Where possible, and especially post Covid I always try to champion the UK as one of the ultimate adventure countries. Endlessly wild and varied, yet with all corners reasonably easily accessible, the UK is like no other country. Despite all of the above, I have found myself falling into a habit, a habit that no longer serves me and my work. I find myself opting to visit the same places, do the same hikes and shoot similar work. It doesn’t serve my personal growth, nor my ability to grow as a photographer, as a storyteller and as a creative being. But it’s easy, comfortable, and as I try to remind myself; comfort is a slow death.
The lovely thing about Nicola is that she pushes me to grow, both professionally and personally. She is the first to suggest a change, and to push me to be original and creative. In fact, I have Nicola to thank for the Wales trip. Strangely enough Wales is a country I have never truly explored; I have had plans to, I have had fleeting visits, but I have never truly taken the time to have a proper Welsh adventure; until now.
With a few bits of work to tie up, and various brands needing last minute content, we needed mountains, and preferably lakes. My initial thought was to go to one of my old faithful spots, spots I knew and that would deliver. Nicola on the other hand thought it was time I mixed it up, so we decided to pack up the van, the dogs and the cat (obviously!!) and hit the road over the Easter weekend.
It was wonderfully freeing, we had no firm plans, we just wanted to hike, wild swim, live the van life and shoot. And even in terms of the hiking I only had one quick one… now how that turned out was to totally backfire on me, and consequently Nicola. The so-called brief hike turned into a savage 7-hour trek (slog). Let’s just say the dogs slept very well that night.
The trip to Snowdonia challenged me in an unusual and less obvious manner, it challenged me to slow down, to do less, rather than the usual million miles an hour I usually work. Having bright sunshine all day may once have frustrated me, not being able to shoot until specific windows when the light softens meant that I was less productive. But I was relaxed, the dogs were full of boundless energy that was run off on trails and crossing rivers, even Dolly (the cat) was having the time of her life, her first trip away from home in the van and she loved it, moving around the van throughout the day to the warmest patch, and out to hunt and play whenever we had a secluded camp spot. I must admit I fell a little more in love with her after I saw her take to my favorite way to live and travel.
For more on slow travel, be sure to check out A Guide to Wild Camping in the UK!
I always like to take something from the trips, to learn something from each journey I go on, and I think this time I learned one of my most valuable lessons of all – to push myself to see and do new things, to dare to do less; and consequently achieve more. I now yearn to create less work with more meaning.
Enjoy the ride folks, because often it is better than the destination itself.
Do you prefer slower, more mindful travel? Let us know on Twitter!