A few weekends ago, a group of six explorers embarked on their silver assessed expedition for DoFe. For those of you who aren’t from the UK, The Duke of Edinburgh award basically involves walking for a certain amount of hours in the countryside and camping and cooking in a campsite/farm of some form (some definitely better than others). I did my bronze Duke of Edinburgh in Year 10 which is just camping and walking for 6 hours per day, although the amount we got lost it was definitely longer than six hours. This year (Year 12) our group did Silver DoFe which is camping for 2 nights and walking for 7 hours. You do two expeditions so a practice and an assessed.
These photos are from our assessed expedition because our aim was to take photos using film as it was more raw and unedited than just photos on our phone, we couldn’t edit them down to suit how we wanted the photo to be and it added to the idea of going back to nature and never really knowing the outcome of something. It worked really well, the photos capture the memories that we had and the moments that could have only happened on the expedition.
What did I learn from DoFe?
- If I try hard, like really hard then I can actually read a map which probably didn’t come into any use because there were people in my group that were much better than I was. But it is a handy skill if Google maps fail when travelling
- Proper digital detox’s are needed. Like whole days without even touching a phone. I came back from the weekend so much happier because I wasn’t consumed with what people were doing on snapchat or Instagram.
- I still love camping as much as I did two years ago and it is even more rewarding after a day of walking. All this being said, getting into bed on that Sunday evening was absolute bliss.
- The greatest moments are those that are unexpected. On the Saturday night the farm that we were staying at was a series of fields and in the field next to ours there was a wedding taking place. I managed to capture a photo of the bride and groom who were just stunning and we danced to the live band that we could hear from our field and it was one of those memories that you’ll never forget because it was so unexpected and beautiful. At the same time there was another group whose boys were flexing with a gas can so that added to the amusement of the evening.
- Being outside is actually great. Whether it was just walking or having lunch in the pouring rain (perhaps one of the more negative aspects of the weekend but nevertheless added to the variety of what we achieved) it was so good to get outside and into nature and places that I would never see otherwise. The area that I live isn’t in a city but it isn’t in the middle of nowhere so I’m impartial to either urban or country living.
- When needs must, you can talk about anything and everything and if that fails? There’s always Arctic Monkeys’ music.
- Running in prep for the real thing really helped. Both mentally and physically in general but also mending the mess that my feet were since the practice. I couldn’t tell you the amount of blisters that I had but I managed to escape with only one or two blisters from the real thing. Was that the biggest achievement from the weekend? Most probably.
- You realise what is a luxury and what you really need in life. Going back to basics with food, cutlery, where we slept etc. just highlights the luxury that we live in. Even the act of camping in a field next to a wedding is luxury compared to how some people live and I think being outdoors really highlights how luck we are in our everyday lives.
Aside from going back to nature I wanted to end this post with an explanation as to why I haven’t been posting as frequently as I want to. Firstly, I haven’t given myself as much time as I would want to for my blog and life has got in the way – mainly college really and starting extra reading for my personal statement. Summer has begun now though so hopefully that means I can start putting a little more priority into writing posts at least, even if I don’t have bundles of time to take photos for them. I want to get more ethical fashion posts up because they’re so fun to research and they take more time than other posts so that is why they haven’t been appearing as regularly as I would like them to.
The other reason is something that I am currently trying to resolve. It all started when my posts weren’t appearing on Bloglovin’, it was a little annoying but I get blog traffic through other ways so I wasn’t too bothered but after it happened a few times I wondered why my posts weren’t appearing. Turns out it was an error in the coding of my blog which is a much wider problem than just Bloglovin’ and . Am I a coder? Do I know how to code? No, I am very much a novice and although I’m willing to learn coding is something that just doesn’t click. As I’m writing this post I also happen to be waiting for GoDaddy to aid my blogging qualms (pls pray that it actually gets sorted). A frequency of posting should return to my blog at some point with a higher level of photo taking and trips and of course my French book club posts which funnily enough seem to be the most constant things that are on my blog at the moment.
Have you done DoFe before or are you thinking about doing it? If you need any help at all with packing or camping then just ask! I’m probably not the most knowledgeable person about the outdoors but I do have some tips if you’re in need. There truly is something to be said about going back to nature, there’s a sustainability in this thought as well and I hope that it will continue.
lots of love, Eleanor xx