What is there to see on a walk?

We have recently returned from a few days away in Dorset to celebrate my birthday. On the way we broke our journey by stopping for lunch in a lovely pub in Somerset. The waitress who served us was very friendly and we got chatting, talking to her about our holiday and our plans to go walking. Her response was to ask, ‘What is there to see on a walk?’ indicating that she would find it boring as there is nothing to look at.

The following day we did a walk in the picturesque Dorset countryside and as I was enjoying the wildlife, the flowers and the scenery I realised how much there is to see on a walk. I wished that she had been there with us so that I could show her all the interesting and beautiful sights that our countryside has to offer. As that wasn’t possible I thought that instead I would share them with you, in case you’ve never been on a ramble and are of the same mind that ‘there isn’t anything to see’. So here we go, a few of the things that we saw…

Picturesque villages

Where we started our walk

Thatched houses, many with wisterias in flower

We saw so many houses with beautiful wisterias

Cowslips

Bluebells

Where we stopped for coffee

Deer

We saw deer on two occasions in one day – a single one and then a group of three

A kestrel catching a vole

A nuthatch

A yellowhammer

A wren

Rape fields

The footpath went right through the middle of this field

Cerne Abbas chalk giant

Thought to be a fertility symbol

Curious cows

Fortunately they were on the other side of the fence

This wasn’t a walk through the wilds of Scotland or some exotic land, it was a few miles across English countryside and yet we saw all of this. I must admit that we wouldn’t have seen some of the birds as well if we hadn’t had our binoculars with us – if you read my staycation posts you will know that we like to do a bit of birdwatching.  A good pair of binoculars can be expensive, but they are usually a once in a lifetime purchase. If you just fancy having a go to see if you might enjoy looking at our feathered friends you can buy a small pair on Amazon for under £20.

As the weather is improving, why not get out into the countryside and find out what you can see. At this time of year the bluebells are amazing – creating a blue carpet in many of our woodlands and the smell is divine. You can find some near you on the Woodland Trust website. You may want to take an ordnance survey map with you if you have one, but if you don’t try just going to a country park for a few hours. If you take a picnic you can make a day of it – a no spend day!

I must admit ours wasn’t quite that as we treated ourselves to tea and cake in Cerne Abbas – we were on holiday after all!

Exercise the Simple Way

It has been an absolutely glorious weekend, particularly considering that it is February. I love the sunshine and through dark and miserable January I can’t wait for the lighter evenings and warmer weather. This year it has arrived early. When it is warm and dry there is no excuse for not getting outside and enjoying the fresh air. And, it can save you money.

Leave the car at home when you can

Mr Money Mustache advocates cycling or walking and that’s all very well if you live near work, but for me it’s just not possible, particularly as I not only have to travel to the office, but during the working day as well. I have realised that despite this difficulty, I do live close enough to the local town to be able to walk there. We didn’t think about this when we bought the house, but now I realise what a bonus this is. We use the town for little bits of shopping, the library, GP, dentist, etc and it’s all on our doorstep.

Although it is only a mile away, when it is tipping with rain I must admit that I do take the car. Yesterday, as the sun was shining, I walked there and back, carrying library books and shopping on the return journey. Despite the good weather I had chores to do in the house in the afteernoon and so by about 5 o’clock I was desperate to get outside again so we went for a short walk. Until recently my step count has been abysmal, but yesterday it was 17, 455!

Free horse manure

Today, as it is beginning to feel like spring (I am slightly worried that we are going to get frost and snow at some point though – this weather is too good to be true or a confirmation of global warming) we decided to go and get some horse manure for the garden. A friend of a friend has horses and allows us to take as much as we want. It’s just a short drive, but then involves filling old compost bags with the manure, loading them in the car and then wheelbarrowing them down the garden back at the house. Two trips took us two hours in total. Lugging heavy bags of rotted manure certainly got my heart rate up – almost a workout I am sure.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I had already been for a short jog this morning. At this time of year I usually fire up the treadmill and watch YouTube whilst doing a short jog, but this morning I decided to hit the lanes in the sunshine. It was lovely, but jogging outside is much more difficult and the slightest uphill section kills me. It does feel good though when you get home and can relax over a breakfast knowing that you’ve already done your exercise for the day.

This afternoon we have been out in the garden just tidying things up. We are very lucky to have a large garden – 200ft long in fact – but this does mean that it you are at the bottom of the garden and have left something in the house it is a long way to go back for it – hence my step count today – 15,427!

Take the stairs when you can

Tomorrow it’s back to work and on some days my step count is less than 1000, but this evening I am feeling pretty good. I think the message is that even if you can’t be MMM and cycle everywhere every day, there are probably some days when you could incorporate exercise into your routine, even if it’s just taking the stairs rather than the lift, throwing yourself into the housework or pottering around in the garden.

I think that the sunshine is set to continue for a few days, so get out and enjoy it while you can.

Why I missed driving

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Some of my days are spent sitting in front of a computer, but others are spent travelling around, which means a lot of time in my car. Usually it’s an hour there and an hour back and maybe some shorter journeys during the day. Those such as Mr Money Mustache or Jacob Lund Fisker of Early Retirement Extreme would say that we should ditch the car and walk everywhere, but unfortunately my job doesn’t allow me to do that. Therefore I have found a way to enjoy my time in the car and put it to good use. It initially started with a friend reminding me about audiobooks which are available in the library, but then one day when I was watching You Tube whilst jogging I found the Afford Anything podcast http://www.affordanything.com and I was hooked. Watching a static picture on You Tube whilst listening to whoever Paula Pant, the host of the Afford Anything podcast, was interviewing was rather boring, but a quick hop over to her website and I found over 150 podcasts to download on to my phone and play in the car, all about financial independence.

Over the Christmas period I have mostly been working at home and it just doesn’t seem right to spend time sitting and listening to podcasts. I suppose that I could do it whilst doing some housework, but if I’m partly concentrating on something else then I often lose concentration and miss bits. In the car I am able to just completely focus on listening to podcasts; obviously whilst having my full concentration on the road as well.

That is why I have missed driving. I now actually look forward to getting in the car some days; planning what to listen to, downloading it to my phone. It is like a treasure trove of information out there just waiting to be discovered and it is completely free. It may not fit the ideal picture of someone working towards financial independence, but without my car, I couldn’t do my job and without my job there wouldn’t be any money to save for the future and therefore no chance of achieving FI. And, as well as making the journey more interesting I have learnt a great deal about financial independence from all of the podcasts that I have listened to.