Zahra Rose is an outdoor enthusiast, social media influencer and senior member of the Muslim Hikers team. When the temperature drops, she ditches binge-watching and hibernating inside for thriving outside.
As we go through the motions in our mundane day-to-day lives, we can often find ourselves missing out on the subtleties of seasons changing while our routines remain the same. Life and beauty never stop. Especially not in winter.
It was only last year that I realised that the biggest barrier to getting outside was myself. I thought that making the most of winter meant surviving indoors rather than thriving outside. Growing up I never knew people (beside dog walkers) who would voluntarily leave their homes as it became chilly.
I decided it was only right to try to enjoy my first active outdoor winter at 29 years old, but I was ill equipped. So I invested in some electric hand warmers, waterproofs, a flask and some base layers. My adventures started small, ensuring I had the fortification of a tearoom – something to look forward to. I would invite a friend along, and we’d make a day of it.
After two or three walks I came to understand that outside of the comfort zone is where growth and adventure lie. It was when my feet (or poor navigation) lead me off route that I truly felt alive, I was no longer fixated on how cold the air was, how stiff my fingers were, or “how long left?”.
I now see nature in ways I hadn’t even ever acknowledged it. Tiny glimpses of life in every direction, winter blooms, mice scurrying along, bunnies, squirrels, howling winds, teeny tiny mushrooms, snowflakes, the sounds of partially frozen rivers, moments to just sit, and observe. It was in those slower paced moments that I felt a sense of acceptance of winter. What a shame it would be to miss the stillness of it.
What was once a short walk became several longer more purposeful hikes – many in the company of like-minded people – Muslim Hikers.
When I find my strength to leave the warmth wavering, I remind myself that “the comfort of home is all but a couple of hours away, get uncomfortable, get excited and be adventurous, life is short”. It never fails me. Winter is not for everyone, but when the crowds are no more, tranquility befalls me in nature. It’s addictive.