There has been a little bit of a break in the interview series, but you’ll be pleased to know that we’re back! And this week I am joined by Splodz Blogz, Zoe Homes.
Apart from being absolutely lovely and jolly good fun, Zoe is a #GetOutside Champion for Ordnance Survey, a co-founder of the Outdoor Bloggers group and also working her way through the most exciting of bucket lists on her journey through life. Whether you need some tips on getting outside, inspiration for the next adventure on your doorstep or further afield or motivation to spend #OneHourOutside, you’re sure to get something from her interview. She is based in Lincoln in Yorkshire and loves a tea as much as I do!
So sit back, grab a brew and enjoy.
Hey Zoe and thank you for joining me. As always I like to start off gently with an easy one to get you warmed up. Please can you describe yourself in one sentence?
Hi Sarah, I’m an outdoors enthusiast and GetOutside Champion with a monster of a bucket list and a true desire to fill my life with happy memories; I believe that life is all about the journey and we should be making the most of every step. Apologies for the probably wholly inaccurate use of a semi colon there!
Inaccurate or not it worked for the question, so we’ll move on! What is your first memory of being a love of the great outdoors? Kind of like the first part of your journey?
I have a very distinct memory of running along a trail crossing a clifftop, I must have been about six years old I think, rushing towards a little bench overlooking the sea. I plonked myself on it triumphantly (I’ve never been graceful or ladylike), exclaiming “sweetie stop”! We used to go walking as a family – my mum and dad, sister and I – and the deal was we could have a sweet from the bag when we reached a certain bench. I still remember the glee of that moment, the total childlike enjoyment of being outside in the fresh air, with a great view, and a bag of sugary treats.
Ha! Graceful and ladylike is overrated! (says an equally ungraceful and unladylike girl) I absolutely love the idea of sweetie stops and can just picture the look of joy on your face reaching the designated bench. It certainly sounds like a perfect start to a lifelong love of the outside. But tell me, when did you really get into outdoor activities?
I think I always have been. Walking, canoeing, swimming, cycling, clambering over rocks, playing in the sea, camping, anything really. I have never really picked one thing, I just like being outside, enjoying the countryside and getting plenty of fresh air. I’ve just always thought that out is better than in!
I’m with you on that one! It really sounds like you’re up for anything – especially if you’re bucket list is anything to go by. What is it that you particularly enjoy about spending time outdoors?
Oh lots of things! I enjoy the fresh air, the thinking time, the exercise (well mostly, as long as it’s not too strenuous…), the weather, being in nature, smiling… I think the number one reason I enjoy being outside, though, is the scenery. Whether it’s big skies, rolling hills, mountain vistas, thick forest, fast flowing rivers, the sea, I am a sucker for a good view and can lose so much time just looking and taking it all in.
You’re right, Zoe, the scenery is definitely a big pull for me too – there is so much to see wherever your adventure takes you. I do love this picture of you in Snowdon, I’m surprised you could carry on with that view!
Other than taking in the sights, what other activities do you do?
I guess my main activity these days is walking. It’s the easiest and most convenient way to get outside for me – a hike along a good trail or up a big hill, a wander along the beach or a tow path, or a march around a city hunting out historical and cultural sights. I also like to cycle, motorbike, canoe, ski, I’m not fussy!
Wow! You really are up for anything and I love your can do and ‘will try’ attitude. I really think that it is inspiring when you see people giving everything a go as it goes to show that you don’t need to be an expert to get involved with outdoor activities. Out of all the activities that you do, are there any that you really enjoy but are not so good at?
I’ve never really chosen any one thing and so am definitely no expert in anything. I guess I’ve always enjoyed trying new things and as a results haven’t put the time into one thing over anything else; but that keeps things interesting. I often wonder what my life would be like if I really concentrated on canoeing, I wish I was able to tackle rapids and had the stamina to cross massive lakes. No regrets, just wonderings. At aged 36 I’m not likely to change now, so I’ll stick to trying new things and try not to worry or get frustrated at my lack of skill or fitness.
It’s certainly never too late to change, Zoe! Although I do agree that trying lots of different things is really fun, exciting and most definitely interesting.
While we’re reflecting, what has been your greatest challenge?
I love a good challenge. I think my biggest is probably the Lyke Wake Walk, a 40 mile crossing of the North Yorkshire Moors on foot. I completed it with friends over two days a couple of Octobers ago, and while it was indeed hugely challenging, it was also one of my best outdoors memories to date. The scenery was amazing for the whole 40 miles, and we were treated to the most glorious pink sunset as we made it to the finish line. It must have been okay, we haven’t stopped talking about it since and are now planning something even bigger later this year!
Fantastic video and post about your Lyke Wake walk, Zoe (check it out!) You wouldn’t think it was October from the stunning views. I now feel pretty inspired to add it to my own bucket list. It’s great that one adventure has stemmed something even more exciting. It just goes to show that you never know what will come from giving something a try.
So tell me more about your plans for later this year, I’m excited to find out more.
This year I’m upping the game a little (for me, anyway). I’m finally going to tick off a proper long distance walk from my bucket list and walk the West Highland Way (and Ben Nevis) with a couple of friends. We’re working on our plans at the moment but we intend to carry our own gear so we can camp along the route, meaning I can also tick off wild camping from my list. I love Loch Lomond and Glencoe and can’t wait to see them both on foot rather than from the A82. I am nervous about it, but am probably way too complacent about my ability to complete it; I’m more worried about falling in love with the long distance element and not being able to fit another one in for ages!
Now that is a good challenge, Zoe. I think being nervous is a part of the adventure, no great challenge comes without a little bit of apprehension. I’m sure with the support of friends and the excitement when it comes to it, everything will be amazing. And I know that if you fall in love with the long distances, you will definitely find a way to fit in some more.
Stepping away from the super inspiring challenging walks, what three tips would you give to someone wanting to get started in walking?
This doesn’t really need three tips, just one. And that’s “just go”.
But if you really want three tips…
- Start from your own front door. We are very good at going places but how about finding out more about where you live or work? I guarantee that within 20 minutes of your front door you will have found something cool to look at; whether it be a park, green space, interesting tree, river, some snowdrops. I’d love to hear what you found so feel free to tweet me.
- Dress appropriately. Some say there is never bad weather, only bad clothing. You don’t need to spend loads of money or wear hugely technical kit, but having some good shoes, socks, a warm hat and a waterproof coat will make getting outside much more enjoyable than if you wear pointy work shoes and a posh frock. I don’t need to tell you why!
- Learn how to read a map. You don’t necessarily need to know where you are going on every walk, sometimes it’s nice to follow the flowers or the sound of the water, but it is pretty vital that you at least know where you are (or can find out). This will help you enjoy the outdoors on foot safely. OS Maps is a great option if you don’t want to carry paper maps, but don’t rely on electronics solely as there are so many variables; knowing how to work out where you are and how to get back home/to the car is so important.
Yes! Definitely just go! But your other tips are really useful too. Definitely one for exploring your own areas – we miss so much with rushing around and getting on with things that we sometimes miss the most beautiful things in the most ordinary of places. And of course maps are a really important one too.
How about someone new or reluctant to spending time outside, what would you say to persuade them to give it a go?
The outside is just amazing, why wouldn’t you want to be out there? I know our lives can be busy, with so many conflicting responsibilities and duties, it’s sometimes super difficult to find time in our diaries to dedicate for ourselves and the outside. But it’s so important – a simple 20-minute walk can do wonders for the body, mind and soul; helping us be more awake, more alert, more productive, less stressed and generally happier. What’s not to like?!
For more tips, check out Zoe’s blog post on the Benefits of Getting Outside.
Good point about being able to simply take out 20 minutes for a walk – something I think we can all stretch to fitting into our schedules. It really does make a difference in so many ways.
At this time of year though, when it can be dark, wet, windy and cold, how do you personally stay motivated to get out there?
It’s so hard and even as a GetOutside champion this year I have to admit that I struggle with the dark mornings and the wet weather. I started #OneHourOutside last year and use that challenge to motivate myself to spend at least one hour outside every day, launching it as a campaign that lots of other people have joined in with too. We all know it’s good for us but sometimes it’s easier said than done, this campaign aims to create a habit of it.
Great idea and a good reminder that I should share some of my pictures from my daily wanders! And last but not least, to conclude my interview with Splodz Blogz, Zoe Homes, what inspired you to start a blog about your outdoor fun?
My blog originally started as a place to share my year in photos project, but quickly became a place to document my bucket list – most of which is outdoors focused (no surprises there). I love to write and so it just matches up really nicely; I am still surprised that anyone wants to read it!
It sounds like a natural progression really. I love reading your blog, learning about your adventures and seeing your bucket list ticks too. Definitely an inspiration and I know that is the reason other people read it too. You’re down to earth, show that everything is accessible and your enthusiasm shines through too. What’s not to like about that? (nothing in my book, that’s for sure!)
Thank you so much, Zoe for taking part in my interview series. It has been an absolute pleasure to get to know you better and to share your positive approach and enjoyment of the great outdoors. I very much look forward to hearing about your Scottish adventures and seeing the photos too. Here’s to another year of great adventures, new experiences and spending time taking in the views.
To find out more about Splodz Blogz, Zoe Homes, you can find her here:
Aaaaand, as always you can find the other interview in my series by following this link!