Being a travel blogger seems like the perfect part-time activity. Office jobs just don't offer the same thrill and adventure as an outdoors getaway, getting back to nature, exploring new countries and discovering beautiful scenic landscapes.
We are delighted to have Vaughan & Katie from The Explorers Home guest blog for us. Expect monthly posts covering travel inspiration, packing tips and more, but to begin with let's get an insight into their lives and daily routine.
Tell us a bit about yourself
Adventure is a part of us all. We can all remember those times of wonder and discovery as a kid when everything we saw was a new discovery and life was full of wonder. Most of us grew up though, filling our days with school, college, work, family… and we lost the adventure somewhere in amongst all of the stuff that fills our time. We want to bring that back for people.
Vaughan Williams (myself) and Katie Cockerill are just your average people, from average towns in the UK. I grew up on the outskirts of London and Katie in the small town of Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire. What is so special about that, you ask? Well, nothing in fact. But what we had in our towns was the same small piece of magic that every kid has in their hometown - wonder and discovery. What we want to do is show people that work, university, even family time, doesn't have to fill every hour of your day. The world is a big place but most of us don't even adventure outside of our commute to work and local shops, we show people that you can rekindle that spark of adventure and rediscover the world around you.
It must be great being able to write on the road and experience the world?
It must be amazing huh! We wouldn't know either though… We work full time jobs, just like everyone else! The truth is, there is such a small, glamourised, number of people that travel blog and write about adventures but the fact of the matter is that near 99.9% of the world work, live and breathe in the town that they live in right now. We are no different! I work in commercial property compliance (yawn!) and Katie manages an adventure travel gear store (woo!). We wouldn't be able to write about showing people how to discover adventure in that huge chunk of the day that you're not at work if we didn't do just that, would we?
What do you try to show people?
Lets think about this for a second… Most people work 8-9 hour days, 5 days a week. So on that basis: including days off, standard holidays, weekends, bank holidays etc, the average person has 112 days off each year. More than that, including time when you're not at work, the average person has 6736 hours when they're not at work. How long does it take to throw a sleeping bag in a bag, walk ten miles to a local wood and camp out the night? Not 6736 hours, thats for sure!
It's not all about camping and hiking, but we do promote it where we can. Sitting around a crackling fire, the stars above you and a cheeky beverage in your hand is well known to be possibly the best cure ever for a stressful day. Waking up to morning mist, a sunrise that can knock your socks off and a brief swim in a cold water river is sure to set you up for anything a day in the office can throw at you as well! And whats the worst thing that can happen? You don't sleep so great and you smell a bit when you get to the office, perhaps. But I dare say that absolutely nothing will wipe that smile off of your face from the new adventure you have just experienced…
You must have a pretty hectic daily life, how do you fit it all in?
I’m an early riser, up at 5.30am most days by default and I don't sleep until about 11.30pm. That is just me and I know not everyone is that energetic. Katie would live her entire life in bed if the mountains could come to her; up at 8am, asleep by 10pm most nights at the latest. But those hours when we aren't at work are when we cram it in. I highly advise getting to sleep earlier and up earlier. Most people like to stay up late as it gives them the sense that they have done something other than work that day - what is to say that can't be in the mornings as well? We went to the allotment to water the greenhouse and made strawberry jam before work yesterday morning, and when I told people what we had done that morning they just stared at me in bewilderment, like I had just grown another head! “How do you find the time?!” they murmured between sips of super strong coffee, “I just went to bed early and got up early…”.
We always advocate checking for cheap train deals (Megabus, Skyscanner etc.) and just booking something when you spot it. Worry about the accommodation later, grab that deal for now! Working in a shop, Katie’s time isn't very flexible, but even then we try to get away on a Friday night after work, on the train and back Sunday evening for an early night to feel super amazing for the Monday - 48 hours of adventure right there!
When you need that peace and quiet, where do you aim for?
Adventure and discovery isn't always about escaping to the hills. The fact is some people flat out hate the outdoors, and that’s ok. Discovery and exploration can come in many forms. Personally, if I really need the peace, I will stick my headphones in, grab a coffee somewhere and just read a book for hours. Katie is a water baby, so goes swimming for hours on end if it's been a tough day. The options are endless though - throw in your headphones and wander around one of the thousands of museums dotting the country; you don't even have to read anything. Books, crafts, cooking, baking, knitting, even cleaning my outdoor gear are all forms of discovery for me that involve a bit of ‘brain downtime’ - they mean I can shut off for a bit but still learn something new.
What would you encourage others to do if they want the same experiences?
Step outside the front door, for starters. What is outside your house down the street to the right, at the end of the road on the left? Don't know? Find out! Get off of the bus or train on the way home from work a few stops early tonight and discover a bit more of your hometown. Have a sleeping bag? Well it's summer out there (apparently!) right now so grab yourself a £5 tarp from the hardware store and have yourself a sleepover in the woods, I promise you there are not nearly as many crazy people out there as the news will have you believe…
There are huge swathes of the country that are ready for you to discover if you take the time though. If you have a few days spare, throw some kit in a backpack and jump on a bus into the wilderness - there are no wolves or bears here, you're safe. Keep an eye on the weather because you don't want to get caught in a snowstorm, but otherwise you're pretty safe if you stay dry. The worst that can happen is that you get a bit wet, a bit groggy and you jump on the bus back home, shower it off and laugh at yourself! The best that can happen? Well, mountains, sunrises, wild deer sleeping outside your tent, campfires with friends, you get the picture.