Five Ways Spending More Time In The Outdoors Saved My Life

1. Perspective

As a young man I was excessively endeared by the various enticements and potential trappings of a high-flying career, social esteem and so on. I lived in dusty university libraries and counted my well-being and success in terms of the number of papers I’d published, the acclaim I received from my peers and the upward progression of my salary. Neglectful of my inner angst and spiritual disquiet, I was unable to see beyond the closed system of that environment and framework, much less know its limitations, until I’d made my first forays outwards and upwards.

I remember my first outing in the Alps as a mendicant or ascetic might recall his deliverance or awakening, or as a death-row inmate might his reprieve. Though not a religious man, to dismiss the moment as anything less than beatific and nigh on mystical would be to do it an injustice. I remember clearing the tree-line and soon feeling as though I’d been gifted a new set of eyes, ones free of the blinkers and withering myopia I hadn’t know were there until then. I felt like me, only better, somehow bigger, and newly armed with a tool and resource that would never let me submit to such a limited outlook and mindset again. The greatest gift the outdoors have given me, therefore, has been perspective.


Nowadays, my greatest pleasure in summiting a lofty peak, or even simply excusing myself from my daily affairs for a few hours of trail-running or cycling, is not any feeling of pride or chest-beating machismo, but the recurring insight which visits me there. From up high, I am able to look down on all the various hassles, intrigues, worries and woes of the working week with a new-found degree of clarity, a touch of irony, and a very cathartic disregard for all the non-events and irritations which I am often guilty of according an overblown degree of importance.

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