Mrs van Duijvenvoorde: Oh, the places you’ll go

29th June 20

Travel has always been one of my favourite things to do; to me, there is no better way to learn about something than to see it and experience it. Travel also allows us to bring rich variety into our lives as we try new things and meet new people. As Paulo Coelo says: “IF YOU THINK ADVENTURE IS DANGEROUS, TRY ROUTINE, IT’S LETHAL”. For me, this has been one of the biggest challenges of lockdown: finding the adventure in the routine. So, as the summer draws ever closer and our minds start to drift out of the window into the sunshine, it seems important to reflect on how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful part of the world. COVID-19 has so far been a challenging time for all of us, one where we have had to adhere to a previously unheard of set of rules to protect our community and loved ones. I’m sure lots of us are anticipating a somewhat empty summer of cancelled holidays and postponed plans. However, despite the challenging nature of lockdown, this period has been a fantastic reminder of the awesome spaces right on our doorsteps.

“OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO.” ~ DR. SEUSS

Having moved here in August 2019, in order to take up my teaching post at Dunottar, I have really enjoyed this exciting (and predominantly sunny) opportunity to explore the local area and I have not been disappointed. Before lockdown I was aware of the beauty of Reigate Hill and the joys of Priory Park, but since lockdown I’ve discovered Earlswood Lakes, Nutfield Marshes and Mercers Country Park. And, as restrictions on exercise were slowly lifted, the exploration radius from my little Redhill flat slowly widened. With two long distance walking trails right on our doorstep and nearby gems like the Deepdene Trail, there is no excuse not spend some time working on our well-being, out in nature. One particularly ambitious Sunday, saw myself and my husband on an epic hike to Oxted and back, totalling 26 miles (great training for our upcoming Sports Day challenge!).

“WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU DID SOMETHING FOR THE FIRST TIME?” ~ ANONYMOUS

Now, with the summer holidays approaching and more limited opportunities to venture abroad, it seems that this summer for many will be a year to explore the joys of the U.K. Again, we are very lucky to have such a beautiful and varied country to explore, from the Lakes to the Peak District, the coasts to the forests the opportunities are endless and I know from the amazing activities my form have been getting up to already that our students will be excited to make the most of them. I want to encourage everyone to go somewhere they’ve never been before, explore a new location and take joy in the little things you’ll find. As Tolkien says ‘NOT ALL THOSE WHO WANDER ARE LOST’.

“CLIMB THE MOUNTAIN NOT TO PLANT YOUR FLAG BUT TO EMBRACE THE CHALLENGE, ENJOY THE AIR AND BEHOLD THE VIEW. CLIMB IT SO YOU CAN SEE THE WORLD, NOT SO THE WORLD CAN SEE YOU. ~ David McCullough

Recently, I read Mr Kokott’s blog on not allowing social media to dominate our lives or warp the way that we perceive ourselves. In his blog, he discusses how no one’s life is as perfect as what they portray on their platform and how the less pressure we can put on ourselves to look like we’re having the time of the lives, the more we may actually have the time of our lives. This is something I’d like to echo as you journey out on your summer adventures. Remember, this is your experience. No photo can capture what you can see or the way you feel. Take the time to have meaningful conversations with friends and family or listen to the sounds of nature or appreciate the natural beauty around you. And wherever you go, whether near or far, abroad or at home: ‘TAKE ONLY MEMORIES, LEAVE ONLY FOOTSTEPS’- Chief Seattle

Enjoy the last week of school and have a lovely summer holiday.

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