Image: Pixabay

Nature appreciation moment. I spent my summer screaming at every sunset, golden hour and beautiful views I experienced in West Virginia. I was lucky enough to spend 2 months sleeping in tents and running around barefoot at a summer camp in America. Waking up to the sun rising over the fog covered mountains (sounds poetic, but I’m being serious) and going to bed gazing at stars and fireflies (I basically lived out my Camp Rock dreams) made returning home and facing the cold weather so much more excruciating than it should have been.

Growing up, my childhood summers were always spent on a farm or by the lake, but for those 2 months I immersed myself in nature in a way I had never done before. Apart from necessary phone calls home to assure my parents I was still alive; my phone was locked away for the entirety of the summer. Instead, I spent that time eating s’mores around a campfire, floating down the river (over and over and over again), star-gazing, cloud gazing, singing, dancing barefoot and fighting off a ridiculous number of oversized spiders.

Such drastic swaps in environment and routine were bound to result in some pretty impressive changes, and considering I was climbing the equivalent of forum hill to get to every meal, I was thrilled to see my fitness levels improve. But along with that came better sleeping patterns, clear skin and healthier hair. I found myself more relaxed, but most importantly I finally learned how to live in the moment. My mind was not drifting to worrying about paperwork and responsibilities that come with the job, but instead I would be focusing on how to nail a salmon jump out of the river, right there and then.

Long story short, nature is pretty freaking spectacular, and I want with every piece of my heart to be back in the glorious Greenbrier valleys. However, until I can get my next fix in June, I’m going to have to rely on Exeter to fulfil my needs, and that means a big cup of tea and a lengthy google session. Who knew half of this stuff even existed?

  • Take a stroll through Haldon Forest Park. A mere 15 minutes outside of Exeter, and a quick google images search brings up some pretty impressive insta options.
  • Salt water cures all. A picnic in Exmouth isn’t out of the books just yet; a well-timed lunch with plenty of layers can be so refreshing. Plus, dogs at the beach make it worth the potential frost bite.
  • If the beach is calling your name but the thought of standing there for more than 5 minutes have you reaching for your hot water bottle, perhaps walking from Exeter to Exmouth is a better shout. All the views plus more, the exhaustion will keep you warm and your Fitbit will be thrilled to see some action.
  • I’m ashamed to say that I am yet to make it out to Dartmoor. This one’s for the drivers, but there’s probably a million different walks to take around the park once you get there. Walk as little or as much as you like, and you always have the warmth of the car to run back to if it all gets a bit too much
  • Personally, I aim to spend as little time as possible on campus, but there are some stunning views at the end of the paths hidden behind the Business School. 10/10 recommend strolling up during golden hour and staying for sunset.

There’s more than enough there to keep us busy and outside most weekends this term. By mid November the Christmas market will be in full force and we’ll be finding ourselves outside most nights to revel in the food and music, and let’s be real once you hike it to town and back, it counts as a workout.

bookmark me