No two days are the same for Ellie Cartwright owner of Wanderlust Action films. Since setting up her filming company in 2017, Ellie has created her job and life around capturing adventure sports for companies all over the world. Like most of us this year, our routines and outlets for enjoying the outdoors have been compromised, but also reimagined.
To celebrate National Wellbeing Week, we caught-up with Ellie to discuss how lockdown has reinforced her love of the outdoors, given her a new appreciation for the world closer to home and uncover the inspiration for her recent film.
During lockdown our natural playground has become a key feature in our wellbeing for both physical and mental health. For those of us who have already had a strong connection to the outdoors it felt limiting. For others it has presented a new discovery of all things the outdoors has to offer. A chance to sample that wonderful therapy we get back from our local environment. For the first time in years families are going on bike rides together or discovering new walks in the local area. Those who have never had the time to try paddle boarding have found themselves unrolling and inflating a board for the very first time. It is really positive to see.
Hopefully, as the doors begin to open more, our much-loved adventure toys are finally getting dusted off and prepped for action as we rediscover the values that we previously remember being close and dear to us.
For Ellie, who has filmed in some of the world’s most unique locations, she settled for a local sunset paddle on the River Thames just outside of Oxford…
“In some ways it [Lockdown] was positive because I explored my local area on foot a lot, more than I ever had done before. And that first paddle was appreciated like no others and will never be forgotten!"
"Paddle boarding provides us with a local opportunity to not only explore but fully immerse within the local environment. The micro adventure, after work bike ride and sunset picnics will soon not only just become another activity that we squeeze in when we have time but a necessity that hopefully we will bump up the ladder of priorities."
For me paddle boarding is a way to explore and see places from a different perspective. When you’re on the river you’re not a passing spectator taking it in from a distance, you’re a part of it.
What was once a grand, exciting venture involving international travel has now become more accessible and less pressured. Adventures from your doorstep have become enough to satisfy that thirst. The UK is home to a network of interlinking waterways national parks and miles of countryside which can all be enjoyed.
Post lockdown will be met with a passion to adventure locally, holiday nearby and support the British Tourist industry. For Ellie, it is the positive effects of her carbon footprint that have changed her perspective… “We all have a part to play to protect and conserve the places we enjoy. I’ve noticed the water quality on the river being worlds better than last summer - the underwater shots in the film show how clean it is. It wasn’t like that last year.”
Whilst the environment has been taking a well-earned breather for some of us especially for those who have been isolating alone it has taken a toll on our mental health. Missing that welcome connection with friends and family for weeks and even months at a time is a strong weight to carry. Cutting out the noise from our ever-changing media outlets is hard work and finding the headspace to calm the mind can be a constant battle.
It’s very likely that most of us will, at some point, have to battle some of those demons that lurk and rear their heads at the most unexpected moments. The great outdoors and nature have always been a strong remedy for clearing the mind and enjoying a big calming breath. Studies have also shown that spending time in and around the water can have a positive effect on your overall wellbeing, something Ellie has an appreciation for…
“For me, being out on the water is a mindful activity in itself. It is a perfect way to still your inner thoughts and just focus on being present, whether that is through the nature around you or the process and motion of paddling, one stroke at a time.”
Over the next few weeks our opportunities will be widened, travel will be given the green light and our lives will begin to feel a little more ‘normal’ again.
While at first glance, we considered 2020 to be the lost summer for adventures, we’ve somehow managed to take advantage of the local opportunities at hand. So, before we rush back to normal perhaps now is the time to stop, take a breath and think about which bits are truly worth rushing back to.