I’m in Malvern For the RHS Flower Show, I have been to the showground many times and admired the beautiful Malvern Hills from afar, but never been out to explore. This year I have brought my bike to each show, and I have been exploring. The hills are beautiful, and the cycling challenging and exciting.
I’m struck by how often we ignore our surroundings. We spend a fortune to go off on holiday when all the while we are surrounded by beautiful things at home. All too often we ignore or worse, take these places for granted and never visit.
I spent twenty years living in London and yet didn’t visit any of the tourist sites until Justina’s mother visited us from Lithuania, and we became tourists for a week. Her Mother loved the city, and I saw it for the first time through the enthusiastic eyes of an international visitor.
We visited Buckingham Palace and watched the Changing of the Guard, took an open top bus ride around the city, visited Trafalgar square, crossed the river and walked along the embankment. We shopped in Covent Garden, browsed Borough Market and peered through the windows of Bond Street boutiques, we went to the theatre to enjoy a musical and ate ice cream walking through Hyde Park, before listening to a noisy debate at Speakers Corner.
I forgot my daily annoyance with the city, the dirt, the pollution, the traffic, the crowds of people. I realised how petty my angry feelings were. I was in a city that was full of life and opportunity, a city that welcomes strangers and visitors, a city that I feel proud to call our capital. I don’t call it home anymore but looking back, I wish I had taken more pleasure in my time there.
Are you guilty of ignoring the beauty of your home town or city? Are you busy scrolling through Instagram lusting after some new exotic holiday destination? When was the last time you went out to explore the place that you live?
One of my favourite explorers and writers is Alastair Humphreys who found fame cycling around the world, walking across India and rowing the Atlantic. What fascinates me about Alistair now though is his concept of “Microadventures”. Alistair describes this type of adventure as “short, simple, local, cheap – yet still fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing and rewarding.”
Please watch the video below where he explains the concept, and then I urge you to put down your phone, turn off the television and go out and explore this beautiful country of ours.
Remember, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.