Rediscovering the forgotten art of spontaneity

Stuart finished his assignment and, like most students, he got a little drunk. In fact, we all got a little drunk. But we wanted to do something else, we wanted to do something epic. Fed up of going back and forth between Leamington and campus, we made a plan. At 2am we came home, put down our drinks and went on Google maps, and by 7am we were in the car. Errors in our map making skills made for a much longer journey than planned. In fact a lot of things didn’t turn out like Google told us, but we didn’t care. We’d finished our assignment; nothing mattered.

Eventually we got to a little village in the Peak District and set off into the hills with a notable lack of anything that a normal person would have in a British National Park: backpacks, walking boots, waterproofs, maps… but, again, we’d finished our assignments, so it didn’t really matter. We walked up hills and along rocky ridges, loving the fact that we were away from the library; picking out distant rocks or rivers to walk at so that we’d be able to find our way back if the weather turned. While we followed footpaths here and there, past quaint farm buildings and roaming cows, a lot of the time was spent hopping through thicket and jumping over rivers. Of course, it should be said that there is nothing cool about going out hiking without a map or compass, it’s naive, stupid and dangerous… all the same, it was fun. We’d done what we wanted to do, we’d proved what we wanted to prove, you can be spontaneous enough to just get up one day, head to the hills and have a day out in the wilderness.

Then it started raining. I mean we’d finished our assignments, so technically it wasn’t meant to matter, but still, it started getting wet. We had looked at the forecast in those drunken early hours of the morning and we had seen that it was going to rain, nevertheless as the rain started falling none of us had adequate waterproofs. Two of the three of us donned jackets while Stuart, ever the engineer, took out his roll of bin liners and tried to fashion some waterproof overalls. We all got wet. We decided the wisest idea was to turn around and try to find our way back. It wasn’t long until we stumbled along a road we recognised. The rain turned to sleet, then to snow, covering our surroundings in a blanket of white.

The day was incredible; we got our first taste of the season’s snow and enjoyed some of the best landscapes the UK has to offer, proving that the travel section of the Boar doesn’t have to be filled with what people did in the long holiday period. You can make the opportunity for yourself by getting out of the bubble, even if it’s only for a day. Our ability to revel in our own sense of spontaneity, along with the fact that we’d got away from campus for a change, saw us through the afternoon hours of rain and snow. We got cold, we got very wet, but in the right frame of mind the UK has just as much to offer to those willing to travel as any other country: the Peak District’s rolling hills and rocky ridges make for fantastic views and the fact that we didn’t have a map meant we had plenty of opportunities to really find our own way around and hike, literally, off the trail.

You can go, just for a day, to places in England and Wales and live life as though you were on a proper holiday. It’s advised you do have a map, waterproofs, a back-pack and a little bit of actual hiking gear, but it’s doable, and what’s more, it’s highly enjoyable.
Put your work down and get out of the bubble… after all, that’s what Sunday is for.

James Warner-Smith


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