areas of land easily and it can show you where there are patches of green for you to explore. Zoom out from your home, and I bet you’ll be surprised at the amount of green you can see! Zoom in and look for paths – some are marked out by google, others are visible using satellite view.
On your bike!
A bike is an amazing way to get out and about. When walking, you can cover about 3-4 miles in an hour, without stopping. In contrast, I can cover 7-8 miles on a bike in the same time – a huge difference that opens up a whole new range of places. For me, a bike has made the difference from going to the same three or four areas just out of town to being able to get almost anywhere I want without worrying about how long it’ll take!
Appreciate your surroundings
Nature is beautiful, whether that’s a small strip of trees between some houses or a wide expanse of rolling hills under a summer sky. Rather than concentrating on your larger surroundings, think about where you are right now. Appreciate it all – from the shapes and patterns of the trees to how the sunlight plays across the ground. Take a moment to stop and listen for birdsong. Watch for insects or birds. If you can fully appreciate everything that’s around you, you will get so much more out of your local area.
Don’t be afraid
Before going out to explore, I often spend a long time searching for routes and paths to take. But sometimes I find myself worrying “what if this path isn’t there anymore?” (trust me, it’s happened before) or “what if I get lost?”. With google maps available almost everywhere, getting lost is quite difficult – there is always a way around! It’s always important to stay safe. It’s this philosophy that has helped me get out and about recently – if I mess up, I’m not exactly in the middle of nowhere.
Engage with nature
While you’re out an about, you can step into the world of other species. Learn to identify the different animals and plants. Take photos or draw pictures of what you have seen. Watching other animals go about their daily lives is a great way to relax and enjoy the outdoors, as well as providing huge mental health benefits. If you can get to know the animals that call your local area home, you’ll be able to enjoy it even more!
Article by Jack Murden