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Everyday AdventurerChelsea Haden

By Leanne Downs7 July 2019

Chelsea Haden moved from the city to North Wales and enjoys stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking and yoga. She’s active on social media about her slow yet adventurous lifestyle in Wales and is passionate about encouraging others to spend more time outdoors.

Hey Chelsea, Thank you so much for chatting with us today. Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do?

I’m Chelsea, 28, originally from Manchester but I moved to Wales in my early 20’s.  I work in the digital sectors but I’m currently retraining so I can spend more time outdoors.

Have you always been outdoorsy? Can you tell us a little bit about your introduction to the outdoors and adventure activities?

Not as such. Sure I went to the beach, played in the woods, and picniced in the park as a child but those things I did on holiday or when the weather was nice.  I grew up in a city and was constantly surrounded by reasons to stay indoors – soft play, gaming, indoor swimming, cinema and later in my teens pubs and restaurants etc. It wasn’t until I was 20 that I met some friends who lived on a small holding in Wales that I discovered the concept of being an outdoors person. It was a time in my life when I was feeling burnt out from social pressures and fed up with man – made noise, I ditched my phoned on weekends and hid in the hills.  I remember going back home to the city and deciding a change of lifestyle was fast approaching. Skip forwards 8 years or so and I feel that being outdoors is part of who I am.

What is it that you love about being outdoors the most?

It’s having the space to think or not think in most cases.

You live in Wales, what are your favourite places to explore?

I live in North East Wales and it’s an undiscovered area compared to the likes of tourist infested Snowdonia.  I spend a lot of time exploring in the Bewryn Hills, walking along the Llangollen canal and paddling on the River Dee.

What is your favourite natural place to visit in the UK?

I can’t say favourite because I have so many different locations for different reasons but Carding Mill Valley in Shropshire,  Edale in the Peak District and Wasdale in the Lake District springs to mind.

Where in the UK would you like to explore, but haven’t had the opportunity yet?

I would love to road trip in the van along the Pembrokeshire coast – there are supposed to be some fantastic bays to SUP in.

What is your favourite activity to do on your own?

Hiking because it doesn’t require much equipment.

Have you ever done any formal training to help you learn any outdoors skills you have or are you completely self taught?

For hiking, I took a hills skills course which covered the likes of weather and route planning. I’m always learning to build on my map and navigation skills thanks to the OS website. For stand up paddle boarding, I had a few coaching lessons, and I was also a student for a group of trainee paddlesport instructors, so I picked up some tips there. Mostly though, I’ve learned by practicing and asking other more skilled people for tips and advice.

What is your favourite memory from spending time outdoors?

I have so many….  In particular, stand up paddle boarding along the River Conwy and estuary,  on a freezing cold January whilst it was snowing.  Apart from it being so beautiful, it was my first long distance SUP and I felt incredibly proud of myself for not falling in!

What are you three favourite items of kit?

My veggie walking boots – I finally found a good hardy boot which supports my flat feet.

My Samsung 9 – it’s waterproof which is probably one of the most important factors apart from a good camera.

My Bridgedale trekking socks – they’ve saved me many a blisters!

Do you have any adventures planned in the near future?

In August, a relaxed holiday in the Isle of Skye with my bestie and to see my mum. In September, a campervan adventure in Devon  with my other half and pup whilst I take my yoga teacher assessment. And in October, a 3 day hike and wild camp with my girl -friends on the Brenig Way.

What do you think is your biggest barrier to getting outside regularly and how do you overcome it?

Mine’s lack of driving! I get to do quite a bit of adventuring with my partner and I’m so lucky he can just about keep up with my need to be outside.  However, for when I’m car – less, I’ve recently joined a SUP social which means they provide all of the kit so there’s no worrying about how I’m going to carry it all! Also, I live very remotely which for hiking has it’s advantages because I’ve really taken to exploring where I live.

Best pub in Wales for warming up post city adventure?

The Grouse Inn, Carrog.

Are there any prominent outdoor or adventure sport figures who inspire you?

I’m easily inspired by everyday or unlikely adventurers rather than great physical challenges and near impossible expeditions.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into an outdoor pursuit?

Keep an open mind – try lots of different things and be prepared to try something more than once before you fall head over heels for it!

You can follow Chelsea’s adventures on Instagram 

Leanne Downs

About Leanne Downs

Leanne Downs is the content editor for Thryve and works as an outdoor writer, blogger and photographer. She loves hiking, hillwalking and wild camping.

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Everyday Adventurers
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