From sleeping under the stars to sticking her head out of a Velux window every morning, author, journalist and design commentator (and writer of our INTO THE WOODS exploration of natural architecture), Katie Treggiden tells us what nature means to her.
'Alive' is the first word that springs to mind when I think about my relationship with the elements, and how they make me feel. I think it's all too easy to get very comfortable in our cosy, centrally-heated homes and that creates a disconnect from the seasons, the weather and the natural world. There's nothing like getting into the ocean or walking across a windy cliff-top on a cold day to be reminded of the essence of life.
Swimming in the sea or in Jubilee Pool in Penzance is my favourite way to spend time outdoors. There's something about the cold water that gives me a hit of endorphins – and I love seeing the world from a different vantage point.
Second only to swimming is my love of camping. We've got a 1983 VW camper van and disappear off-grid for the weekend as often we can. Waking up to the dawn chorus, drinking your morning coffee in the fresh air, washing up under the stars... it just slows everything down.
The main focus of my writing is sustainability and in particular the circular economy. I grew up in Cornwall, on boats, on beaches and in the countryside, so I have always felt very connected to nature. I actually studied biology for my undergraduate degree, so in some ways I've come full circle. I moved back to Cornwall three years ago and that, combined with a Master's in Design History at Oxford during which I posed the question 'Can craft save the world?', has led to a real focus on what I can do as a writer to spread the word about those designers, makers and craftspeople who are really solving environmental problems.
This is going to sound really silly, but I do yoga in our guest room every morning, and I always start by sticking my head out of the Velux window and just breathing in the day – rain or shine! But carving out time for myself amid the busy-ness of work to recalibrate and energise is really important. I walk the dog every day around our tiny village – the hedgerows in spring are sensational. And I try to get down to the beach at least once a week, either for a walk or a swim. It's not a lot, but sometimes just getting outside is enough.
When I was 19, I travelled around North America. One night we all slept on the roof of the truck under the stars – that was pretty special.
A couple of summers ago, I was on the subway in New York and the announcement said to get off at the next stop for the Staten Island Ferry, so I did! Within minutes, I was out on the water with the wind blowing through my hair. That and the High Line are both great ways to get close to water and nature in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world.
Even as a kid, just camping in our back garden (and trying to stay awake in shifts for our midnight feast!)... it doesn't take much to reconnect with the outside world.