Adventure can come in many forms but most of all for me it has been realising that the path that you are travelling along is not set in stone and can be turned to a more adventurous one with just a different mindset. Just a few years ago, I was the average working Londoner, deadlines, overtime and commuting took up most of my waking hours. Although not entirely forgotten, my passion for the outdoors and beautiful spaces had taken a backseat to my working life. I had a successful career as a Managing Director of a small company in London, mortgage, car, and of course, a season rail card. It was a million miles away from the wildlife mad young girl who had always wanted to become a marine biologist.
A number of signs kept prompting me to question the direction I was travelling in and this was cemented by a chance encounter that introduced me to Belinda Kirk Explorers Connect and a whole community of like-minded adventurers. Before I knew it, I was spending weekends hiking in the Lake District, bivvying in the Peak District and snow-holing in Scotland.
Spending time so much time amongst nature again caused me to rethink what I wanted out of life, and I realised that I had to return to study and revisit my dreams to learn more about our environment. Our wildlife is declining all around us at an extortionate rate and I knew that my enjoyment of the outdoors and wild places gives me a duty to protect it.
I am now over halfway through an Environmental Science with Creative Writing degree and have long left my job in London to gain more experience in practical conservation. Working on projects such as pine marten recovery in the depths of Wales, habitat surveys by the side of busy Sussex airport runways and planning a big expedition for 2017, no day is the same and each is filled with purpose.
I think that exploring and nature is simultaneous with one another, whether you are hiking up that mountain path in the Cairngorms and the elusive mountain hare runs across your path or you are pack rafting on the River Spey and one of our migrant visitors, the beautiful Osprey, flies overhead. The sound of twigs snapping outside your tent as an unknown visitor slips by, or the call of a tawny owl that sends you to sleep as you are tucked up in your bivvy. I don’t think we explore the great outdoors to escape our world, but more to realise we are an intrinsic part of a bigger, more exciting one that is entwined with nature.
Throughout this time of change the one thing that I have come to rely on, is having the complete backing of the EC community. Whether it is hearing other people’s talk about their adventures, receiving advice or simply sharing a lot of laughter with like-minded friends, it has been great to be part of such a special group. Most importantly one that ensures that I always question the path I travel upon.
Leaving you with my favourite quote, from Fridtjof Nansen:
"We all have a Land of Beyond to seek in our life—what more can we ask? Our part is to find the trail that leads to it. A long trail, a hard trail, maybe; but the call comes to us, and we have to go. Rooted deep in the nature of every one of us is the spirit of adventure, the call of the wild—vibrating under all our actions, making life deeper and higher and nobler."
Words: Rina Quinlan
Follow her journey at https://www.instagram.com/rinarunswild/