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Will you join me on this new adventure?

It may seem bold to write a guidebook and to speak in front of audiences. It can feel scary too. This is new ground for me. I tread with care and curiosity, I feel excitement and trepidation. It’s like being on a new adventure.


A woman standing outside in the sun holding walking poles
Photo by Ilaria Petrucci

I grew up on a farm which felt tucked away from the rest of the world. When I was little, it was the only place where I wanted to be. I just wanted to play outside, write stories and cuddle our beautiful dogs. Although I enjoyed learning, I felt so uncomfortable going to school where I was prompted to speak up and read out loud, and to dance classes where I was encouraged to perform. I didn’t want to be seen or heard by teachers or get into any trouble. I didn’t fully experience the privileges of learning because I was too frightened of getting it wrong and being punished. I was a kid that hid as much as I possibly could, and sometimes it seemed to work for me. 


I carried this with me into adult life. At University I hid in my room a lot and dreaded giving presentations. In workplaces I felt constant anxiety about the phone ringing and much preferred being in front of a computer than people. In London I could feel invisible - just another commuter travelling between home and work.


On occasions when I did decide to speak up about things that were important to me or felt unjust, it took all of my strength to do so. It felt like an enormous push. These instances were often met with dismissal. It seemed like no one really listened or cared, which made me want to hide away again and even more terrified of speaking. My confidence was being chipped away and sometimes I couldn’t face leaving my home.


How on earth can this cycle be broken?


For me it began with finding a safe space to express myself with a wonderful coach, Lucia. With her gentle and nurturing facilitation, the hidden parts of myself began to unfurl. I rediscovered my love of walking, sharing outdoor spaces with others, and exploring new places through a blend of history, mutual curiosity and spontaneity. 


Making these simple changes in my life were hugely impactful and made such a positive difference that I felt willing and able to get up in front of an audience to share my experience of working with Lucia. I was very nervous and I remember that my lips and hands were trembling, but I felt empowered to speak up because I knew that she could help others too. I remember being received warmly by the audience afterwards, people approached me and thanked me. For the first time in my life I felt a sense of connection through speaking up.


Connection is the reason that I’ve written a book and why I’m now choosing to speak in front of audiences. These opportunities came through it and will lead to more of it - connection with landscape, nature and each other. Through the iconic lens of Kinder Scout, my aim is to bring people together, to encourage you to unfurl your own creative expression in environments that feel safe and with people who will listen, and to celebrate both the restoration of landscape and of our unique selves through attentive care.


I’m not an expert on Kinder Scout or writing guidebooks. This isn’t what I want to talk about. I’m here learning with you, seeking new pathways, and creating community. This is what I’m here to share.


Speaking from my heart to yours, it doesn’t feel anywhere near as scary. I reach out my hand and ask you - will you join me on this new adventure?


 

Check for events here and take a look at my guidebook - Mountain Walks Kinder Scout. If you'd like to respond to this blog post please email: sarah@sarahventurer.com.


With thanks to Ilaria Petrucci for the photos.

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