This is me….. a 43 year old wife and Mamma of three. Expat, dog walker, and general children’s activity taxi lady. Definitely more comfortable behind the camera than in front! Very sensitive, quite stubborn, but hugely enthusiastic about life, with a passion for the great outdoors. In a previous life I had ambitions of being a ballet dancer, before I swapped the pointe ballet shoes for army boots (they ran simultaneously for a while together!!), and experienced the university branch of the Army’s T.A. for four fun years, while studying for a nursing degree. Set my heart on going into the army (not as a nurse), but married a handsome Royal Marine, so became a registered children’s nurse instead for 12 years. Then I immersed myself in being a stay at home mamma, which with the arrival of twins on top of a three year old was really overwhelming. Together with Dadda, we fulfilled our dreams of upping sticks, leaving the UK, and settling with our family in Scandinavia…home is now Sweden. This little blog space of mine is mainly devoted to encouraging other families to connect with nature and enjoy the outdoors. However, I now feel the urge to take on some outdoor adventure challenges that are adult sized, alongside my passion for getting our trio outside.
So where is all this going? I have always had a passion for the outdoors, and in particular was so lucky to have so many opportunities with the military while I was with them. I now devote a lot of my efforts into sharing the benefits of the outdoors with our three children, and helping them connect to, and grow a love for nature and the outdoors through mini outdoor adventure challenges for them. Indeed, most of this blog is devoted to trying to persuade other families to do the same, with tips and inspiration on how to go about that. However, I have recently felt more my old self in terms of re- emerging from the all encompassing job that is raising three young children. In particular the chaos and total exhaustion that goes with 2 of those being the most energetic, lively, and mischievous twin boys! I feel ready for some outdoor challenges of my own now, as I will explain more in detail below. Although I facilitate adventures for our three little people, I feel I am now in a position to lead more through my own example with some grown up adventures. I want to step out of my comfort zone, which, in terms of outdoor adventures, has got a little too comfy over the past 11 years of raising children! Who knows, one, two, or all three might fancy joining me on some of them! The option will be there for them. So on that note I am going to set out 12 outdoor challenges to achieve in the next 12 months. I feel that by using my blog, I will be more accountable. We all know even with the best intentions, family life, working life, and life in general can sabotage plans! Part of the challenges will be the logistical elements too with juggling a family. So without any further ado, here are my 12 in 12 months, which will run from April 2019 and include March 2020. It isn’t as rigid as one per month, so they will be done as opportunities arise 🙂
- Run a 10km race: I have never been a great runner, but have always used it as a form of exercise to balance out my severe chocolate addiction. Pre children I ran regular 10km races, and even had 2 London marathons under my belt. After the last one, Dadda did make me promise never to run another marathon after filling the finishing line charity bucket with vomit, and then nearly passing out on the tube back to where we were staying. That wasn’t too much of an issue as 9 months later along came our little lady, and then I became rather distracted and busy for 11 years. I have not really done any big running races since that last marathon, apart from one Great South Run over 5 years ago. Time to set myself the challenge and enter a race and get back into it.
- Arctic dog sledding and camping adventure: This will be one of the first of my outdoor adventure challenges to get me started, and a rather meaty one too. You can read more about it by clicking on the link.
- A summer hike of several days in northern Sweden, carrying everything and camping: In my past life this is something I loved to do. We have a whole new country to explore now, and I want to see more of it and its wild spaces, so I have incorporated this into my outdoor adventure challenges as who knows if I still have it in me to be able to carry everything and walk that far!
- Join an orienteering club: Anyone who really knows me will know my map reading skills are haphazard at best, and it’s a miracle we end up anywhere! Of all the outdoor adventure challenges this may benefit me the most! Despite knowing the theory inside out, and hiking a lot in the past with only maps and compasses as the way to find the route, this is definitely something I can do with improving. However, firstly I do not even know the word for orienteering in Swedish, and secondly it would be the first Swedish club I would have joined (that is if I can find one and they exist!). So I am really stepping outside my comfort zone with this one, in terms of skill, fitness, and language!
- Visit Utklippan:. Travel to and camp on the outer most island on our archipelago and climb its lighthouse. This is the island that got away last summer from my “to do” list when we explored our archipelago.
- A winter hike and camp: Hiking and camping in the middle of winter is a totally different experience to a summer trip. Apart from once when I was about 17 I have never camped in snow, and certainly never during a winter like you get in Sweden.
- A cross country skiing adventure of a few days: This challenge is a vague idea at the moment, and how it would be achieved needs more thought. Needless to say, I think it will be one of my last next winter.
- Run a 20km trail run race: I have never run a trail race, it would be the first time ever. I have found one in the early summer in our county. The Blekinge River Trail. It has three distances, 9.5km, 20km, and 50km. I think 20km would be a huge challenge for me, doubling the distance from the 10km race I would enter first.
- A canoe/kayak introductory course: I have never canoed/kayaked so this would be a totally new experience and skill to learn. However, it is a great way to get around our archipelago.
- A Canoe or paddle adventure: Having learnt the basics I would then like to put them into action and take a mini adventure in the canoe/kayak.
- Cycle Bräkneleden Trail: (70km) I am no cyclist. I find it blooming hard work, I get very hot and bothered easily on the thing, and tire fast. However, not far from us there is a beautiful trail of 70km. I challenge myself to try and cycle this….in a single day!
- A winter wild swim:. I have Dadda to thank for this idea as I was stuck for number 12 of my outdoor adventure challenges. I am a swimmer (sport of choice), but I am not sure once a get in there I will be able to do much swimming!! It is more for the challenge of taking a winter dip….we can’t do an ice hole dip here as the ice is never really thick enough, so this is the next best thing….I think it will also be quite enough of a challenge!
I am hoping Dadda and/or our children might fancy doing some of these outdoor adventure challenges with me. Some friends might even fancy doing it…..it would be nice! Just let me know if you are up for doing one of these with me 🙂 I am not completely antisocial. If you know of any tips on how to achieve these, or places to go (like for orienteering!!) all suggestions and help are very welcome. But the list is there to give me motivation and hold me accountable to getting my outdoor fix!