Challenge and survival are two words that have become very apparent in my life.
Since a young age I have always been captivated by and loved being in the great outdoors and where possible I have fully immersed myself in the beautiful world around me, doing many things that obviously make me happy. Being in the outdoors and feeling free is a feeling I live for and one that continues to motivate me throughout my life. Facing challenges head on and using them as a means of surviving has definitely helped shape the person I am today, with me continually seeking every opportunity to explore and find something new.
Growing up in the Peak District, England has also equipped me to constantly embrace challenges with increasing resilience in order to adapt to whatever nature throws at me and with that, I'm always pushing myself to the limits, in a harsh (sometimes unforgiving) environment. In the endless pursuit of achieving my own outdoor high.
Throughout my life I have hiked, ran and cycled, pretty much everywhere, always pushing myself to be the best I can be and achieve things I perhaps only once dreamed of. In all types of weather I have pushed myself to see what I can achieve and also enjoy and experience of what life has to offer.
Last year, I took on the challenge of cycling to work. I decided (after much frustration) to ditch public transport and chose to commute to work instead. At first, people thought I was mad to complete a daily round trip of 52km, but for me it was just another opportunity to be outdoors and do something I loved. Cycling and feeling free. Now I find myself 4,000 miles or nearly 6,500 kms into that challenge and still happy and motivated to take on more.
Of course, there are days where I have questioned myself, but I'm a tough character, determined in personality and phased by little, so after eliminating the initial thoughts of giving up, the whole endeavour seems to spur me on to achieve even greater things.
At times the elements have played their part. Cycling in driving rain, gale force winds and temperatures below zero, isn't always fun or more to the point easy, but for me it is simply about surviving and doing what you have to do and by any means. In situations like this it could also be argued that it is about the clothing you wear, as opposed to having the mindset that you just can't do it.
With that the very kind people at Haglofs have provided me with suitable outdoor clothing that allows me to enjoy my 'outdoor passion' in a way that the hard times are even a pleasure to undertake.
Their quality products enable me to embrace the outdoors and subsequently enjoy all that I do, in any types of weather.
Whether it is back in England, roaming the Peak District or my daily commute in the Netherlands, my challenges have become increasingly real and I have certainly feel the survival aspect, has become even more comforting, with the opportunity to stay completely warm and dry.
With technical clothing and equipment allowing me to still hike, run and cycle long distances, in the relative comfort of wonderfully made garments. Haglofs have taken great care in making outdoor clothing that are not only made from sustainable materials, but also materials that not only allow me to move freely, stay dry, but also look good.
Within this his blog post I have tried to reflect on some of the things I love and also focus a huge appreciation to Haglofs for providing me with amazing equipment that will allow me to enjoy and fulfill my outdoor passions even more.
I have used images, from recent adventures in England, Ireland, Germany and Austria in order to help capture the essence of my existence and my love of the forever changing outdoor playground.
These images shown are generally taken with my Smartphone, as I hike, run or cycle around in the great outdoors.
For further images of my life in the outdoors, you can follow my Instagram feed @garethmate where I aim to continually capture images from my outdoor adventures. Whether that be from my travels, hikes, daily cycling commute or my dream to one day cycle back to England from my home in the Netherlands.
I don't profess to be an expert at anything I do. I'm simply doing something I love .
Thank you for reading.
I hope to document a few more adventures soon.