As an advocate of outdoor living, I do favour and remember the activities I do outside more than those I do indoors. At the same time, I also lack the frustration or sensitivity (call it what you will) to go full-hermit. I certainly don’t think I’d last long without human company. When the adventurer and presenter Ed Stafford spent two months marooned on a desert island he said that his most intense battle was with the ever-present loneliness. Keeping this in mind, I feel as though it’s important to strike a balance between an urban and wild life. Here are three of my favourite things to do in each environment.
3. Going To The Local Independent Cinema
One of my favourite things to do, now that I’ve moved to London, is visit the Ritzy cinema in Brixton. Whilst watching films you feel as though you’re being sealed inside an alternate world. You can close yourself off as the lights dim, allowing you to immerse yourself in the very collaborative experience of movie making. You’re treated to some of the finest work of contemporary musicians, writers, choreographers and actors. I love having those few hours in which you can relax, escape and ride the emotion on screen – it’s a quiet, memorable little journey neatly stored within whatever else it is you get up to that day.
2. Eating Out With A Good View
For me, nothing beats the relaxed atmosphere of a restaurant, with friendly staff milling around and well-dressed parties celebrating with fine food. The view is a bonus – it’s great if you can enjoy a few stints of people watching, which is one of my other favourite pastimes in the city. In a restaurant, it’s like you have your own private zoo, only it’s you whose sealed within the glass, while strange animals roam outside, wrapped-up in their business.
1. Doing Absolutely Nothing
This is a small confession on my part – my favourite thing to do in the city is unwind at home, having collapsed on the sofa, ready to slip nicely into a Netflix marathon. My grandma’s motto was ‘rest and be thankful’, which is a reminder that you need to work first and then relax. So long as you feel as though you’ve earned them those moments can be very sweet indeed.
3. Camping In A New Environment
For me, finding a forest or a cove with friends and setting up camp is no less rewarding than it was when I was a kid. I love the routine of building a fire, cooking food and then relaxing together under the night’s sky – maybe having a few drinks. Everything is so effortless the mood really creates itself. You have the quiet of the forest, the leafy, earthen smells and the simplicity of being able to crawl into a tent when you get too tired, or drunk. Also, there’s the added treat of heading home afterwards, washing the smoke from your clothes and having a warm shower.
2. Seeing A Wild Animal For The First Time
When Billy Connolly saw a dolphin breaching the water beside his boat in New Zealand, he remarked: “something about seeing a wild animal in its natural habitat just makes my heart sing”. I love and relate to that wonderful sentiment. I’ll never forget the first time I saw a wild orang-utan in Tanjung Puting, Indonesia. I’d spent hours, when I should’ve been studying for school exams, looking at pictures of this orange apes online. Then I spent almost a year anticipating that moment when I’d round a corner and suddenly see one of these beautiful, very human creatures in the jungle canopy. When it actually happened I was utterly overwhelmed and close to tears.
1. Learning To Scuba Dive
I can’t think of any wild experiences that quite match up to that moment of first walking out awkwardly from a beach and stepping down underwater in my scuba gear. The feeling of breathing through the respirator and watching my surroundings through my pressure-tightened mask was beautifully surreal. It’s as though you’ve walked onto an alien planet, with silvery fish darting overhead through slants of dappled sunlight.
Little Brother JACK (25) is the youngest of the Hudson brothers. He is an author represented by London literary agency Curtis Brown, having written a book about the Wild Swimming Brothers, which is scheduled to be published soon.
Jack also graduated from Northumbria Uni' with a degree in English Lit..
WEAKNESS: Anything edible.
STRENGTH: Paddle-sized hands.
FAVOURITE SWIM SPOT: Manta Point, Bali.
LIFE DREAM: Living on a desert island, surrounded by monkeys.