A boggy wasteland had swallowed the once habitable Earth.
I was to camp here for four nights.
With blistering, trench-foot feet I forced my mind to drift away from this place and the challenge I was to complete. When you’re alone, away from the chaos with only your thoughts for company, things can get dangerous.
I had gone to bed at 5:30pm without lunch or tea because the weather conditions sought me to do so. Hunger and hypothermia were becoming my enemies- ones I did not intend to keep close.
Fourteen hours later I woke, still damp from the constant exposure to northern rain, but this was like no other rain I had encountered before; it lingered in my boots, my hair, my spirit. Even with the skies now storm-free, the ground wouldn’t let go.
For the next few nights water became a blister at the back of my mind- sore with a pain demanding my constant attention. I- despite my darkest thoughts- was determined to use this pain for inspiration like so many great writers have. I was able to look through the haze and smile back at the farmers who allowed me to camp on their land, and who have a life in the mountains because I asked myself… how?
How can they smile on such a dark day? For one, they weren’t sleeping in a tent during a storm. But I realised they can smile because for some, this is the perfect life. Seclusion. Away from the nine-to-five stresses of a mortgage, bills, and a judgmental society. Every type of life has ups and downs so by embracing it we allow ourselves the freedom to live in whatever life we want.
Another how is… how did I allow myself to believe that there can be only one culture in a country? Even with the North/South divide, there is so much more to England- things that go unseen on TV, movies, or even blogs about travel- cultures secluded, but happily so.
That smile from the farmer unlocked another percent of my mind that can now see beauty and culture within culture. So despite The Moors best efforts, I gained something I couldn’t have gained if I did not have that pain gnawing at me physically as well as mentally to open my eyes and simply look.