Sian Lewis, one of our new columnists for In The Moment magazine, is a travel writer who loves wild camping, being by the sea, and the perfect cup of coffee.
What’s your daily routine?
If I’m at home it involves a lot of coffee and writing on my laptop, probably followed by a climbing session and the pub. If I’m away I’m more likely to be waking up in a tent and searching out somewhere to go for a swim.
Where’s your happy place?
One of my happy places is Swanage, on the Dorset coast. It’s very easy to be happy when you’re by the sea, and I can’t think of a better day than a paddle in the ocean followed by a trip to the Square and Compass pub, where you can sit in the sunshine, drink heady Dorset cider and eat either a pie or a pasty (that’s their entire menu).
What’s your happiest memory?
When I feel sad or stressed I tend to think back to going off on mini adventures with my brother when we were little, usually armed with a homemade map and peanut butter sandwiches.
What are you most proud of?
I’ve just completed my first book, The Girl Outdoors, out in spring 2018 and published by Bloomsbury. Trying to write 40,000 words of decent prose is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I feel immensely proud now it’s finished.
What’s something about you most people don’t know and wouldn’t guess?
I get quite scared of the dark. I tell myself that’s a basic human instinct meant to protect us, but really I’m just a wuss.
What are you not great at?
Despite my best efforts I am not great at surfing. I can’t park very well, either.
What’s your most treasured possession?
I have two. One is the teddy I was given by a grandmother when I was born – he’s very dog-eared now from being in the wash so often! And the other is a dragonfly pin which belonged to my other grandmother. I think most of us treasure little things like this more than big, expensive purchases.
What’s your simple pleasure?
Definitely a well-made cup of coffee in the morning. I’m addicted.
What’s your ambition?
I’d love to make little videos of my adventures and travels. I’ve done so much writing over the last decade, I’d like to get better at telling visual stories about special places.
What are your hobbies?
I love to climb, run, swim outdoors and drink red wine (is that a hobby)?
What’s your current travel passion?
I love wild camping. Sleeping out alone can seem intimidating, but the more you try it the more used to it you’ll become. It’s the perfect way to escape and recharge. Scotland’s the best place to try sleeping wild, as it’s legal – you can even set up your tent on a beach.
What’s next on your to-do list?
I want to try cliff camping – sleeping on a platform roped to a cliff face! It’s safe if you do it properly, apparently, but it looks terrifying.
What’s exciting you about travel at the moment?
I think AirBnB and its ilk have sparked a desire to travel like a local – swapping museum queues and busy sights for the little bars and secret spots local people love. It’s like going to visit a friend and it’s definitely my favourite way to travel.
Why did you get involved with In The Moment?
I love the ethos behind In The Moment. It’s a hectic world, and we all need a bit of help finding our happy places both inside and in the wider world. You can’t help but feel calmer after five minutes looking at its beautiful pages.
What will you be covering in your columns?
My column isn’t about epic adventures or expensive country-hopping travels. It’s about the small pleasures to be found in new places and different cultures and the little, special moments you remember forever – a wild swim, coffee in a new city, the smell of campfire smoke in your hair.
What’s your top tip for living in the moment?
When you find yourself somewhere really special – a magical woodland glade, an empty beach, a mountain peak – turn off your phone, breathe deeply and focus on how it really feels to be in that place. The rest of the world can wait for five minutes.
What’s your next adventure?
I’m not sure yet – maybe another book? I hope there’s a new adventure around the corner.
You can find Sian’s column in each issue of In The Moment, and read more of her adventures on her blog, The Girl Outdoors.