from Vespucci Adventures 
March 2021
Mother of nature!
We may not be out of the woods just yet, but it feels like we're on our way. With restrictions set to ease from the end of the month there is certainly reason for cautious hope. March brings with it the welcome arrival of longer days, the first of the migrating birds and the ever-cheerful daffodil. Spring reminds us that sometimes, change is good. Here's a few things to keep you going this month ...
Instructions for reading
your TrailMail

1. Kettle on
2. Feet up
3. Settle in


Outsider of the Month

Our 'Outsider of the Month' for March is the delightful Dave Manukonda. Dave is a brilliant outdoor photographer, and relatively new hiking enthusiast. We caught up with him (virtually) for our mini-interview and here's what he had to say ...
So Dave, what is hiking to you?
"My main motivation to start hiking was to overcome my Fear of Heights so it definitely means a lot as it's helped me experience the absolute beauty of nature and be more confident."
How would you persuade someone to go hiking if they'd never been before?
"I'd say it's always good and refreshing to find ourselves in the outdoors as it rejuvenates our mind and body from other aspects of life. Having said that the bonus is always getting to see some amazing views the nature has to offer. As they say 'The best view comes after the hardest climb'."
What are your pearls of hiking wisdom? 
"My advice for fellow hikers would be to slow down, enjoy and cherish the moments outside because when we look back, it's those memories and experiences which won't fade away. Also, it is always handy to learn some basic skills like reading a paper map and a compass, basic first aid and of course following National & Mountain Weather forecasts and instructions."

Check out Dave, and his amazing shots, on his Instagram at @davedventure

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One for the Mind, Body & Soil
Next week, we're giving you the opportunity to WIN a three month subscription to the wonderful Mind, Body & Soil 'subscription box with a difference'.
Each month, our friends at Mind, Body & Soil deliver a wonderful box to their subscribers, filled with a delightful selection of seasonal plants and produce emphasising the importance of self-care through plant care. A little bundle of joy, if you will.
We are very excited to be featured in this month's subscription box. So excited, in fact, that together we are launching a competition with the chance to win a three month subscription to these bundles of joy! See details below.
Keep an eye on our Instagram – the competition will be launching Monday 15th March and running all week. 

Hiking in Words, Film and Music
The Salt Path
'An honest and life-affirming true story of coming to terms with grief and the healing power of the natural world.'
Only the Essential
An intimate, first-hand documentary about the legendary Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada.
Rise - Eddie Vedder
A beautiful track from Vedder's soundtrack album for the film Into the Wild.
Stats, Facts & Figures

Over the past year, there's been a huge increase in people walking and spending time outdoors. You can't put a price on quality time outside, but you can put some numbers on it.
1 February-September 2020
2 OS May 2019-2020
3 Natural England July 2020
4 March-July 2020
Mother Nature:
A Brief History of Gaia
A closer look into the concept of Mother Nature, from its ancient origins to modern day depictions
The origin of the word 'nature' itself has its roots in the concept of motherhood, coming from the Latin word "natura" which can be translated as birth or character. Across the world, throughout the centuries, the idea of 'Mother Nature' has existed. Usually thought of as a kind of deity or goddess, depictions of Mother Nature tend to fall between that of a divinity and a human. From ancient civilisations, to modern day terminology, how have different versions of Mother Nature been perceived?
Ancient Greece: 
According to Greek mythology the first of the deities was Gaia, or Mother Earth, who is the source of life and gave birth to all life. Gaia is seen as a personification of the whole ecosystem of earth. She is always depicted as a woman, nurturing and supporting the planet. The Roman equivalent is Terra.
The indigenous peoples of America: Algonquian legend says that "beneath the clouds lives the Earth-Mother ... who at her bosom feeds plants, animals and human"; she is sometimes referred to as Nokomis, the Grandmother. The concept of 'Mother Nature' was that of a living being, and a nurturing life force. Similarly in Inca mythology, Pachamama was worshipped as "Mother Earth" but a more literal translation would be "Mother Universe". 
Hinduism: Prithvi is the Sanskrit name for the earth, as well as the goddess 'Mother Earth', sometimes known as Sri or Lakshmi. She is characterised as a mother and provider, with 'Mother Earth' being one of the five elements in Hinduism. The worship of the Mother deity can be traced back to early Vedic culture, and perhaps even before.

Modern science and philosophy: In the 1960s, scientist and environmentalist James Lovelock formulated the Gaia hypothesis, stating that all living things on this planet are part of a single entity or consciousness which he named Gaia. This self-regulating, complex system helps to maintain and perpetuate the conditions for life on the planet. The 20th century philosopher and historian of religion, Mircea Eliade, explored the symbolic links between earth and mother. He believed that, just like the mother, earth is the first object of attachment that we encounter in the objective world.
Popular culture: The universally acclaimed 2016 Disney film Moana features a fictional Polynesian  'goddess of life', Te Fiti, (pictured above). The film is, amongst other things, a parable about environmental care. With Te Fiti embodying the concept of Mother Nature, the film brings these beliefs to modern audiences. 

     It comes as no surprise that the concept of Mother Nature is so universal, and still remains today. The mutual 'life-giving' and nurturing aspects of both a mother and nature are clear. However, nowadays the veneration of nature is seen mostly through science, and research. The past mystical, mythological explanations for Mother Nature are no longer 'required' in modern, Western culture, replaced by science. But perhaps our ancient ancestors have a thing or two to teach us. If our view of Mother Nature had a similarly holistic, universal perspective, would it encourage us to take better care of it? Just as Moana communicates, does a more personified, personal view of nature make us more inclined to look after it properly? 

The Hikeu


We've been busy ...

With our new locations and new features, we're pretty excited to share what we've been up to with you all. Here's a sneak peak!
New Signature Hikes

We've got four fantastic new walks in some amazing locations
New Nature Guide

Each walk now has its own flora and fauna feature

If you have any particular feedback, feelings or philosophies about TrailMail, we'd love to hear them! Click the mail button below and let us know how you really feel...

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