Why The Helpful Hiker Wants to Inspire You to Have More Adventures and Get More Confident

“Lead by example” is Lauren from the The Helpful Hiker‘s favorite theme in order to inspire people to go on vacation and have an adventure. Makes sense, as you need to lead by example to bring inspiration to other people.

Read on and find out why Lauren wants to inspire other people, why she is so obsessed with maps and planning – and how it benefits her both mentally and physically to have an adventurous life!

The Helpful Hiker Lauren

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m Lauren, a mum of one who loves spending time outside. By day I manage a wine shop and in my spare time I blog about the outdoors-mainly walking, camping and days out. I am also an Ordnance Survey GetOutside 2017 Champion, which basically means I get to inspire people to spend more time outside.

How and why did you get into adventuring and traveling?

I have always loved the outdoors, but it wasn’t until I met my husband five years ago that I really decided that I wanted it to be a part of my life. I was a relatively late convert to camping, but now I love it, it’s like meditation for me. We both love hiking and it made such a difference having someone to share my adventures with. Now that we have a child, it’s even more important that we keep getting out there and exploring our beautiful country.

The Helpful Hiker Lauren

Why is adventuring and traveling important for you?

I’m passionate about inspiring people to get out on their own adventures so I have to lead by example! For me, it’s about appreciating what is around us. The benefits to our mental and physical health are incredible, it’s so important to step away sometimes and take joy in the simple things. Also, planning and taking part in adventures, however small, has given me great confidence. I know I can plan a route, take the right equipment and look after myself and my family.

The Helpful Hiker Lauren

What has been the best parts of your adventures and travels?

There are so many highlights, but I think that discovering parts of the UK that we wouldn’t have found otherwise. There are so many gems on our doorstep, we all should make more effort to explore what’s around us. Also, the personal triumphs of scaling heights that I never thought I’d be capable of.

Firstly, in a literal sense, I’ve done hikes that I would never have thought I could do just a few years ago (including walking 50 miles over a weekend) and climbed some big hills! Also, the skills that I have learnt in navigating, planning adventures and looking after myself in the outdoors has given me an enormous sense of confidence. This has all come in the last 4-5 years so quite a recent development, but one that has made a big impact to my life.

What has been the most difficult parts?

For me, the biggest challenge is finding time to fit in our adventures. Also, we have had to tailor our expectations since becoming parents and that can sometimes be frustrating. I’ve learnt that quality is more important than quantity. It doesn’t matter if we don’t climb so many mountains these days, we are making incredible memories with our son and showing him the value of adventures.

The Helpful Hiker Lauren

When camping, how do you eat and sleep?

We generally camp in our beloved Outwell Montana 6AC tent. It is massive and a bit of an extravagance, but we bought it with some of our wedding money so I feel less guilty!

We usually cook for ourselves, either on a barbecue or on our gas cooker. We also have a Biolite stove, which we love to take camping with us. I always try to find some good local produce to cook, whether that’s meat, cheese or seafood (also partial to a local ale or two!)

The Helpful Hiker Lauren

How do you keep your little one happy while hiking, camping, and travelling?

I have a few tips for keeping little ones happy while hiking and camping. Firstly, snacks, snacks and more snacks! I also make sure that our son has plenty of water and is appropriately dressed. He’s only two so it is a challenge, but he’s now at an age where he’s getting interested in what’s around him. He likes looking for things, so we do little scavenger hunts and look for different colours. When camping I often give him jobs to do, like helping to collect sticks, which keeps him occupied and makes him feel grown up. Finally, he loves singing, so when we’re out walking we’re usually singing or doing songs with actions. Safe to say that you can always hear us coming!

What are your best advice for new adventurers and travelers?

I’m all for encouraging people to get out, but you must take responsibility for yourself. Make sure you have the appropriate clothing and equipment and always bear in mind that conditions can change quickly. Having said that, we’ve proved that anyone can get out there and do it. As long as you have planned properly, the world is your oyster.

The Helpful Hiker Lauren

How do you prepare for your adventures and travels, and how do you finance them?

It usually starts with me studying a map for hours (I’m a total map geek!). I often plan my adventures around a certain location or walk that I want to do. I love planning trips and spend hours researching. I find hikes, places to visit, places to eat and somewhere to camp. I almost enjoy planning as much as actually doing the trip!

Online research is good, but nothing beats personal recommendations. I always ask other bloggers, friends and family for tips. In terms of fitness, I work long shifts on my feet so I have a decent level of fitness, other than that the odd run and lots of walking is all I do.

I have a full time job, which pays for most of our travels. I earn a few pounds through my blog, but am lucky enough to get lots of gear and the odd camping pitch in exchange for a review, which helps massively.

The Helpful Hiker Lauren

How do you balance normal life with adventuring and traveling?

This is the biggest challenge for me. I work long hours including weekends, plus with a toddler and my blog I have so little time. I have to arrange my year pretty much in January. My life feels like a constant compromise, yet if you want to do something enough, you make it happen.

My adventures are usually squeezed into a few days here and there, even if I have a spare hour I’ll go out somewhere on a microadventure. When I talk about microadventures, I mean any small outings that we do. Working full time and being a parent mean that I am short on time, so I can’t always get away to do long hikes, so I make do with mini adventures. These are usually local, and can be anything from exploring a new area or taking our stove up the woods for a picnic. As much as I would love to be camping and walking the hills every week, it isn’t possible at the moment. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t spend meaningful and fulfilling time outdoors with my family.

I don’t waste a second!

What has been your best adventuring purchase below $100, and what other favorite gear do you have?

We bought a bucket barbecue a few years ago from a discount supermarket, and we love it! It comes on every trip with us and cost I think about £8. I also love my VARTA Power Bank, which powers my phone on my adventures (vital for a blogger).

I have 2 pairs of Merrell shoes that I love (Moab Mid GTX Boots and Siren Sport Q2 Shoes) and wear on every hike. I also love my BUFF and, a recent discovery, Firepot outdoor food has changed my perception of dehydrated food.

The Helpful Hiker Lauren

What will the future bring?

Over the rest of this year, we’ve got a couple of UK camping trips coming up, but I am most excited about our trip to Poland in a few weeks. We’re going to spend a few days in the Tatras mountains, followed by a flying visit to Krakow, before heading north for a family wedding. The scenery looks spectacular and and I can’t wait to explore the mountains.

My gear wish list is always lenghty, but I would like to find a pair of walking trousers that fit me perfectly, it’s alluded me up to now!

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