[This is one in a series of blog posts written by Charlotte the Intern. Tune in daily to find out about what she’s been up to, what she has been learning about, and all of the crazy things she does as part of the Manna from Devon team.]
Today I walked the South West Coast Path from Kingswear to Berry Head. I didn’t have to. I didn’t do it for the food festival or for Manna from Devon. I didn’t do it so that I could blog about it later (although look at me now, doing just that). I did it because I wanted to. Because as much “stuff” as there is that I could occupy myself with on a daily basis, for as many emails as I could send and as much as I love being right in the middle of where things are happening, it would be a shame to come all the way down here for two months and never really see “down here”. Because, as one of my close friends once wrote, “it is truly a wonder that we live among all of this beauty and yet so rarely bring ourselves to marvel at it.”
I now study at a university that was started by Carlo Petrini, the same man that started Slow Food. For those that aren’t familiar with the organization, Slow Food advocates for a number of things, but one of the most fundamental is the principle of finding pleasure, of taking time away from all of the things that we have to do to make time for all of the things that we want to do. It’s about disconnecting. It’s about being slow. There is a good round-up of Petrini’s philosophy here.
So, in the spirit of that, I spent all of today doing things in the interest of pleasure. I slept in, went to Alf’s for a big, late breakfast, and then walked the SWCP up to Berry Head. I resolved not to check my emails at all during the walk, to not think about my ever-growing To-Do list. I didn’t bring a pen or paper or my little planner so I could make notes of all I need to accomplish this week. I didn’t wear a watch. I just walked, and sometimes sat, and took in the splendor of the Devon coast. I saw some truly remarkable sights. And do you know what happened? I suddenly realized exactly what I’m going to write my thesis about, and I became completely un-stressed about all of the little things that had been plaguing me. By taking time to step back, to look at the big picture, literally and figuratively, all of that small stuff just melted away.
Days like today I just have to pinch myself a little bit. I just can’t believe how lucky I am to be in a place this beautiful! It’s a good reminder of the value of slowing down, of taking things a bit easy. You never know how treating yourself to these small moments will ultimately put everything else into a much more clear perspective. And now I’ve included a bunch of photos of my walk, mostly selfishly, so I can relive it all once more! Hope you enjoy the photo journey just as much as I enjoyed the actual one.