from Vespucci Adventures 
December 2020

Making advent an adventure...
We are so excited to be back with our second edition of 'TrailMail', the literary highlight of everyone's month. In this festive feature we'll be sharing with you happy hikers some Christmassy tips and winter hiking bits. There's another competition to be won, and this time we've upped the ante. And of course the real reason we're all here, the Hikeu.
Instructions for reading your TrailMail;
1. Kettle on
2. Feet up
3. Settle in

Outsider of the Month

December's 'Outsider of the Month' is the lovely Sandy Martin from London, who's phenomenal accomplishments include being a spinning instructor, model, MS warrior and creator of online community WeSpeakSoul. We caught up with her (virtually) for a mini-interview and here's what she had to say...
So Sandy, what is hiking to you?
"Hiking is my therapy, growing up in London it can all feel a little tense sometimes. You rarely get a chance to just be in the moment. Going outdoors gives me much needed thinking time where I can just be in the moment and really take in where I am mentally and physically, it gives me freedom."
What are your pearls of hiking wisdom? 
"Always carry snacks and portable chargers for emergencies. Allow yourself enough wonder time so you can discover new things on your trails without feeling the pressure of time. Enjoy where you are and your experience don’t rush."
How would you persuade someone to go hiking if they'd never been before?
"Are you feeling stressed or tense in any way, do you want FREE therapy and a workout? Give yourself the gift of hiking.  We spend so much time doing for others, working or consumed and stuck in all the digital stuff. As humans we all respond so well naturally with a bit of fresh air, so get those endorphins flowing and happiness growing!! The happier and more relaxed we are as people the better people we can be to everyone else around us."

Sandy, we salute you! Find out more here

   Fjällräven Giveaway  
With it being Christmas time and all, we thought we'd get into the spirit of giving and offer you the chance to win an early Christmas present; a Fjällräven beanie! See details below.

Hiking in Words, Film and Music
Grandma Gatewood's Walk 
The story of the first woman to walk the Appalachian trail alone, aged 65.
The Way
Heartfelt father-son film about the Santigo de Compostela in Spain.
Sedona - Houndmouth
A folksy rock song to provide the perfect soundtrack for your hike

News From the Outside; Making a Splash for Mental Health
Wild Swimming has seen a surge of interest this year thanks to organisations such as Chilly Dippers, a mental health initiative aimed at getting people outdoors and wild swimming.

Wild swimming, or as your folks used to call it, swimming, has been getting some serious air-time this year. With lockdowns, travel bans and a scorching Saharan heatwave, its recent popularity comes as no surprise. But as the winter weather sets in, and 'going for a wild swim' doesn't sound quite so glamorous, the true stalwarts of wild swimming are revealed. These cold-water worshippers are the people who keep going back, no matter the weather. And if you're left questioning why they do this to themselves, that's a sign you need to experience it for yourself!

       All you need to find is a body of cold water, swimwear (or not) and a small dash of mettle. The beauty of swimming lies in one's own, singular relationship with the water. You can be a 6a.m-submerger, an in-it-for-the-long-hauler or an in-and-out-ASAP-shrieker, it all counts!

Doctors and professionals are now advocating a cold water dip as an effective stress-reliever and additional remedy for cases of depression and anxiety. SO if you're a numbers person, the scientific evidence is on the rise.
Chilly Dippers’ is a great example of how the forces of social media can be put to good use, a fun platform for wild simmers that goes by the mantra of ‘Freezing the body to free the mind’. With regular snippets of swimming inspo, the page shares all kinds of dip tips and titbits. They believe in the amazing mental health benefits of taking a dip, and in normal times organise big meet-ups in Edinburgh and London to help get people together and as they say, "get their kit off and take the plunge."

Want to know more? Then check ‘em out @chilly.dippers. 

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Vespucci Adventures · 4 Hanover Yard · London, London N1 8YA · United Kingdom