Last week’s interview with Mark from Hill Explorer went down fantastically well and I am glad to see that you are enjoying reading about other bloggers and their amazing outdoor passions. I find that it is a great way to get to know what you can do outside as well as get an insight into the people who enjoy doing them.
This week I am joined by Chelsea Haden from Loving Life in Wellies Blog. It is quite funny as Chelsea and I have swapped places (kind of as I’m actually from the Wirral, spending loads of time in Wales) as she lives in North East Wales after growing up in Manchester. Rather than living in the rat race and chasing all the new trends, Chelsea is a lot more comfortable in green spaces, moon gazing and enjoying having a go at all kinds of outside activities. And let’s not forget spending quality time with her gorgeous Lab pup!
Chelsea’s philosophy is definitely shared by me and I am sure that when you see how much you can get from spending some time outside (no matter how small) you’ll be wanting to do it more often too.
…even if you just eat your lunch in the park, walk to work or take up a spot of gardening, you’ll certainly see how great it makes you feel.
You never know, you might even get the urge to check out mountain biking, gorge walking or something else a little more challenging! I know from interviewing Chelsea that I am tempted to get back on a mountain bike!
Hi Chelsea, let’s start off with an easy one. Please describe yourself in one sentence?
City girl turned country bumpkin who’d rather have green open spaces to play in than a new pair of shoes to show off.
I’m definitely with you on that one (even though I currently live in the city you escaped from!) There’s nothing quite like beautiful open green spaces than expanses of concrete and Wales is certainly a wonderful place to have made your home in the countryside. Being that you grew up in the city, what is your first memory of being a lover of the great outdoors?
In my early 20s (better late than never!) when visiting friends at weekends in Wales, I’d take long walks on my own of an evening, moon gaze, and try to release day-to-day stresses . I’m pretty sure there was tree hugging involved too! Not longer after I moved to the countryside.
Too right, it is never too late to learn the wonder of the great outdoors. The long walks in the moonlight sound like just the ticket to get you hooked. No wonder you made the move shortly after, not only for the huggable trees!
I know you’re into Mountain biking, so tell me when you really started getting into outdoor activities?
Nearly three years ago when I met my boyfriend. He was brought up a ‘bit wild,’ and introduced me to adrenaline! I’d done a few things on my own prior to then but I think it was our shared love of outdoor activities that motivated me to keep trying new things. I think it really helps when you’ve got someone to support and inspire you.
I love the idea of your boyfriend being brought up a ‘bit wild’ and it certainly sounds like together you’re unstoppable in your outside adventures. I totally agree that having some support really does help to inspire you and keep you trying out new things. As well as that hit of adrenaline, what else do you enjoy about spending time outdoors?
The quietness. There’s no pressures to think, be, act or look a certain way. You don’t have to put on a show for the outdoors. She loves you muddy wellies and all. I love the fact the weather can be so unpredictable which makes for some amazing scenery.
I love the idea of nature loving you muddy wellies and all – so true! And being a girl from Manchester (and the North West in general!) enjoying all kinds of weather is born into you. You mentioned that you like trying new things, which activities do you do?
Lots of walking / hiking with my pup, wild camping, kayaking, mountain biking, gorge walking, surfing – anything I can get my hands on, I’ll give it a go….
Wow, Chelsea, that is a good variety of activities! (I love gorge walking!) Although they all sound like great challenges in themselves, what is your greatest challenge to so far?
Ignoring (within reason) that little part of the brain that tells you, you mustn’t do something because it appears too dangerous. On the flip side, also listening to that part of the brain, for example when the winds on Cadair Idris were at 70/80mph and I really wanted to get up to the top but with bad weather setting in, I had to make a judgement call and choose to go back to lower ground. As my boyfriend said to me once, ‘ The mountains will always be there’. It’s finding that balance.
You’re definitely not alone with that one, Chelsea, getting the balance between the ‘mustn’t’ do and the ‘want to’ is a challenge I know a lot of face. Especially when you have made it so far, like with your adventure up Cadair Idris. Besides getting that balance going, are there any more challenges for you on the horizon for 2017 and beyond?
This year, I’m on a Walk 1000 mile challenge which means doing a walk every day if I’m to complete it comfortably. I’d also like to go wild camping on my own (with the pup) and learn some new outdoor skills such as map reading. I’m planning on taking a walking skills course with Plas Y Brenin and hoping to progress on to becoming a walking leader but that’s a little off yet!
Ooh, they sounds like great challenges and plans for the year, I think the Walk 1000 mile challenge is a great one too. Learning more outdoor skills is a great challenge for the year, super useful for the long-term too and will definitely feed into your gal of becoming a walking leader. I think you’ll make a great leader too.
If anyone is reading this and wondering about getting into mountain biking, what would be your top three tips for them?
I’d suggest that going to designated centers are a great place to practice in a safer environment. Cannock chase, Llandegla and Coed Y Brenin all have fabulous tracks. If you’re completely new to mountain biking, learn how to fix your bike (you’ll be doing lots of that)! Find someone who can show you the ropes and accompany you on the runs. Always go at your own pace and don’t feel silly for falling off but get back on straight away! And a helmet is your best friend.
Great tips, and although I can’t vouch for the mountain bike tracks Llandegla is lovely! I’m definitely feeling inspired to have another go at mountain biking (it’s been years!) I think that your tip about taking it at your own pace and getting back on after a fall are definitely great tips for newbies too.
If someone was a bit new or reluctant to spend some time outdoors, what would you say to help encourage or persuade them?
I’d suggest to them to read up on all of the research that’s ever been conducted on the mental and physical benefits of being outdoors. Research aside, even if you just eat your lunch in the park, walk to work or take up a spot of gardening, you’ll certainly see how great it makes you feel.
Definitely! I love a picnic and walking to work is also a great way to add mileage to the Walk 1000 miles challenge too. There really are tonnes of reports and articles sharing the benefits, but I agree that actually doing a bit really helps you to experience how good you can feel.
I know in the winter a lot of people find it hard to get out of the house to spend time outside, what do you do to keep yourself motivated to do it in the colder months?
Wrapping up warm and taking a hot flask of homemade soup. But also, reminding myself that I won’t be this age forever, I want to see, smell, feel and experience this beautiful world we live in. I want my body to be able to enjoy nature throughout my life and I can’t do that, sitting on a couch watching TV living through others. Oh and Instagram, since it’s a picture based platform it’s always hungry for more pictures, there’s no such thing as bad weather in its eyes. 😉
Great motivational methods, I love that you’re feeding Instagram too. I totally agree that we need to experience what we can now and enjoy it through our own experience rather than that of others on the TV.
And last but not least, as this is an interview with you as an outdoor blogger, what made you decide to start your blog?
I wanted to see how I was changing. Growing up in the city gives you a certain mentality. This obsession to be constantly connected to technology, celebrities and society’s expectations. I knew it was going to be a much-needed life change and I wanted to share that with my friends and family (ironically through technology) And then there’s a hope that someone else will be inspired and start their own outdoors journey. I’ve always loved to write and have had various blogs (which never lasted) but the outdoors provided me with great inspiration.
Both you and your blog are inspirational and I love how your passion for nature and the outdoors comes through in your photographs and writing. I really enjoy that you wanted to share your journey and change with your family and friends too. I am sure that your adventures and challenges this year will make for some fantastic posts as well as encouraging and inspiring your readers to take their own on too.
Thank you so much for joining me, Chelsea, and for sharing your story and experience. Perhaps I will see you at Llandegla sometime, on a mountain bike maybe, or we could catch up on an urban wander (or country hike) next time you’re up in the Land of Manc. I look forward to seeing where your adventures take you this year. Hopefully I’ll get to interview you again in the future too for some updates on your Walk 1000 miles, wild camping and of course your lovely doggy!
To find out more about Loving Life in Wellies Chelsea Haden, you can find her in the following places.