HOW OFTEN do you put your computer into sleep mode after a working day, then continue to react to the pinging of emails on your cell phone?

Keep taking those double espressos and you will be fine. Or so you try to convince yourself. Time for a reality check. The British come out tops as the worst offenders for spending extended hours at their desks. It would seem that enjoying free time is somewhat of a guilty pleasure, there for the lazybones of society, or those snatching a few minutes from their desks in the designated smoking room. Sickness, depression, crippling back pain, heart ailments and mental health problems are all associated with overwork. The forecast, if you did not already know it, is Burnout.

Perhaps you are old enough to remember the days when we fought for a 35-hour week. Well, I have news for you. The average weekly working hours sit currently at 42.3, right at the top of the European pyramid. The problem is that for much of the time we do not know that we are overworked, and as a result do nothing to compensate for it. Work can be a toxic drug, where anxiety creeps up on us unawares, and before we know it, we are caught in the loop. My daughter sleeps with her cell phone on her pillow. Snapchat, Facebook and text alerts are her nightly companions from hell. It has become a daily occurrence to witness people stalking Britain’s high streets with heads down, coffee in one hand, texting with the other, oblivious to their surroundings. They ignore pedestrian crossings, walk in front of oncoming traffic, and then offer two fingers to any irate motorist who has nearly ploughed into them. As long as you did not miss that last text. That is all right then. But no, it is not.


Mike – Editor-at-Large

So here is the rub. I challenge you to switch off your mobile, or at least put it to silent mode, after leaving work on a Friday, and ignore those incoming emails until Monday morning looms large once again. Unthinkable, I know. During your 48-hour weekend stretch, take a reality check. Make time for yourself and the family. Plan a micro adventure. It does not have to be far from home. Breathe in the fresh air, and if it happens to be raining, sod it, put on a waterproof and brave the elements anyway. You will feel a whole lot better for the experience, believe me.

Essential Journeys exists to offer you an incentive to re-visit your lifestyle. We are not about challenging you to climb big mountains or charge down raging torrents in a kayak. We are leaving that to the big boys. Rather, we want to inspire you to re-connect with your inner self; to book that flight and participate in adventures that will leave you feeling invigorated, and wanting more of the same. We are here to bring you aspirational stories from home and abroad, hiking and biking, fishing and winter sports, nature and wildlife, city breaks, lifestyle and culture. Through thought-provoking features and stunning images, we will take you to places near and far where you can get active and forget about the cell phone and the iPad and the laptop and the desktop computer (yes, I have all of those, too), even if it is only for a brief moment in time. I am my own worst enemy, but if I can do it, then so can you.

So often I have reached the trailhead and turned left when the arrow indicated right. A path less travelled indeed. Not knowing what is round the next corner is all part of the attraction, for then you take nothing for granted. To quote Mark Twain: ‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.’

Now go and see what you have been missing.

Michael Cowton


Twitter and Instagram: @themaninseat7f