Do you think explorers are born or made?
Do you think you’re born with a natural sense of adventure, or do you think it has to be nurtured for it to grow legs?
As a child, my friends and I went on little adventures all the time. There’s a stretch of dene barely a stone’s throw from the street I spent my first nineteen years, and as young nippers we spent untold hours exploring every nook and cranny, going on nature rambles, running up and down its hills, collecting pieces of broken crockery in the hope of being able to piece together a whole plate. We never did.
Holidays during my childhood were often spent with the Scottish contingent of my extended family (maternal side) in and around various parts of Scotland, and my late uncle John was a very keen explorer; he was what I would refer to now as a local explorer and what he didn’t know about Scotland wasn’t – at the time – worth knowing. He’d take my brother and I out to play in the parks, and walk up the hills, and generally keep us entertained while the rest of the grown-ups enjoyed some peace and quiet. He fed my sense of adventure, and I like to think he’d be pleased at the local explorer I’ve now become, but it came painfully close to not being this way at all.
For all my local adventures as a child and the fun I had on holidays, when I grew up and flew the nest it all came to an abrupt halt. The first couple of relationships I had weren’t with particularly adventurous types. My first boyfriend was an adventurer, but a ‘far flung corners of the globe’ adventurer, and after buying a house together at 19 years old we couldn’t afford that lifestyle. My second boyfriend was a ‘career goals’ adventurer who wanted to live and work outside of the UK and I wasn’t ready to take that leap. It wasn’t until I met Hogs that the child adventurer was coaxed back out of me.
Before I met Hogs I’d barely visited anywhere in Northumberland. That seems crazy to think of now, but I had no understanding of how incredible my home county is. In fact, I was desperate to leave it thinking I was sick of the place. Unbeknown to me, I knew nothing of it to be sick of! Almost as soon as Hogs and I started venturing out together I began to finally take notice of my homeland. I had always talked of Scotland being my spiritual home, but I didn’t realise what a complete injustice I was doing to my paternal roots, and getting to see Northumberland brand new as an adult meant I hadn’t had the chance to become complacent about it. I could see the fascinating detail that would’ve escaped the younger me, and appreciate every stone of every ruin for the wealth of history embedded in it.
I’m an explorer. I love seeking out things of interest off the beaten track. I love going on adventures and creating experiences with as little as a flask of tea and my lanky legs. Was I born with this sense of adventure? Yes. I like to think so. But without Hogs constantly fuelling that fire I wouldn’t be where I am today. I may have been born to be an explorer, but I wasn’t made until Hogs arrived.