Inward Adventures asks a friend what inspires them and how their journey led them in to the outdoors.
Inward Adventures knows, and works with, some amazing people and organisations.
It is always fascinating to find out more about the people we share our courses, work and Adventures with, and discover what and who really inspires them and how they discovered their interest and passions within the outdoors and natural environment.
In this month's blog post we ask Robin Fox from Wilderfox about his story and what got him in to the amazing outdoors and natural environment.
A few weeks ago Danny from Inward Adventures asked me the question, “ How has your journey led you into the natural world?”
The answer is far from straightforward but I will do my best to summarise my journey so far.
The first 8 years of my life were spent free range on a farm in Devon. I was blissfully unaware, but at the time those extraordinary eight years were laying the foundation to what I can now call a lifestyle, with the magic of nature at the core.
The most poignant message that I have learnt from my early years on the farm, surrounded by nature, both wild and tamed, is the huge impact that the first 10 years have had on my mind and memory. We are always mind mapping our situations but if you asked me to draw you a map of that farm, the house, the fields and even some of the trees I would be able to draw you a better map than any of the other locations I was moved to during the 10 years after that.
It may have just been the way it was in those days but I was allowed to roam free and explore over the 120 acres from a very young age. We had 8 cats, 3 donkeys, cows, sheep, goats, geese, ducks, chickens, a 'pet' squirrel called Charlie, a white rabbit and the obligatory bull that I would visit often in his pen and lock eyes with for what seemed like hours.
The first 10 years hold stronger memories than the last 30.
I left the farm as a result of divorce and the natural world drifted further and further away from my daily life as the years moved on. I left Devon in my early twenties and ended up becoming a full time magician! I became a member of the magic circle and worked all over the world performing for many high profile clients with no desire to return to the Shire whatsoever. Although I was leading an extraordinary life in this 'magical' world there was something missing and it was causing me great anxiety.
My return to the Shire was triggered by my Father's demise. He was very sick and I was visiting Devon on a regular basis. One sunny afternoon, while walking past an estate agent, I noticed a property for sale that swept me away. I bought it on a whim and moved back to Devon. This was the reunion with nature that I had been subconciouly craving for and I had no idea how it was going to positivly affect the rest of my life.
I started walking my Dad's dog in local forests, noticing different trees, various plants, the sounds and smells of nature that I could feel trigger a deep human connection. My sences started to heighten and I could feel myself waking up out of some kind of deep sleep.
When I was out in nature I could feel a kind of magic and was able to see it too. People talk about the 'Magic of Nature' and it would be hypercritical of me as a Magician not to embrace this in its entirety, so that is exactly what I did!
I started to study with basic tree and plant identification books and then decided to look for some kind of course... cue a Google search for “forest school weekend course”
Now, there is a massive point here. I spent the first chapter of life surrounded by nature but I didn't have any education in it. I didn't know my Hazel from my Hawthorn or know the way to tell the difference between a Horse and Sweet Chestnut apart from their nuts. All I really had was a feeling.
So, back to Google!
I found what I thought was a 'weekend forest course' and after paying a bit more than I was expecting and filling out a lenghtly form I was accepted.
When I found myself in a classroom with only 5 other students, all from schools, I started to wonder what sort of course I had stumbled upon and then when the teacher said he would now tell us all what to expect over the next 12 months I realy started to wonder how I had ended up here and it became clear as to why it had been so expensive.
I now had to make a very important choice. A) sheepishly put my hand up and politly leave the room or B) shut my mouth and go with the flow. What would you have done?
18 months later I became a qualified Forest School Teacher and three years after that I became a qualified Outdoor Survival Instructor.
I had spent the last 4 years surrounded by mentors with incredible knowlage and experience. I had studied the folklaw, history and the ways of our ancestors. I had a fresh outlook on everything, our history, the present time and my future.
I wanted to embrace it all and somehow fuse it with a 15 year magic career. Was this even possible?
I felt so much more human away from screens and couldn't help thinking about all the office workers that could really benefit from a break too so I decided to plan a weekend that would combine the natural world with new empowering skills.
I set up a company called Wilderfox and took various concepts from outdoor education, health, wellbeing and even the food industry to create a weekend course that gave guests the chance to relax, learn and feel inspired during their time with us.
The first year was tough but it was wonderful to see guests gain so much from just a couple of days. Wilderfox has been an amazing journey and we now offer a wide variety of outdoor services for both corporate and private groups.
The Wilderfox team are like a family and we all have a story to tell. This is probably why there are always people around the camp fire chatting and laughing long into the night.
Wilderfox delivers a range of fantastic outdoor activities, events and experiences as well as bespoke services for a range of customers. If you would like to find out more and contact Robin head over to www.wilderfox.co.uk. Turn off, switch on with Wilderfox and enjoy amazing times and amazing company in nature.