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dailyconnectionwithnature feature nature Outdoors slowlivingactivism travel

Keeping the trees alive

July 7, 2021

Visiting some forests is the most difficult thing. Over a decade ago we rode through Ae forest and it was the first time I felt a genuine hatred from the trees towards humans. It’s not something I’d experienced before and it horrified me, that we’d farmed these beautiful beings to the point that they felt this way towards us. Part of the promise I made to myself with this OUTSIDER blog was that I’d speak honestly about my experiences. Part…

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travel vanlife

Admiring the view

July 2, 2021

We woke in a glorious bird-song-filled forest this morning but there wasn’t any 4G so, after a walk, drove about 1km to get in range – this is the truth of a mobile life. Any life can be portrayed as idyllic through these curious squares, but the reality tends to be somewhere closer to the mundane that we care to admit. I suppose what matters is creating the life that best fits your personality, your flow, and way of being…

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creating feature poetry travel

Sunrise at Stonehenge

June 15, 2021

Woken early by dreams, I watched the sun rise, wrote these words: Sunrise at Stonehenge I sit on this van-home stepas the sun rises overthe prehistoric Stonehenge monument last night I dreamedI became the stones(I walked right into them / my heart was called) I search for words(in the voice of three crows)and they are prophetic: How well do I know my heart?How can this knowing serve the whole? The polarisationof light & shadow is a rough knotof wood I…

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books creating dailyconnectionwithnature Europe feature nature Outdoors travel water

Jumping off

April 29, 2021

Sending new words out into the world can feel like jumping off a cliff. You don’t know how it’s going to land, or if people will connect. There’s that lurch in the stomach as your feet recognise thin air, the last-second terror that maybe you should just forget all about it and go hide in bed. And yet we do it don’t we? We scramble up, stride forward; step off. Over and over: crafting the narrative, reshaping the vision, reconfiguring…

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books creating Europe nature Outdoors travel water

On fiction, dystopia and connection to the poetic soul

April 27, 2021

I’ve avoided using the word ‘dystopia’ when talking about the new book because I don’t believe it’s a dystopian novel. It is darkly realist at times and I don’t shy away from shining a bright light of truth on characters and events so that the shadows are revealed.But in addition to this, there’s many beautiful moments of connection, with the land, with other people, and with technology. You just have to be prepared to look. It’s also the first book…

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creating dailyconnectionwithnature Europe feature nature poetry travel

Where the wild lives

April 23, 2021

This poem was gifted to me by the land at San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, northern Spain, over a magical hunters full moon weekend back in October 2019. We parked on the cliff tops then walked and dreamed. A truly magical place in time. This is also the opening poem to the new novel The Madness of Sara Mansfield as I felt directed by the land to stitch as much of her into the book as posible.  The Madness of Sara…

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books creating Europe politics travel

An international book

April 21, 2021

My work has always been political. How can an artist create and not speak to the wider context of community or land?  One of the (many) reasons we moved into the van was in protest at Britain’s Brexit vote. We still very much feel European, and in times like these I believe we should be opening our borders to help those in need, not locking ourselves away to fight it out on this tiny island.  I wanted The MthR Trilogy…

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creating poetry travel Wales

In praise of our Celtic rainforests

March 27, 2021

Being back in our homeland of Cymru this winter offered a beautiful opportunity to reconnect with the land and trees here. This weekend travel restrictions ease and we get to explore farther afield once more. Here’s a poem from the Hanes poetry pamphlet in celebration of that. Also for my lovely friend @anjetvanlinge 🌿 #rainforest #celticrainforest #idreamwithtrees #poetlife #slowlivingactivism text reads: rainforestSnowdonia’s Celtic rain forest in Cwm Mynach (Monk’s Valley) has around 200 days of rain each year. rainfall tearsblister…

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Europe family feature feminism OUTSIDER women travel vanlife

Liset Van Dommelen

November 12, 2020

This is the first in an occasional series of chats with some truly wonderful OUTSIDER WOMEN from the road. I hope you enjoy these conversations as much as I am. Discover more of Liset’s work on her website here, or Instagram. View this post on Instagram A post shared by OUTSIDER [Sophie McKeand] (@sophiemckeand_outsider) on Nov 12, 2020 at 3:33am PST…

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Europe travel

Shedding skins

November 5, 2020

I’ve only taken three long-haul flights in my life: one to Florida with my daughter about twenty years ago. Then I’ve flown to India twice in more recent years, both for poetry projects. I used to think this made me uncultured, that I hadn’t experienced enough of the world. We even used to take most of our holidays in north Wales. It’s both crazy and amazing how we can jet around the world these days, but I’m also happy that…

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