Why we need risk in our lives
Last year, I started a new event for women to try out wild camping. I have been pondering why I was moved to start it, given that I had never dared to venture anywhere more wild than the small woodland that I manage myself. But I also know that on some level risk is good for you, and so I’ve become braver over the years in my own woodland space and slept under the stars a few times.
I would like to share this with others. So many people, especially women, don’t try out this magical adventure and for so many reasons. Fear of coping or sleeping alone, worrying about a lack of camping skills, guessing at the noises made by apparently huge wild animals!
These are all natural concerns that, as humans, have kept us alive. Fear means that we take measures to stay safe, but it can also limit our lives and ability to experience risk, have amazing experiences and grow in many ways. We think in terms of being ‘confident’ or ‘not confident’ about something, when it is actually a sliding scale – something is not as daunting if it is a ‘level 4’ on that sliding scale, rather than a ‘no I am not confident, I can’t do it’, and so we learn about ourselves and grow.
Living safe lives
Today, we aren’t running from bears, or evading marauding hunters from the nearest village, we won’t die of cold in our homes, we are sedentary, safe, warmed up, but in building our homes, installing central heating and running water, closing our windows and cleaning away the dirt, we have detached ourselves from the natural world and become afraid of it. We forget that we ARE the natural world.
Disconnected from nature and from ourselves
But in our safe lives, we don’t see the detail in nature anymore. Whether a plant is poisonous or nutritious doesn’t impact our lives as we drive past them without seeing the detail of spring time leaves or the colours of autumn. We don’t spend the time in nature we need to distinguish between species of tree and to really know them, we don’t taste the wildflowers or learn which plants will soothe an upset stomach. The woods at night feel unsafe, and we are lead to see woodlands as places of danger and harm.
Could it be that we have gone too far the wrong way? We have nothing to fill our senses and keep us energised. There is very little real danger. Some may address this lack by turning to adrenaline sports and adventure challenges, sadly some turn to less healthy things to make us feel alive, such as food, stimulants or alcohol.
There is another, more gentle way to reconnect with risk, and open ourselves to the natural world. Spend time in nature. Go to the woods. Climb a tree, or hug it. Use all of your senses. Sit on a branch and watch the leaves in the wind, waiting for the life in the wood to show itself, watch the sun setting, experience soft wind and rain on your face, see a sky full of stars!
We believe that time spent in the woods is transformative; it is healing, it educates, it supports. Woodlands are places to feel safe and nurtured.
Wild camping for women
We run our Solo Wild Camps for women who are ready to stretch their boundaries and camp wild with the support and safety of a group around them. We have sole use of an 80-acre private woodland full of wildflowers, as well as deer, foxes, badgers. Our water comes from a stream, our firewood is foraged.
This is your chance to experience the thrill of wild camping, find out what it feels like to be alone, to hear the minutest noises, watch the leaves sway and feel the breeze (or insect) on your cheek. Your senses will come alive and you will relax into the night as the stars appear and your watch becomes irrelevant.
Feel supported in the woods
Our solo camp is designed so that you can choose just how far you dare venture from the leaders; your personal limit of what feels comfortable, and then maybe just a little bit further.
We will always be in earshot and always on hand for advice when you need it.
You probably won’t need it. But you will feel safe knowing we are there.
Join us for our wild camp.
With thanks to Alpkit Foundation for providing us with bivvy bags and tarpaulins for our first time wild campers!