A Guide to Exploring Great Britain
Having cycled Lands End to John O’Groats solo and unsupported over 3 weeks last October, made up my own triathlon to explore the River Cam via 3 different modes of transport, and having just reached the half way mark of my current #WalkGreatBritain adventure I’ve loved exploring new parts of our wonderful country.
We are so lucky to have such a varied landscape, beautiful national parks and a whole variety of different delicious local artisan foods to try along the way.
Here are some of the lessons I’ve learnt through my adventures about getting outside, exploring new areas and most importantly, having fun!
1. Do it your way
If you love cycling, get out on your bike, if you hate running don’t suffer through a marathon, or if you’d like to try a new sport or two use this as an opportunity to simply have a go and see what works for you. We’re all different and you’ll have a lot more fun picking a mode of transport that you enjoy.
If your adventure requires training you’re also a lot more likely to stick to the training plan if you genuinely enjoy it, rather than doing it for purely health purposes or because it’s what’s currently popular.
2. Make a plan, but be open to changing it
It’s a good idea to do enough planning to keep you safe, but you don’t need to cover every eventuality. Part of the fun is the flexibility and chance opportunities to do something cool that can spring up. I usually have an idea of an end point for the day, so that I know which direction to head in. But if I meet a local who tells me about an awesome alternative path or puts me in touch with someone who I think it would be nice to meet, I’ll happily change my plan.
This is why it’s called an adventure: the unknown, the opportunity to go off plan and the wonderful things you’ll discover as a result. Otherwise you might as well sign up to a set challenge where you’re doing the same route as everyone else (which, of course, can be fun too, but I prefer to do things my own way).
3. It doesn’t have to be big
Big challenges like Lands End to John O’Groats are a great way to explore the country, but they are time consuming and not everyone has that luxury. So see how much time you do have available and make the most of it. It could be something as simple as an overnight campout.
For example, you probably have 64 free hours between 5pm on Friday and 9am on Monday – how will you use yours?!
4. Go solo
It’s great to get friends together and head out into the countryside, but you’ll learn a lot more about yourself and feel a bigger sense of achievement if you head out on your own and take on a solo challenge.
On my LEJOG/JOGLE adventures people I meet along the way often tell me to “be careful!”, but this is Britain. It’s highly unlikely anything bad is going to happen. We’re all just people and most of us are so friendly, kind and just want to connect. So be brave, use your instincts like you would in any other situation and remember to smile!
5. Food matters
What I eat not only affects my ability to keep on moving but it also affects my mood. I’m not one for existing on rations, I like food that makes me feel full and happy. Whether that’s indulging in the local baked creations or stocking up on protein and veg, make sure you have a healthy food budget and make food part of the adventure.
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Fancy hearing how my #walkgreatbritain challenge ends? Hop over to Instagram to find out >> Instagram.com/fionalquinn