Despite being born and bred in a small North Devon coastal town, just a stone’s throw away from long picturesque beaches, I really enjoy the buzz of big city life when I am able to make the trip. When I am amongst it, I can understand why many people crave the fast paced lifestyle, despite probably looking like a fish out of water! The easy commuting from A to B, endless daytime and nightlife activities and so many other experiences I am more than likely not even aware of as I sit here typing away in my three bed, semi-detached home. My favourite UK cities are Cardiff and London. Cardiff in particular holds a special place in my heart as it provided four awesome university filled years and brought this beach bum out of her sandy shell. However, as much as I enjoyed all my time in the Welsh capital, I always looked forward to driving back home to the coast. Three or four days in London Town? That is enough city life to keep me happy for a while!
Unfortunately, this first blog for Country and Coastal Ltd does not involve a guest appearance from our favourite on screen duo to find you the perfect location (location, location) for a relaxing UK break because founder, Louise, already has that sorted. What it will do, however, is intrigue you into contemplating an escape to the country, like that other popular daytime TV show, leaving the hustle and bustle of city life behind for a countryside retreat you never knew you needed.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Hopping from tram to tram, weaving through yellow taxi cabs and big red buses, the main things I notice when returning to the countryside after some time in my chosen big smoke is the air. Taking those first few inhales stepping off the train, you can feel the clean and crisp freshness filling your lungs and invigorating your body from head to toe. Those automatic inhales and exhales keep you feeling clean and vibrant. With a lesser need for public transport and, sometimes, your own car, particularly at the North Devon retreat, the opportunities for Devon air are always available to boost your mood. Nature can become your very own free, no contract, 24 hour, personal gym! Besides, we’ve all heard and read about the positive effects of including a small snippet of the outdoors within day to day life has on physical and mental health.
Awaken Your Senses
You can’t quite beat long beach walks, undulating moor hikes, chilled out cycles, summer time surfing, or just a trip to the shops to restock your staycation essentials. Losing yourself within nature, with probable mud on your trainers or sand in your hair, depending on your destination of course, you become in tune with your senses once more. Instead of the monotonous rumbling of engines, drone of endless conversations and dazzling colours of blinking lights, your eyes will take in the shimmer of the salty sea, your ears will twitch to the sound of the breaking waves and you’ll feel the gentle breeze streamlining your skin, or rain, this is the UK after all! As the rain drops trickle their way down your (hopefully) waterproof coat, the stresses and thoughts of city life will follow suit. And the best part? Not a sharp, tailor made corporate suit in sight.
Losing Track of Time
Escaping city life and immersing oneself in the calming and ever changing Mother Nature takes away any sense of time. More often than not, a simple walk from my house turns into a multiple mile jaunt, just because some days you feel like you can just keep walking, and walking, and walking. You basically become a slower version of Forest Gump, which is perfect for taking in and appreciating all the sights, smells and noises I keep going on about; I probably haven’t experienced all of them, yet. How long have I been walking? Could not tell you. What is the actual time? Questionable, but judging by my stomach growling and the dimming light, I have definitely been immersed for a little too long this time!
Nature’s Free Gym
There is something very rewarding when you return home from a much longer than planned walk or cycle. May be it’s the fact your smart watch has clocked way over the ever alluded “ten thousand steps” mark, or may be you can feel how much of a workout your body has actually had. A couple hours deep into your walk (hang on, may be it’s three hours, because who knows at this point), you realise you have not once thought about how long you have been amongst the gift of the countryside, but also, how much energy you have been expending. And why would you? Nature’s free “gym membership” doesn’t include a screen displaying calories burnt, maximum heart rate, or a button to increase or decrease intensity of effort. As well as losing track of time, you lose track of literally keeping track. Plus, if the sky does happen to pour its heart out down onto you, it’s a free water fountain to fill up your flask, but pouring it over your head is not necessary.
After all those outdoor adventures of walking, exploring, inhaling, exhaling, losing track of time and, hopefully, not getting rained on, a well earned sit down is required. Getting cosy in your seat, pouring yourself a cheeky glass of something (because you deserve it and we’ve lost track of keeping track), the stresses and strains of city life begin to melt into the fabric. This seat could also be a warm bath tub, or the softness of a Pilates mat as you flow from pose to pose with Louise’s guidance. The calmness and serenity that comes with spending time away from city life and embracing all the countryside has to offer, will leave you feeling revitalised and rejuvenated, ready to return to normal life with a fresh mind and body. Upon that return, however, you take a little bit of Country and Coastal with you in the form of memories, calmness and a branded bath robe.