Ahead of the paperback release of Wanderland: A search for magic in the landscape, we catch up with author Jini Reddy, who, since the book's release, has been inspired to try wild swimming
How has the pandemic changed your relationship with the outdoors?
It has amplified my connection and I’ve become far more attuned to the weather and to the seasons. The first thing I’ve done for the past year is to check the forecast and work my day around it, so that I can get out, walk and cycle.
What have been the small joys that you have been able to take over the past year?
Birdsong, sunshine, bike rides and picnics! I’ve found intense pleasure in discovering local parks, nature reserves, woods I hadn’t even known existed. And spending time by the river.
Now we are moving out of lockdown, what landscapes are you most looking forward to visiting, or outdoor experience having?
I am missing the coast SO badly. The sea air, the walks, seafood, dips in the sea… all of it. I visited Lewis in the Hebrides last year and it was blissful (though the water icy!) so I’m hoping to find a cottage by the coast somewhere away from the crowds. Easier said than done this year. I’m open to suggestions!
Since publication you have swam more. How has your relationship with the water changed since writing the book?
I’m quite anxious out of my depth as I can’t tread water, but I went wild swimming with Ella from the Outdoor Swimmer team last year, which was wonderful! ! I really do need to learn to tread water – it really holds me back and our session gave me the desire to at least try to learn. But I have swum (whisper it) indoors, at my gym pool where I can touch the ground, for years. This is for Outdoor Swimmer so I am cringing as I write this!
Do you think the last year will have a lasting effect on how people relate to the Outdoors?
I hope so. I sincerely hope it will inspire people to value the precious green and blue spaces in our midst that provide us with so much joy and comfort and are equally havens for wildlife.
Wanderland: A Search for Magic in the Landscape by Jini Reddy (Bloomsbury Wildlife) is out now in paperback. Available at Bloomsbury.com and at all good bookshops.