Close encounters of the herd kind.

When I discovered that my girlfriend Sophie had never had the experience of visiting the New Forest before, the plan for our day off was immediately realised. Sophie was staying at mine for a few days and since I had to work Monday, we really wanted to make the most of our time off on Tuesday. The week after week heatwave the UK had been experiencing showed no intentions of having a rest. It had been a while since my last visit to the New Forest (my last blog post actually, oops) and I was raring to go, to hear the silence, breathe the fresh air and seemingly endlessly explore. More importantly however, to share with Sophie the wonder of wandering these peaceful forests…

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Seventy-two hours in Bucharest.

Seeing more of Europe isn’t something I’ve always been desperate to do. To say it’s been top of the list of places I wish to see more of wouldn’t be completely true. My plans have always favoured those far-out regions such as Canada, Australia and Southeast Asia; far from the types of places one can just ‘pop along’ to for a few days. More recently however, I’ve realised how accessible and relatively cheap a short getaway in the countries of cultured and diverse Europe can be. Romania was never top of this list either, but after some research my friend and I decided to give it a shot. We booked some very cheap flights and a reasonably priced hostel for a couple of nights not too far from the main town centre. After packing a small case and printing our boarding passes, we were set to see what the capital of Romania had to offer.

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Wandering forests.

For as long as I can remember, walking through seemingly endless forests has captivated me. It’s something that I’ve always loved and continue to do so. Whether it be a short walk around a local nature reserve or an afternoon exploring the heart of deep woodlands,  wandering these ‘untarnished by civilisation’ areas is an offer I can rarely refuse should the opportunity arise. The root of my fondness stems from how my father and I would frequently go walking in the forest during my summer holidays in Yorkshire, right from a young age until these current days. We’ll take a drive into the countryside, find somewhere scenic or interesting and just explore. It’s as straight-forward as that.

The ease of opportunity is what’s so great about this activity; simply the fact that it’s often something that can be done spontaneously if you have the time and access to these types of land. What’s so wonderful is that it requires very little money or planning, just a few provisions, gear, a bit of luck with the weather and you’re all set. A few days ago, my good friend Alex and I both had the day off work and we both shared this desire to do something a little different and something active. I suggested exploring a little of the New Forest (around a forty minute drive from Portsmouth) and the weather was dry so we thought ‘why not?’. I packed my camera, food and drink. I shoved on some warm clothes and my walking boots and we headed out to the New Forest.

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