Not surprisingly, when I turned up at work carrying a large bag with a roll mat hanging off the side, I was instantly asked by my colleagues where I was going. I hesitated before answering and ended up just mumbling something about going away with friends.
In truth, after work I was heading to St Pancras where I was meeting a group of strangers to catch a train to a random place in London where we would wild camp out in the woods in bivvy bags for the night. I was pretty certain that my colleagues would think it was weird. It wasn’t just that though (they already think I’m weird anyway), but I kind of wanted to keep it quiet…a secret adventure.
The event had been organised by Say Yes More, a group that was created by Dave Cornthwaite to bring together like-minded, adventurous, forward thinking people to try new things. This was the first meet up I had attended and also the first time I had used a bivvy bag, but after a great night I can guarantee it won’t be my last.
We all met on the platform – it wasn’t hard to spot the hiking packs and sleeping bags amongst the commuter crowd – and jumped on a train for a 20 minute journey to Elstree & Borehamwood. From there is was a 2km hike to a hidden location in the heart of a woods.
I found myself a nice little spot for my bivvy bag, roll mat and sleeping bag. I also slung up a basha – after 2 weeks of unpredictable weather including sun, rain, hail and snow, I was taking no chances!
The group gathered around a campfire. It was nice getting to know other people who, like me, are making big life changes and planning adventures and travels. I left with at least another 5 more adventures on my bucket list!
A couple of beers later and it was time to head back to my bivvy.
I woke up naturally at 5.50am to sunshine and the sound of birds.
The cool breeze felt refreshing on my face and I looked up to appreciate the canopy of green that surrounded me. I can’t describe how nice it felt being snuggled warm in my bivvy bag in the crisp silent forest.
And people wonder why I do this kind of thing?!
It took less than 15 minutes to pack my bits up and sneak quietly past new friends who continued to sleep. I had an appointment to get to in town. Despite only having a few hours sleep, walking through the hustle and bustle of early morning London as everyone went to work, I felt really awake and ready for the day with my pack on and the memories of my 5-9 adventure.