Hi, My name is Elsa currently a student at the University of Bristol.
My challenge
Spend an hour outside in nature each day

Hello everyone, My name is Elsa. This is my first post 🙂

My challenge is to spend an hour each day in nature. I chose this challenge because I previously was assigned to take 2 hours to walk in nature as part of my lecture task. I feel different since then, I paid attention to details, and it was terrific. Thus, I decided to do it every day and see what would happen each day.

Day 1 – We’re not that close.

I’ve planned my walk for that day; I want to go to my favourite spot, the harbourside. But when I get out of my dorm gate, a new idea comes to my mind. What if I just follow the sign of nature for this day. I want to see where they bring me to. It happened, at the gate, I saw a seagull sitting on top of a pole, and I tried to communicate telepathically with him (or her). I asked, “can you recommend where should I go? please just point it with your beak.” I’m not sure if my message arrived at him, but I see he pointed in a specific direction. The problem is, it was the opposite direction of the harbourside, quite a dilemma for me. I really wanted to go to the harbourside. Then I concluded that maybe because this was my first day, the communication didn’t work well. So, I decided to go to harborside as planned. I said sorry to the seagull. “I’m really sorry. I think we’re not that close. Let’s try it out another day.”

Day 2 – You’re really nice 🙂

Day 2 is not a really good day for me (mentally), but since I committed to walking, I have to. I called my friend, she was at Brandon Hill that time, so I decided to meet her and spend an hour there. The walking part is not easy for me anyway; I walk while on a call with my friend. I didn’t expect the path to Brandon Hill (via a small track near Brunel House, which later I found named Brandon Steep) to be so hilly. But I kept walking while on call, even when I felt like I ran out of breath. Once I see the green view in front of me, all of that feeling of mad and tired suddenly gone (sound cheesy but true). I was just amazed. I wondered how can nature can calm someone down without even trying. I found a swing and decided to ride it. The swing, the wind and the view, they calmed me down. They’re really nice.

Day 3 – I want to know you better.

It was raining on day 3. I took a walk after the weekly CChallenge meeting. The conversation I had with my breakout group and the whole group was really inspirational; I wrote ‘motivated’ at the end of the meeting when Leonie asked what we felt after the sharing session. I took a walk to castle park on that day and tried to see the point of my challenge. I really focus on making a connection with nature in my walk. I try to speak with them. I started my telepathic conversation with trees, water, and flowers, but they did not seem to join. But I’m not losing hope; I’ll come again and start another conversation. 

Day 4 – Traumatized girl.

It was a sunny day, finally. My friend texted me and asked me to join her to go to Brandon Hill. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of Brandon Hill because there are creatures that scared me there, the dogs, many of them.

Disclaimer: I grew up in a place where dogs were not treated as friends or pets. They were a guard, lived outside the house, and protected the owner. They barked or even chased basically everyone walking near their area. They’re scary; they really are. I was once chased by my neighbour’s dog when having a morning walk. I fell and hurt my knee. It was a very traumatic experience. I’ve been terrified of dogs since then.

So, back to day 4, I agreed to go to Brandon Hill because I believe  my friend would at least protect me from dogs. Everything ran smoothly until I sat on the bench alone while my friend was busy interacting with magpies. From a distance, I saw a dog, at high speed, run toward me. My heart rate increased. I was afraid and didn’t know where to go. I used my last shield- pray. I prayed to God so that the dog wouldn’t bite me. As it got closer, the dog went slower, and I could see he carried something in his mouth, a twig ( I assumed he picked out somewhere). My fear was suddenly disappeared when the dog stopped, looking at me with his lovely eyes. He gave me the twig and looked at me with the “I’m so cute, I’m not scary, so let’s play” look. I really wanted to, but my body responded the other way. I stayed still; the dog took the twig and moved closer, again with the look. But I was still traumatized; I moved both of my legs up to the bench. I was frightened but was smiling too. I didn’t know what kind of feeling was that. Then the owner called the dog, he left me. It took me a while to process the feeling.

Day 5 – I missed you

It’s day 5. I missed two things today: the dog I saw yesterday and the harbourside. I kept thinking about the dog; I wanted to see him again, but I was still afraid to go to Brandon Hill by myself. So, I decided to go to the harbourside as it’s also been 4 days since I’m not going there. Today was a sunny day; the water reflected the blue sky, what a wonderful view. I tried to make eye contact with every dog I met; I saw them differently today. I see them as friendly creatures today (and hopefully afterwards). I wanted to thank yesterday’s dog, I wish I had his telepathic number.