Adventure looks a bit different this year. If you’re used to jetting off for the summer, packing your bags with that intrepid feeling of excitement, then it seems it may be a while until we have the option of the freedom of all of that. So, what do we do? How about reframing what that looks like for you.

I spent the early years of my adult life living in Southern Africa, and a lot of it in the wilderness of the bush. For a time, I felt like I couldn’t be happy if I didn’t live there. There is definitely a healthy dose of my naïve twenties coming into play here, but I was lucky when I realised what really did make me tick. It opened up my life to more possibilities, and put me back in control of it.

This realisation didn’t happen whilst watching elephants drinking at a watering hole, or whilst flying over the beautiful expanse of the Okavango Delta. Experiences I am so lucky to have had, a lot. Instead it happened sitting on top of a grassy hill in Somerset watching the sun go down. I was alone, sitting on the floor, no doubt with bare feet. There may have been no chance of lions lurking in the bushes, and the Milky Way wasn’t going to be anywhere near as clear that night, but suddenly that was okay. In my heart it felt the same as when I felt truly content in the bush: I was in nature.

Reframing what makes me happy has really helped me try to feel fulfilled. It allowed me to leave experiences behind, keeping them as the amazing privileged times they were, but to also move on. To feel sane, I need a good dose of being outside, away from a lot of people, on a reasonably regular basis. Previously adventurous friends have talked of their loss on leaving that all behind, when moving country and possibly starting a family. It is often expressed like grief. But what is it about a situation that truly brought you happiness? It is worth trying to unpick it a bit. I bet with an open mind and a bit of creativity you can recreate part of it at least in the next stage of your life.

So, this year there won’t be a lot of bag packing. We may be able to explore a little closer to home, but instead of pinning my hopes on what is in the hands of others, I strive to write my own story of happiness. So far, I’ve discovered more long wonderful walks with my dog in the past few months, than in the years I have lived in Frome. We camped in the garden; when you’re lying looking at the canvas of a tent you really could be anywhere! An early morning sea swim before anyone else arrived truly lit a spark in my heart. Fresh air, bare feet, not planning every detail and slowed down time with loved ones: that sounds like a good adventure, for a while at least!

Charlie Ellis James LCPH