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Hi Everybody,

I hope you are all safe and well and coping with the mental strain that the current pandemic can cause.

I hit a block this week. As I was editing my hiking book I realised that certain info needed revising due to the lockdown. One of my themes in the book is to encourage people to get out into the countryside by any means necessary. However, in the UK we’re currently being told to avoid public transport.

So, if I published my book any time soon I’d get roasted for the advice I offered.

It made me stop in my tracks for a few days. Initially, I thought that the pandemic had put paid to my work of the last two years. I admit I walked away from it for a few days as I was uncertain about what to do. I reached out to my editor and she suggested to add another chapter about how I’ve coped in lockdown, to add any resources I’ve found useful and to modify the parts of the book that need it. She added that painting a message of truth and hope is important.

Whilst it’s true I’ve been out a lot less, I have adapted my hiking. As I can’t drive I’m sticking to streets close to home and I’m hiking in my garden. I’ve been aware of my thoughts and anxieties. Plus, I’ve done other things to motivate me to keep the passion for hiking burning, e.g. living a weekend off army ration packs as if I was in the wilderness.

I realised, then, that I had some material for the makings of an extra chapter. Before I knew it I had plotted a deeper outline for it and I felt more calm about everything.

The main problem is now when to release the book as we just don’t know how long the lockdown will last and what the aftermath will be. But that’ll be a chat with my editor another time.

THE FAROE ISLANDS

As I fleshed out the ideas it made me realise just how much hiking is in my blood. In recent weeks I’ve read travel books and watched hiking videos on YouTube. As good as this has been to keep me going, something more was needed. I don’t know how or why, but I used the term ‘Virtual Hike’ in Youtube – and this was a game changer.

Suddenly, I was transported into a world where the videomakers stayed behind the camera as they strolled up mountain paths and through valleys gifting me free views of what lay in front of them as if it was me taking the hike. It’s the best I can do for now, but it’s good to know I can go to a lot of new places in the world.

Maybe in time Virtual Reality will allow us to use senses like smell and touch in a virtual walking world.

Being in the real world is obviously better – and the days of seriously hiking in it shall return – but to be able to walk anywhere in the world from my front room is quite liberating.

DID I MENTION THE FAROE ISLANDS?

My favourite gem I found was this weekly virtual walking tour of the Faroe Islands:

http://www.remote-tourism.com

It starts at 6pm (Greenwich Mean Time) on Wednesdays. A guide does a walking tour of an area of the islands whilst pouring out facts to the listener. The unique feature of these trips is that viewers can control where the guide goes via use of the on-screen joypad.

WHAT NEXT?

So, from things grinding to a halt, I’m now back on track – even if there’s more work to be done. Having discovered the world of virtual hiking I’ve found something that will be a new hobby in lockdown and a source that’ll help me get the new chapter written.

I hope you’re all okay and that you get to travel to where you want soon. For now, I highly recommend you take a virtual tour of the Faroe Islands.

Peace and love, Everybody 😊