The mountains are calling, but you can’t pick up the phone! Whether you are self-isolating, social distancing or in full-on quarantine, if you are an outdoor enthusiast, you are probably already struggling with itchy feet. Welcome to the club! Read on for inspiring ideas for outdoorsy things to do at home and find solutions to stay adventurous despite being stuck indoors.
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If like me, you are stuck inside these days, it can be quite challenging to find ways to be your outdoorsy self. I live in a tenement flat on the third floor rather than a house with a back garden, so my outdoors time is currently limited to the few times a week, I pop out to the shops.
While I still go for small runs and bike rides in nearby parks in Glasgow, what I really miss is escaping the city, swapping urban landscapes for mountains, beaches and forests.
What I love about outdoorsy activities is neither just the physical challenge nor only the fact that I am surrounded by nature – it is a mix of both, the active and the mindful aspect of moving through nature.
With that in mind, I thought about ways in which I can keep active indoors during these unprecedented time and put together a list of ten outdoorsy things to do at home.
And by the way: All of these activities are something you could do with your usual hiking gang. Or you could try playing a game on Zoom – for example, guessing which map section the other person is holding up, Munro bingo or outdoor activity charades!
Read adventure books
Reading books is a guaranteed strategy to be whisked away into another world. Through reading, you get to immerse yourself in someone else’s imagination or perspective for a while.
There is an endless supply of adventure books out there, some fiction, some non-fiction. They cover anything from adventurous travel stories to mindful nature writing and inspiring reports from incredible expeditions.
To the highest mountains of the Earth and the deepest trenches of the sea – adventure is waiting behind every page!
Go on a virtual hike
More and more people are going on virtual hikes and live-stream their adventures on Instagram.
Becky the Traveller recently climbed Mount Snowdon in Wales and Iona Adventuring tackled Scald Law in the Pentland Hills. Both posted about it on their Instagram stories and inspired me to do something similar.
All you need for a virtual hike is your usual hiking gear, a calculator (to do the maths) and some stairs you can safely climb (i.e. in your house or tenement building). Measure the height of one of your steps are and divide the total elevation of the mountain by that number.
The steps in my house are 16 cm each. Climbing 3 flights from the bottom to my flat, I’d gain 10.56 m elevation. To reach the top of Ben Nevis, which is 1,345 m, I’d have to climb 8,406 steps – that’s 127 repetitions in my staircase!
Maybe 2020 is the year, I will hit my Munro-bagging goal? Or maybe I will start with a smaller Ben first…
Take a cold shower or bath
Miss wild swimming?
I can’t say I do. Despite the best intentions, I just cannot get myself to slowly wade or jump into the cold water of a Scottish loch or the sea…
But if you go wild swimming regularly, you could resort to taking an ice-cold shower or fill your bathtub with cold water.
I even saw a guy on Twitter filling his wheelie bin with cold water and going for a dive.
And if you have a garden and a sprinkler – you know what to do!
Watch nature documentaries and adventure films
I’m a lover of David Attenborough nature documentaries at the best of times, but in times where the only wildlife I see is a bunch of magpies sitting on the roof across the street, I relish in these films even more.
If you have a Netflix account, you can watch endless re-runs of the BBC’s Planet Earth I and II, Blue Planet I and II, Netflix’s own Our Planet and a plethora of other nature documentaries.
I also really love the BBC’s “Wild” series – my favourites are Wild Japan and Wild Caribbean – also available on Netflix.
If you prefer adventure films, the Banff Mountain Film Festival has got your back. Since their worldwide film tour had to be postponed, they have decided to make a bunch of inspiring films available to watch for free online!
Check out their website “Adventure at Home” for a selection of free adventure films about climbing, kayaking, skiing, wild swimming, running and more. Plenty of inspiration for your next wild adventure.
Here are some more outdoor films to watch for free.
Get active with online workouts and yoga classes
Being stuck in the house doesn’t mean you have to be tied to your couch all day – even though the temptation is big.
Keep active indoors with workout videos and online yoga classes. Many of them are entirely free of charge!
You might also be able to support your local trainers and instructors, as many are moving their sessions online. My former yoga instructor in Glasgow is offering online classes from her home and the personal trainers from our gym have also moved their training sessions online.
It’s a great way to keep their business going and stay fit at the same time. By the time it’s safe to go mountaineering again, your body will be ready for it.
Nature sound meditation
Do you meditate?
Many people swear by daily meditation sessions, even if they last only 5 minutes.
When I’m out in the hills, I frequently sit down, close my eyes and just listen to the sounds of nature surrounding me. I hear birds singing overhead, a small stream gurgling nearby or waves rolling on to the beach – I find it so relaxing.
There are many meditation apps out there – I have personally only tried Headspace for guided meditations – but you could also just put on some nature sounds, close your eyes and travel to a forest, beach or mountain top in your imagination.
— Kathi Kamleitner (@watchmesee) March 20, 2020
Cook trekking food on a gas stove
One of my favourite things about long-distance hiking is the amazing food I get to eat – protein bars, quick-boil pasta, trail mix, freeze-dried veggie sausages with beans and sauce. Add a cup of instant coffee with coconut milk powder, and you’ve got yourself a feast!
I’m kidding, of course. I don’t really miss the food from the trail.
But, if you’re desperate for that outdoor feeling you might find yourself rip open a bag of trekking food from last hiking season, bring out the gas cooker and embrace the experience.
At the very least, it will make you appreciate your next home-cooked meal even more!
Open all your windows
If you miss the feeling of being exposed to the elements, I can’t recommend this enough. Open all your windows and stay near the window.
Cold? Put on a layer. Raining? Time to get out those waterproofs. Sunny? Put on sunscreen!
Listen to adventure podcasts
Just like books and films, podcasts are great sources of inspiration. They deliver bite-sized junks of adventure and often feature stories, people, sports or perspectives that you don’t normally hear a lot about.
Listening to podcasts is also a great activity to do during your government-sanctioned walk, run or cycle!
Camp in your living room
When all else fails, seek out the sanctuary of your tent.
As a long-distance hiker, I know nothing more relieving than pitching my tent at the end of a long day, climbing inside and shutting out all the bad things that go on in the world outside.
Hopefully, you can clear out a space large enough to fit your tent. Pitch it and then step it up a notch.
Line the tent with your duvet and pillows, bring a mug of hot cocoa, put on nature sounds to imitate wilderness and relax.
No matter why you are stuck inside, there are always outdoorsy activities you can do at home.
How do you stay active in the house and quench your thirst for outdoor adventures?
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All photos by Kathi Kamleitner.