I live in Manchester in the UK, a city region home to 2.65 million strangers among endless terraced streets and clogged roads. To be fair, it’s a fairly nice city as cities go. The centre is home to some interesting arcitecture while its suburbs and boroughs aren’t totally bereft of parks and green spaces.
But still, it’s a city. And when you’re an anxious introvert with a brain always on the lookout for danger a city can be a panic attack inducing hell. Crammed public transport, rowdy crowds, angry drivers, drug addicts and now to add to it, the fear of terrorism.
That’s why last weekend I packed my rucksack and headed for the hills and nature. 2 whole nights camped among the trees and babbling brooks. Beautiful.
The only problem was the hoards of “lads on the lash” also had this idea and decided to pitch their tent directly next to mine. I don’t know what it is about humans, but why can’t they just leave me alone, just for one measly weekend?
Not to worry, I filled my day sack with supplies and hit the trail. I love walking in nature, there is nothing like it. The open green spaces are the perfect antidote to the busy streets with buildings closing me in. I walked through a wooded valley only passing the occasional walker.
As a side note, why do walkers always feel the need to say “Hi”? I could take the first one, maybe the second but by the third I wanted to scrawl across my best Craghoppers shirt in suncream “Yes, yes, yes… ‘Hello’!”. I mean, even when the walkers we’re in a group in single file, one after one they’d all say “hello”, why doesn’t the first one just say it and the others assume it?
[I know, I know. Im grumpy. But you are as well if you’re an anxious introvert living in a city with extremely limited rest bite.]
Minor annoyance aside, as I strolled through nature taking in it’s trees, its rivers, it’s fauna, it’s wildlife, it’s sharp crags, ancient ruins and flowing waterfalls I began to feel myself again. “Began” mind, because I haven’t been in nature for a long while now despite the fact I used to spend all my free time there. Work will do that too you:- take away your free time.
2 nights away under the canvas was a start, I began to feel freer and calmer. But to fully restore myself from the tyranny of work I will need far more time in the wilderness. Weekends off isn’t enough for my brain, I’m just not wired for city life. A break from the city is not my natural state, being in nature is.