I was born in a city but my parents always took me for weekends away in nature. When I was young, we would go picking mushrooms in forests, sailing on lakes and hiking mountains. Now that I'm responsible for planning my own holidays, I can't really decide if I prefer the city or the countryside. To live - definitely London, no discussion about that. But for a weekend - Paris or Lake District? I don't know.
This summer I had a healthy mix of spending free time in urban places and in the middle of nowhere.
Come fish with me
Were you ever forced to do something you knew you'd hate, but when you eventually did it - you actually liked it? How do you admit that you were wrong and the person convincing you to try it was right? It is damn hard.
It happened to me just a couple of months ago. My boyfriend convinced me to go fishing with him and his mates. I've hated every minute of shopping for fishing tackle essentials screw facing like a mean Disney princess. Strolling down a warehouse full of fish armour to create the perfect fish murder weapon didn't promise the peace of the lake that we would experience later.
My waders proved to be more comfortable than most of my dresses and heels. All fishing tackle reels and rods made a handsome weapon. Not as heavy as it seems. And finally, fishing is not like hunting at all. We weren't like Robert Baratheon hunting for deer and bears; for a weekend we transformed into Tibetan monks staring in the water to become enlightened.
Ladies, if your men want to take you for a romantic fishing getaway, make sure to read my Girlfriend's Guide to Fishing first. It's less muck, more Zen than you expect!
An Instagram is worth a thousand words
I had a surprisingly good time without leaving London too. Recently, I got a brand new phone. A lot smarter than the previous one. The oldie could barely load two apps at a time. The new phone takes photos, videos, vines without a second of hesitation.
A little project of mine was born in less than 2 minutes. I'm a big cycling enthusiast and London is full of bikes. When my bike was getting repaired, I had more time to walk and admire all these gorgeous bikes parked in the streets. After spotting 3 particularly pretty bikes, I started an Instagram and tumblr Bikes Of London where I upload photos of bikes I encounter. It is very simple. Some of my friends call it too simple and "not creative enough", but I enjoy it a lot! Soon, cyclists will take over London. RIP buses. Beware cab drivers, you're next.
However, a nifty smartphone provides not only a boost of creativity, but a distraction. Last week, I went for a run in Regent's Park and took photos of flowers instead. My run took 20 minutes, but flower photography 40 minutes. Because I'm fit like that!
And the winner is...
Perhaps, my dilemma shouldn't be about choosing to spend my free time in cities or countryside but whether to enjoy it with or without technology. When you see a beautiful place, it hurts not to have a camera on you to snap a photo of it. But when your phone is locked far away in the car and all you have is a fishing rod and lake in front of you, you can let your mind go.
You can make up stories about clouds with shapes of animals and pretend that trees are alive and imagine what they dream of.