Ah winter! For years I dreaded its gradual descent on my life. Evenings pulling in, grey seeming to become the predominant outdoor colour, and the cold that isn’t enough to make it worth pulling out the padded North Face, but is enough to leave you feeling a bit miserable.
But then I realised being depressed by something I couldn’t change was an unproductive attitude and I needed to shift my own thinking. This is a quick look at what I now do to keep those short day blues at bay.
The first thing is to embrace winter as it approaches. It may sound strange but I think getting a dog helped with this. I have to go for a decent walk twice a day and through September as the leaves start to change colour I have made sure that I actually pay attention to the beauty on my doorstep. That has led me to notice trees through winter more too. The forms are so different and interesting – exciting too when a storm brings one down. And what if it rains? Well I know I’m only going to be out for an hour and with the right kit on I just shrug and get on with it.
The other secret to a happy winter is a whole lot more exciting! That’s planning my escapes. I try for one that takes me deeper into winter and one that gets me away from it altogether for a while. If you really want to experience winter in the UK then rent a cottage in the Scottish highlands, or better still one of the islands. When you have thrilled at the sheer exhilaration of a gale blowing through your hair and trying to lift you off your feet then you have earned something totally different too.
The next stage is a last minute cruise to get some winter sun.
Now we’re talking!
I had the usual prejudices about cruises, I thought I wouldn’t be able to afford to do it, and I didn’t think I’d like the time on board. Ha! Now I can’t wait to get to the next trip and I look forward to it all year.
The first time I just went with a friend and we took the best price we could then spent ten days cruising the Canaries. It was amazing! The ship was better than anything I could have imagined, and there is something really exciting about going to bed in one place and then waking up in another. It also helped me get my head around which of the Canaries I like best. It has to Lanzarote for me. I love the gardens and houses built by Cesar Manrique, I love the alien black sands and moon like terrain of the island. And you don’t have to go far inland to find villages that hardly seem touched by tourism – or you can kick off all night at a resort. What more could you ask for?
That was last year. This year we’re off further south and we’re off to cruise Egypt and the Red Sea. I got seriously into snorkelling in the Canaries and everyone who I have raved about it to has said that the Red Sea is where I have to go next.
Can’t wait! So. My recipe for winter joy? Love winter for what it is – but then plan your escape too!
This post is from the fabulous blogging team at Imagine Cruising!