Outdoor Adventure: Child-free challenges for personal wellbeing

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Kids of the Wild aims to inspire families to get outdoors into nature though it’s often hard to reach people who don’t normally choose outdoor activities in their social lives. I say this as a lifelong ‘outdoorsy’ person and nature advocate who is currently struggling to get outside for various reasons, including some mental health struggles in the aftermath of my daughter’s cancer diagnosis in 2017.

This round-up celebrates some of the incredible Mum and Dad bloggers who manage to take time out for themselves for mini (and some rather major!) outdoor adventures without children, from date hikes and spa breaks to church visits and coasteering. 

Adult Outdoor Adventure Ideas

Everything in this list has been tried by one of our fab bloggers. Check out the links to read more about their exploits.

  • Snow holing
  • Wild swimming
  • Church visits and ‘champing’
  • Night kayaking
  • Photography
  • Walking
  • YHA sleepovers
  • Spa breaks
  • Hiking
  • Coasteering
  • Ultramarathon running

Kids of the Wild talks about the need for us as adults, parents, aunts, uncles, carers, teachers etc to ‘model’ outdoor behaviour to the children around us (more on this in a future article as well as the reasons why the outdoors, nature and fresh air are so important to our human wellbeing). After all, how can we expect our kids to get outside into nature if we don’t do it ourselves, or don’t appear to enjoy it when we’re out there?

As adults, getting outdoors to enjoy and create mini-adventures for ourselves as well as for our children can be really, REALLY challenging. 

A great way to kick-start the process is to push ourselves outside our comfort zone and try something new without the children, giving us a fresh perspective on life, respite from the toils of parenthood/caring for kids and renewed energy for our future parenting.

Oxygen Time

I call this ‘Oxygen Time’ – the act of putting oneself first in order to better benefit those around us (read the oxygen mask guidelines on a plane – you put your own mask on before helping others; how can we be of use to those around us if we’re exhausted, burnt out, ill etc?).

Did anyone see the incredible breast-feeding Mum who beat everyone (including the men) to win the recent UK Spine Race? Billed as on of the toughest endurance races in the world, covering an epic 268 miles along the UK’s Pennine Way in the middle of winter, this ultra marathon was won by 35-year-old Jasmin Paris, beating the course record and completing the race in just over 83 hours. Extreme oxygen time! She expressed breast milk at the checkpoints for her 14 month old baby!

I can’t contemplate this level of endurance and determination, let alone while breast-feeding. Few of us will ever attain this level of fitness, and frankly few of us would want to though if you read on there’s one blogger well on the way!

Outdoor Inspiration

My own post on oxygen time talks about maintaining our energy for life as well as parenting.  It’s a great place to start an adult outdoor journey, with a list of simple, try-at-home ideas from walking and meditation to breathing, colouring-in and drinking tea!

Snow holing in Scotland

Last year I took the oxygen time concept one enormous step further (for me, though nothing like an ultramarathon!) and joined a group for a weekend in Scotland to dig and sleep overnight in a snow hole in the Cairngorm mountains. It was a pretty extreme choice, a massively extreme challenge and whilst I am happy I did it, it’s not one I will necessarily do again! However the benefits were immense to my confidence, self-esteem, physical fitness and general mental health.

Read all about my crazy Cairngorm weekend and how I coped by putting myself in my daughter’s shoes during her cancer treatment over at Kids of the Wild in Snow holing in the Cairngorms.

I can’t recommend challenging yourself in this way enough. Check out what other Mum and Dad bloggers get up to outdoors when they need a little time away from the kids. Some epic, some gentle but all outdoors and all rewarding and fun.

Church visits & ‘champing’

Adult outdoor adventures can be as simple as walking the dog. One of my favourite posts in this round-up is from Adventuring with Arthur, who took a trip (without Arthur) to visit some Norfolk churches under conservation. It’s a lovely, gentle and soul restoring read and introduced me to a whole new level of adventure I’ve not heard of – ‘champing.’ Yes – camping in churches!! Might have to try that one out over the summer! Read about church conservation and champing in Churches Conservation Trust post.

100km Ultramarathon to Avebury

At the other end of the scale is some seriously challenging running by Christine at A Family Day Out (obviously without her family on this occasion though they no doubt supported along the way) who completed the 100 km endurance race from Lewknor to the stone circle at Avebury on a sizzlingly hot weekend last year. It’s an inspirational read and I wonder if we’ll see her in the Spine Race one of these years?! Read Christine’s story in Race to the Stones.

Walking & Hiking

Walking and hiking are easier ways to get outdoors and these two inspiring posts should get you fired for some outdoor time.

Kelly’s date hike with hubby

Kelly at Every Treasure blog did a ‘date’ hike with her husband along the Irish coast while grandparents babysat for the children. Brilliant! It was a stunning 20 mile hike taking in the Giant’s Causeway and a shipwreck site, 10 miles each day with a romantic overnight camp thrown in. There was mixed weather but it was a great way to spend some quality adult time together. Read Kelly’s full post in Causeway Coastal Route.

Zoe’s girl’s weekend’s walking & youth hostelling with a spa break to relax

Zoe at Juggling on Rollerskates took some time out from her kids with a weekend away with some girlfriends. They walked part of the South Downs Way around Eastbourne and stopped over at a youth hostel before rounding off the weekend with a spa day. Fantastic time out! Read all about it in Zoe’s Ultimate Girl’s Weekend post.

Coasteering

I’m writing a post on a kids coasteering adventure we did last year on Cub camp but David at Potty Adventures did a full on adult coasteering day and loved every second. He’s normally out walking and advocating the outdoors with his toddlers so it was a real ‘adult’ time for him, on the Devon coast. Read more in his Coasteering in Devon post.

Photography

Back to something a little more gentle! Lewis, Dad of two toddlers blogging at Adventure Brown, did some fabulous photography training in Northumberland with some photography enthusiasts who invited him to Dunstanburgh Castle. Northumberland is my home county and Dunstanburgh is my favourite castle in the world, and what better way to take some time out from the kids than in a haunted castle at night. Lewis isn’t sure about his end result photo but I absolutely love it. Take a read and check out his pic at Northumberland for Photography

Night time kayaking

Annette at Four Acorns is always up to something inspirational over in Ireland and this is one of her magical adventures. It was initially planned to be done as a family but the children were too young and so it became an enchanting evening for her and her husband. Kayaking under the stars with sparkling phosphorescence in the water – if you’ve not heard of that, her post Starlight Kayaking is a must-read! 

Outdoors in the city

Finally here’s a great list of 10 outdoor activities for adults from Sarah at The Urban Wanderer. Sarah lives in the city and her list includes activities for the local park as well as further afield and back home in the garden. Something for everyone. Read more in Fun Outdoor Activities for Adults.

Next month I’ll be looking at all the reasons we should be getting outdoors more. If you have any posts for consideration please get in touch.

Wild wishes for another month’s outdoor fun, whether that’s with or without the kids!

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About Lucy Holmes

Lover of nature, the wild and full-time outdoor Mum, Lucy is usually found with a dog poo-bag in pocket escaping her messy house for the garden, countryside or beach. Mother of a childhood cancer survivor whose mini adventures inspire Lucy’s blog Kids of the Wild. Lucy is passionate about the transformative benefits of nature connection, lessons reinforced during her daughter’s cancer battle. Having helped set up an early Forest School and rescue 28 swans she believes all children can benefit from more ‘outdoors’, even when quality family time together is short.

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3 Comments

  1. 11 February 2019 / 10:28

    Thanks for the mention. Some great ideas in here. Well done everyone and great post

    • 11 February 2019 / 13:45

      It’s a pleasure, thanks for the great post. Hopefully we’ll inspire more people to get outdoors and have fun!

  2. 11 February 2019 / 13:45

    It’s a pleasure, thanks for the great post. Hopefully we’ll inspire more people to get outdoors and have fun!