If there ever is a time where boredom feels like my only season, I can always count on a day of exploring to lift my spirits. Stepping outside of myself, wandering to where sunbeams sit on the trees, peeking through binoculars, embracing my five senses, taking mental field notes and coming home to share all of my discoveries, this is how I cure the boredom blues and find happiness again.
I don't need an airplane or sailboat to get closer to the inner workings of an explorer's heart, all I need is an open mind and the desire to wander, even if it's only in my home town. Here is a little list I wrote on how to be an explorer, take what you can from it and always enjoy!
- Pick a location to explore - this could be a forest, a trail, a public park, a campsite or even your own neighbourhood.
- Depending on how long your adventure will be.. bring water, a journal, your phone, a camera and a nutritional snack to keep you going. Let your family or friends know where you are going and when they can expect your return. Feel free to bring a companion with you, exploring is fun alone and with others.
- Be aware of your surroundings. What kind of animals live here? What kind of ecosystem are you wandering through? What kind of flowers grow here? Describe what you see to yourself, as if you were telling a friend or writing a book. Observations are everything to the explorer. Take field notes or store them in your own memory bank.
- Always be listening - open your ears to the birds, the creek song and the sound of grass when it springs about your feet. Close your eyes and let your ears do all of the work. Can you hear birds chirping? Can you hear cars in the distance? Can you hear 'silence'? How do these sounds make you feel?
- You are equipped with senses. Use them.
- Don't forget to remember the little things - tiny flowers, the grass tickling your feet, bumble bees, weeds, muddy paw prints, the way sunbeams land on treetops. Think about how every little thing makes up the environment you're exploring.
- Think about your mood. Do you feel sad? Do you feel happy? If you feel sad, try to think positively about the world around you. Let yourself see what is beautiful, what is good, and what is inspiring.
- Ponder about the concept of time. How old are the trees or rocks? How old are you? Did the environment you're exploring in look like this before you were born, will it still look like this after you're gone?
- Take photographs so you can relive your exploration on a rainy day, but remember to put your camera away every once in awhile, you don't want to explore everything through a screen. If you prefer to travel without your camera, imagine you had one in your palm, what would you want to remember?
- Be careful. The wilderness is yours to enjoy if you tread carefully. Use common sense, read signs that are posted, try to understand that animals make a home here, follow your hiking level, know the weather forecast, don't trample over ferns, leave the environment as you first saw it.
- Explore your own backyard or a place you've already been to before. Always look for something unfamiliar or new.
- Most importantly - Do not worry about taking the road less travelled by or following maps made by others, exploring is not about where you wander or how many people have wandered there before you, exploring is about how you see the path and how it changes you. The riches gained from exploring lie in what you discover inside of yourself. Enjoy! You're alive! You belong to the wild world around you!
Dress – OASAP
Hat – Scala from Winners
Binoculars – Belonged to my Grandfather
Boots – Value Village
The Location ✈
Ravine behind my house, Calgary Alberta Canada