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On perseverance

June 6, 2020

There’s something I love about the art of perseverance. Although we’re all born with differing capabilities I truly believe that anybody can get good at any skill with enough time, effort and perseverance. Personally, I prefer taking the longer, more difficult route to learning. When I’ve examined this I realise it’s because my philosophy is that if I can do something in difficult times/under difficult situations then I’ll be really good when the going gets easier. Surfing has been one…

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Still oscillating

March 18, 2020

@tinygiantlife asked today how people cope with anxiety and stress. When I’m funnelling it into healthy activities I become obsessed with learning a language, surfing, mountain biking, writing, reading and cooking interesting dishes; when it all gets too much I drink wine, overeat sugar/wheat until I feel sick, get stuck in scrolling news cycles, cannot focus on creating, and become horribly self-critical (who do I think I am creating this… Etcétera ad nauseum). This week I’m oscillating wildly between the…

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When I think of us

January 24, 2020

Yesterday evening we took our boards to the Atlantic and surfed with the sunset. He said, this is the most perfect moment. Laughing in the salt spray of the cold winter ocean, I felt it. The white light of the day gave herself over to panoramic orange skies as I tumbled again and again in love with him.  Love you @andyrgarside 💙💦🌊💙…

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Taking these emotions to the ocean

January 21, 2020

Taking these emotions to the ocean, I sit in contemplation or prayer. Scatter anxiety and feelings of inadequacy across her face like raindrops or tears. My fears lack the conviction to penetrate the shallowest of waters in this place where sunlight Illuminates in aquamarine or azure water as old as the universe. The ocean god exhales with wild white spray, a poem of self-love I had forgotten was mine. 📷 @andyrgarside 💙🌊💦…

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My new love

January 18, 2020

After more than a year on a bodyboard and sharing a borrowed surfboard, then picking up a cheap-yet-totally-unsuitable second-hand shortboard purely because it would fit in the van’s ‘garage’, as well as having a go on every other board someone might be mad enough to let me on, and hiring a couple of different sizes and shapes, and bothering everyone I know who surfs about board suitability, I finally settled on this quite lovely Mini Mal. She’s feisty enough that…

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dailyconnectionwithnature OUTSIDER Patreon chapters water

Sitting with the ocean

November 28, 2019

When the Atlantic Ocean calls, you must listen. Take off your shoes and walk. Have your feet felt so numb and disconnected? Wrapped in rubber and plastic their energy retreats into the solemn musings of the abstract mind. When you were younger didn’t you cavort barefoot in the dirt? Laughed as delicious thick mud squirmed through wiggling toes? Didn’t you squeal with joy with no care for the cold or the heat as the dregs of the earth clotted to…

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the blue whale is the water’s auteur

November 26, 2019

I wanted to say hello to all the new people who’ve followed this account on the blog, email and Instagram recently. Instagram is a place I love for its sharing, creative community so I’m grateful that you’ve decided to join this OUTSIDER journey. My name’s Sophie McKeand, an award-winning poet, and nature writer from north Wales. For the past two years I’ve been slow-travelling across Europe in a self-converted Mercedes Sprinter hi-top LWB van with my partner @andyrgarside (a freelance…

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Learning to read the ocean

October 22, 2019

We’ve travelled through Catalunya and The Basque Country, and now we’re in Asturias – perhaps the most biodiverse region of Spain. This coastline reminds me the most of our home country of Cymru with its wide windy beaches, rocky cliffs and dramatic outcrops. There’s something about the light here too – or perhaps that’s because autumn feels as if it tumbled into us overnight. Yesterday’s attempt at surfing saw us pummelled into the sand (hence the wet hair in this…

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