Last term at university was a time of readjustment and adapting, of figuring out university in England again and catching up with friends and course-mates, cooking recipes old and new, trying to find a balance between studying, work, fitness and leisure, taking time to spend with my favourite boy and keeping up with everyone back home.
But amongst all this, I prioritised adventures; particularly weekend adventures as that way it really breaks up the week rather than all the days merging into one. After being in Montana for such a long time where my real priority was to see, do, experience, enjoy (except for the work and studying that happened.), it feels odd to be back in Plymouth, wondering what I used to fill my weekends with. But, I realised, I don’t need to figure out what I used to do, I need to do what feels right for me and what I love doing. Which is exploring new places, taking a friend or two or my favourite boy with me as well as my trusty camera, walking boots and a few snacks for the journey. I don’t have a car here (and can’t drive yet – though, watch this space), and neither do the people I go on these adventures with so until that day, I am enjoying accessible adventures using the trains and buses and my feet and sometimes my grandmother’s old push bike that gets oil all over my clothes each and every time I use it no matter how hard I try to avoid it. I am trying to make the most of living so close to some of England’s most gorgeous beaches and the county of Cornwall as well as figuring out what Plymouth and Devon have to offer. Who knows how long I will live in such a beautiful location?
Anyway, to challenge myself to see more of where I live and discover cool little places around here, I have set myself the challenge to try and either go somewhere I haven’t been before/in a while around the area or do something different/fun/adventurous if its a busy week! I thought this blog might be a good place to share my adventures. So I want to share some of my adventures from last term to start with to inspire me to go out and do things during these dark winter months (especially since I live in one of the rainiest cities in the uk!) – I think it’s especially important to push myself to adventure as a student as anyone who has been a student knows; sometimes it is hard to break out of the university bubble.
So, onto the adventures and some ideas for anyone reading if you are searching for a bit of an adventure in your own life!
- Visit a friend/friends for the weekend – last term, I made a point to visit some of my study abroad friends who don’t live too far away! I had a weekend in Exeter where we cycled to Dawlish and back, a day trip to Falmouth for coastal walks and a fun time catching up with people. I got the train and it was pretty inexpensive, easy to manage and meant I could look out the windows at the pretty views.
- Take a train somewhere new – Living in America last year (where the train system is not as widespread as ours) really made me appreciate how amazing our train system is. Although it is sometimes slow or delayed or expensive, it is at least there and I want to utilise it more. Last term, I took the train to a few new places for adventures as well as using it to commute to work. I was grateful for those carriages that carried me around the south west.
- Try out the local transport – Living by the coast means that this was a little 10 seater ferry that took me across the bay – I have taken it a few times before but ventured on a 6 mile coastal path walk all the way from Mount Batten to Wembury this time. I have grand plans to try out Bigbury beach’s sea tractor sometime this year.
- Go on a long (preferably coastal) walk – As mentioned above, I ventured out on a six mile coastal walk from Plymouth, but also did so in both Newquay and Falmouth last term, with plans for more in the coming months! There’s something about it that makes me feel like I’m back in Montana hiking the mountains (even though they are just little old english hills and cliffs) which is always a good kind of nostalgia to have! And the views are beautiful, especially on a sunny day!
- Find your nearest National Park – This is easier for me than some I imagine. Plymouth is situated just 12 miles from the edge of Dartmoor National Park; a beautiful countryside oasis perfect for long foggy walks on Sunday afternoons or more challenging hiking of the tors attempting to spot a rogue sheep or some wild ponies along the way. S & I headed over there a couple of weeks before term ended at dusk and as we were walking up a hill, came across a very creepy sheep skeleton that had us run a mile in the dark silent fog (a bit of a horror movie scenario). But finding a national park or beautiful area to explore is always fun and a nice way to spend the day.
- Find a place to stay – If you fancy going further a field, finding a place to stay is key. We recently stayed in a caravan on the Atlantic Coast near Newquay where S’s parent rent a pitch for their caravan. It was such a cosy way to spend the weekend before Christmas. The wind whipped our hair, and we ran about in the sand, filled with that joy that one feels only once their feet are in the sand, the sea salt is in the air, and you take a deep breath in.I highly recommend seeking out somewhere to stay every once in a while to escape from the norm of your everyday. I have always wanted to stay in a treehouse or perhaps one of those yurts with the log burning fire as the rain falls down outside. That would be very cosy indeed!
- Seek out the best pub for a sunday roast – We still haven’t found one in Plymouth that beats making one at home, but in the greater London area, there is a wonderful country pub that we have decided is our most favourite, with a veggie roast being specially cooked, red cabbage included, and extra yorkshire puddings an option, where could you go wrong? Why no spend a sunday cooking up a scrummy roast dinner for all to enjoy?
- Try a new activity in your city/area – this is perfect for busier weeks where there is lots to be done. Be it walking to a different part of the city, trying a new sport (powerbounce is next on my list) or just going out somewhere dark enough to see the stars or the international space station fly over adds some spontaneity or excitement to an evening or weekend. I’m hoping that 2016 will be the year that I manage to regain my old strength in rock climbing (and actually go more often) – back in Bozeman, I always went to the bouldering gym between classes and build up some strength but not having anyone to go with (since my climbing partner moved to Israel) coupled with feeling intimidated about going alone or taking the safety test (lame I know), I have really not gone hardly at all so my resolution this term is to force myself to go because everytime that I do, I absolutely love it! I have found a nice group of people to go with now too, so hopefully we align our schedules enough that it can be a weekly event!
Weekend adventures always give me something to look forward to during long weeks at university and work and I can imagine will be vital if I get a full time office job come the summer. However, they do often depend on weather so don’t be too disheartened if it rains all day every day like it does for weeks at a time in Plymouth. Use that time for playing cards and planning or researching future trips. A lot of the lonely planet country guides are currently on Kindle unlimited so I am enjoying reading about Iceland, Cuba and New Zealand; dreaming up some adventures while I was stuck inside over Christmas!
Have you got any ideas for weekend adventures?