Today is a special day for the blog. My first milestone – 100 posts!
I’ve been planning to do something exciting to mark this achievement since the summer, and the idea for today’s post came to me in a big rush of excitement one morning whilst I was on my way to work. It’s hard to think I’ve been working away on it ever since.
I suppose the question I should answer before fully launching into this post is:
What is a “modern hippie”?
Most people have a rough idea of what hippie means. Long hair, flared trousers, beads, headscarves and a peace sign, right? Tree hugging, free loving, anti-establishment weirdos getting naked at every opportunity and saying things like “the Earth is so beautiful, man.”
But do any of these well-known stereotypes have any relevance or meaning in our modern lifestyles? In this technology-driven age of super-smartphones, throwaway fashion and stressful careers, is there any time for any hippie-like sentiments at all?
I think so. I believe there are folks out there looking for a simpler existence. These people stop to think about what they’re doing, look at governments and institutions and declare quietly yet firmly, “no thank you, that is not for me. I’m going to do this MY way.”
If you’ve ever had second thoughts about what you’re eating, considered what it would be like to grow your own flowers instead of buying them every week at a supermarket, wanted to stop washing your hair in so many chemicals or just wondered if it’s possible to strip things like coffee and alcohol out of your life then this post is for you.
Here are one hundred habits of a modern hippie.
Consider the environment, try life off the beaten track and bring a smile back to your soul.
1. Eat porridge oats
I bet you didn’t expect that one to come first, did you! If you eat porridge oats, whether they’re mixed with muesli or heated with milk, you’re already halfway there to doing your body a HUGE nutritional favour. And you won’t snack before lunchtime either.
2. Start feeding the birds in your garden
A crust of bread, a crumb of cheese, even the fatty bit from the end of your bacon rasher; don’t bin it, pop it out in your garden. Winter is coming and birds don’t have electric blankets like we do, so they’ll be eternally grateful for anything you provide and will reward you by building their nests and raising their young in your garden next spring.
3. Grow something
Flat too small for a dog? Feeling terrified about the prospect of children in your future? If you need to learn to become responsible for something other than yourself, then it’s time to get a plant pot and a bag of compost. Growing a plant from seed gives you an incredible insight into the fragility and determination of life, it brings you back in sync with Mother Nature, and it focusses your often easily distracted attention onto one thing that isn’t yourself.
4. Stop wasting paper
Every time you print something and chuck it away, you’re wasting natural resources. Whilst the environmental impact of paper creation may be minimal these days, why bother printing it at all when you can email or text the information to someone?
I’m full of admiration for those who want to offer their time selflessly. I have friends who give up multiple evenings a week to volunteer as Scout leaders, and others that donate time to counselling and support helplines. What about you? Could you give time to a conservation group? A homeless shelter? A hospice? Find something you believe in and become a part of it.
6. Think outside the box that others think outside of
“Thinking outside the box” is an awful phrase that pops up in work meetings alongside “brain dumping”, “incentivising” and “wrongsiding the demographic”. It’s hard to take them seriously, but the concept behind thinking outside the box is simple. Every time you consider yourself at a loss for ideas, try flipping the entire scenario on its head and pulling the most random idea out. Often you’ll find it’s the best, most innovative solution.
7. Have a go at being vegetarian
It’s better for you, it’s better for the planet, and it’s much, much better for the animals. Even if you can’t do it full-time, try having “veggie day”s or choosing the vegetarian option when you next eat out. I’ve only been fully vegetarian for about a year, and before that I was a huge meat-eater. It’s surprising what you can change about yourself if you set your mind to it.
8. Get a bike
It doesn’t have to be an expensive, all-singing all-dancing contraption, even the one from your parents’ shed that you haven’t ridden for years will cut it if you’re desperate. You can travel for miles on a bike without even an hint of disrespect to the environment, you’ll see more of where you’re going, and you’ll finish up with lovely rosy cheeks too.
9. Get yourself a hat for all occasions
Blow-drying and straightening your hair on a daily basis uses a lot of energy and isn’t good for the environment or your lovely locks either. Give it and them a break and plonk a trusty hat or headscarf on your head a couple of times a week.
10. Choose a charity close to your heart and donate monthly
I believe that the secret to finding inner happiness is to look outwards. The more you concentrate on yourself, the more introspective and self-absorbed you’ll become. Donating a small monthly fee to a charity that means something to you will bring you a little lift every time you receive a letter from them, and you’ll be rewarded with a wonderful feeling of goodwill every time they tell you they’ve achieved something big with your support.
11. Stop buying ready meals and cook from scratch
Learn to love and respect what you’re eating. Pick up a pepper and look at it. That beautiful creation that you have tossed haphazardly into your shopping trolley has been grown, nurtured and picked just for you. Celebrate that in whatever dish you create. A ready meal lasagne does not have a soul, but a home-cooked one is full of love.
12. Boycott fast food chains
Give the McChicken sandwich a rest occasionally and make your own epic sandwich instead. I’m sure you’d be the first to admit that you never feel that great once you’re looking at an empty packet of fries or the remains of an undercooked Quarter Pounder with cheese.
13. Consider drinking soya milk rather than dairy
I promise not to go too veggie warrior on you with this one. It would be incredibly hypocritical if I did as I don’t abide by this myself yet, but consider switching a glass of two of the white stuff for a soya alternative. My thoughts on this are similar to the thoughts I have on eating cows: “how does it make sense to eat a cow or drink a cow’s milk, but not eat a cat and drink its milk?”
14. Recycle your food waste by building a compost heap
The ultimate in green endeavours, a composting heap or bin allows you not only to turn your food scraps into gorgeously organic and natural fodder for the garden, it provides a haven for all things wriggly. Worms might sound like unwelcome guests, but they will actually aid the compositing process and leave you with some truly glorious mucky stuff to feed your plants.
15. Get a water butt and collect rainwater
You can buy a specialised water butt in a garden centre, but it’s always okay to improvise and use an old washing up bowl or even a bucket. The rainwater you’ll collect over the wetter seasons is ideal for watering your plants and gardens and saves you running up the water bill during the summer months.
16. Dry your clothes outside
My mum always says drying your clothes outside makes them smell like sunshine. And it’s true, you won’t have that funny mothball dryer smell. If you don’t have a washing line, stick your airer in the garden for a couple of hours, and if you’re garden-less altogether, try partially drying your things next to an open window.
There’s a common theme at farmers’ markets: friendly, helpful people. Buying local helps support these lovely folk and their honest businesses, and even though their produce might cost a bit more than Tesco, you’ll get excellent advice, usually a free taste and great banter too.
18. Recycle your carrier bags
Even the big supermarket chains are rewarding this habit now, so there really is no excuse. Remember to reuse your bags, either for more shopping or as cheapie bin liners.
19. Go walking
Fresh air is so often cited as the best medicine for any illness, be it physical or mental. Taking yourself off for a walk and allowing your lungs to inhale unpolluted air will do you the world of good. Your legs will thank you for the exercise, your back will thank you for the correction of your posture and your well-being will be singing your praises left, right and centre.
20. Learn a traditional craft
Knitting, woodcarving, basket weaving or flower arranging? It doesn’t matter what you choose, it’s just important that these beautiful skills from days gone by are preserved and enjoyed by the generations below us, too.
21. Make time for a spot of yoga
It’s another cheesy and predictable one, but there’s a reason earth children love a bit of yoga in their lives. Most of us suffer with aches and pains of some variety these days, usually caused by the unnatural things our modern lifestyles now involve. Centre yourself with a few deep breaths and just work on stretching away the pain…
22. Use public transport instead of the car when you can
It’s lovely to have a car. My little Fiat 500 Joan and I are good pals. But think of the environment before you start up that ignition. Could you walk to the newsagents for a loaf of bread? Could you hop on your bike? How about catching the bus for a change?
23. Have a possessions detox
Put all your belongings into boxes, and put them in the cupboard. Over the course of six months, get things out as you need them. Anything left in the box after six months should be donated or given away, unless of course it is of sentimental value.
24. Make scrapbooks
I’ve written and received a fair stack of cards and letters from friends and family during my time in London. I never want to throw them out, even years after, so I stick them in scrapbooks. It’s a neat way of ensuring you don’t lose special cards and it sure keeps things minimalistic and ordered. And you get to enjoy looking over them as a big collection, all at once!
25. Ditch your handbag or laptop bag and buy a backpack
Do your back a favour. If you’re carrying around heaps of heavy possessions slung awkwardly over one shoulder you’re going to end up crippled in your old age. Get yourself a good sturdy backpack in a nice colour, spread the weight evenly across your shoulders and your back will love you for it. Plus, everything will fit!
26. Introduce colour into your wardrobe
Sure, black will make you thinner, but colour will make you happier. Fact.
27. Buy from Etsy or Folksy
It’s almost an extension of buying local, and supporting individuals feels amazing! If I’m ever looking for a particular item I’ll always hit up either of these websites first and have a good nosy around before reverting back to hight street shops. You’ll also get to know online sellers and build up a rapport.
28. Go foraging
There is a plethora of free food just waiting out there to be enjoyed! Get yourself a good guide and stay well clear of the mushrooms until you really know what you’re doing though.
29. Look up at the stars on a clear night
If you ever needed a humbling reminder of your ancient and celestial beginnings, look to the stars. Carl Sagan famously and beautifully once said “We are a way for the universe to know itself, because the cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star stuff.” You are born of the same atoms and molecules that make the stars twinkle and shine, and you are connected to everything else in the universe: mountains, rivers, people, planets, moons, stars and galaxies.
This book tells the wonderful true story of a reluctant and self-doubting poet who walks the 180 miles of the Pennine Way in Yorkshire by himself, stopping along the way to read poetry to anyone who cares to listen. It’s the perfect mix of nature and literature, and had me hooked from beginning to end.
You don’t have to light incense and listen to singing dolphins, although you can if you like. All you really need to do is breathe.
32. Take a barefoot walk in your local park
Slip your shoes off and feel the lovely cool grass beneath your feet, even if only for a moment.
33. And if you can’t go barefoot, invest in a pair of sandals
Hard to imagine when we’re in the chilly depths of winter, but when the weather warms up, choose something that’ll do your feet a favour, rather than just picking another set of dodgy flip-flops. You don’t have to rock out in socks and sandals or anything, but I recommend Merrell for a really sturdy but pretty walking sandal that’ll easily see you through the summer.
34. Wear rings on your fingers and toes
“For she shall have music wherever she goes…”
35. Learn to go without makeup
This is a real toughie, and usually I don’t go advocating things like this in fear that I’ll spark up some sort of feminism row. I don’t have an issue with makeup, and I don’t mind if you want to wear it. Lots of women wear makeup beautifully. The issue I have is when women can’t leave the house without it for fear of being judged. Wear as much makeup as you like, but NEVER let your makeup wear you. You are a unique, fascinating, charming creature and your beauty shines through your face from within. Don’t cover that up too much.
36. Try unchained delis and restaurants
This isn’t a suggestion to stop using your old favourites – I love a good Zizzi or Wahaca as much as the next person – just don’t be afraid to give that independent restaurant a try too. Finding better options and new favourites is what awaits the bold and the brave.
37. Try a small community festival
Sure, your favourite bands are probably playing Reading, Leeds or even Glastonbury, which has become ironically huge and corporate since the it’s truly hippie beginnings, but if you want the experience of what a festival ought to be like, you need to downsize. What you’ll get in return is less rubbish, less expense and less attempts to burn your tent down in the middle of the night. I always enjoy 2000 Trees festival for a brilliant musical experience, and Sunrise Celebration for a holistic hippie gathering.
38. Drink rooibos tea
Most folks associate green tea with hippie folk, and sure, I’ve drunk a fair amour of it in my time, but did you know that a cup of green tea can contain over half as much caffeine as your morning cup of coffee? It came as a shock to me too!
I’ve been caffeine free for nearly two years now. If you’re interested to hear how or why I did it, or you’re considering giving it a go yourself, I wrote a post back in March on why rooibos tea will ground you a million times more effectively than green tea.
39. Fly a kite
Play with nature. There are plenty of opportunities, you just have to take them.
40. Find a stream to paddle in
Sure, it’s winter right now and paddling your toes in a chilly stream doesn’t sound like the best idea, but consider putting your wellies on and going for a splash. When it warms up in summer, then it’ll be the perfect opportunity to take your sandals off and walk barefoot up the river.
41. Get naked at every available opportunity
Embrace how liberating and magical it is to be free of all your clothes and jewellery. Feel how marvellous your skin is. Whether you’re tattooed, pierced or neither, your body is the most valuable piece of artwork you’ll ever own. Walk around naked. Watch yourself. Know yourself.
42. Buy free range eggs
If you’re going to buy them, they need to be free range.
43. Share an enormous culinary masterpiece with a loved one
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a mushroom wellington, vegetarian pasta bake or even beans on toast, if you make it with love then it becomes a culinary masterpiece in my book.
44. Help people
Women struggling with pushchairs, men on crutches, children reaching for books in the library, give away your assistance as freely as you can. Don’t consider it too much, always just ask. People will say no sometimes, but the fact that you asked may just make all the difference.
45. Watch a nature documentary
Earlier this week three wolves escaped their enclosure in Colchester Zoo and had to be shot by their keepers. This is a very sad little story, and one of the reasons we should all rethink our stances on zoos. We grow up being told that they exist for the good of the animals, and we’re helping protect them, but when we’re forced to shoot and kill them if they break our imposed rules, there’s a contradiction in facts. Take a rain check next time you consider visiting a zoo and enjoy a nature documentary instead.
46. Get yourself a hefty pair of walking boots
I suggest Zamberlans, but you can wander into any outdoor shop and get recommendations to suit whatever activity you plan to be undertaking. Perhaps you’re considering serious hill waking or mountain climbing and you need tough boots with crampons for snow and ice, or maybe it’s just a light pair you’re after for walking your dog in the woods on muddy days. It doesn’t matter really, just make sure they’re fitted properly and your feet are well supported.
47. Keep chickens
Not to be taken lightly, this one, but enormously rewarding if you know what you’re doing. If you’ve got a bit of space in your garden and feel like you could provide a few chickens with a loving, safe home, why not consider it? There are some excellent guides online to being a successful chicken owner, and you’ll be sure those eggs are as free range as it gets!
48. Get online statements instead of printed ones
This relates to my point about wasting paper. It’s important to keep a record of bank statements, bills, invoices and insurance documents, but companies are making it easier than ever to store these digitally nowadays and there isn’t really a reason not to try this. Just make sure your filing system is neat, ordered and regularly backed up!
49. Buy a Kindle to read your books on
Again, another easy one. Instead of buying and throwing away endless paperbacks, pop one of these little devices in your pocket and carry an entire library with you.
50. Donate all your DVDs to the charity shop
This is one of my favourites. I love advising hardcore film fans to do this, and watching their faces – it’s almost as if I’ve suggested they cut off their own arm or something. My response is always the same, “come on, how many times more are you REALLY going to watch them?” Stacks of DVDs are cluttered, messy and unnecessary. Sell them, buy an Apple TV and start a digital collection, beginning with your favourites.
51. Go leaf peeping
Leaf peeping is the term used to describe “tree tourism”, visiting a new place to admire the beautiful trees and their colourful leaves. This is usually something that happens during autumn, but there’s no reason you can’t go leaf peeping at any time of the year, even if leaves are scarce. Take photographs of these ancient and noble chaps, and even give them a cheeky hug if you feel like it. It’s true, trees really do appreciate a cuddle.
52. Take a train instead of a plane when you can
This summer my parents took my grandparents on holiday to Italy, but instead of flying, they took a train all the way there. Consider it: when you’re on a plane, how much can you actually see? Clouds and wing, usually. If you travel by train you’ll be spoilt nonstop by the views and you’ll really experience the feel of every country you pass through on your journey.
Paper, plastic, glass, cans. It’s remarkable how much can be reused and have another life.
54. See the future
People often think of hippies as anti-technology, anti-establishment, anti-everything that isn’t green or smelling of bulgar wheat bake, but what’s actually true about real hippies (and especially modern ones) is that they stick with the innovative, the beneficial and the good. Consider all the options and pick the best one going forward, not just for you, but for everyone.
55. Make your own ice lollies
Is there honestly anything better than doing this though, seriously? Try crazy mixtures and adding unusual fillers, like sweets or even chocolate.
56. Filter tap water rather than buying endless bottles
I don’t buy bottled water anymore, but when I did it shocked me when I saw how many empty plastic bottles a person can get through in a couple of days. You’re much better off buying a filter jug and making the best of the water that comes out of the tap. You can even decant it back into old plastic bottles if you need to.
57. Take your own mug to the coffee shop in the morning
Similarly to the bottles mentioned above, just consider for a second the sheer amount of paper cups left languishing in overflowing bins after the morning coffee rush. Get yourself a nice mug for your hot cuppa, and have the barista to fill that instead.
Whether it’s camping, staying in a hostel, hotel or even a luxury holiday home, wherever you live, there’ll be something you haven’t experienced. Even being a tourist in your own town for the day is a fun way to learn more about the place you take for granted.
59. Theme your outfits to the seasons
I tend to wear more orange in the autumn and brighter greens in the spring. Echoing what nature’s up to is a fun way to ensure you’re always in fashion with the most important lady out there, Mother Nature.
60. Knit your own winter scarf
If you’re new to knitting, this is the easiest thing to start with. You can go as long or short as you like, mix it up with crazy colour combinations or keep it simple and elegant. And when you wear it, you’ll know that there won’t be another soul on the planet rocking the same scarf.
61. Visit Stonehenge in Wiltshire for the summer solstice
If you do this, you won’t be alone. For the rest of the year, this ancient site is roped off from visitors and viewed from a distance. So you can bet your bottom dollar that the one day of the year people are allowed to get up close and personal with the stones, they will. Still, watching the sunrise amongst a group of pagans and druids is always a secretly spiritual, if somewhat slightly noisy, experience.
62. Start a dream diary
This is something I’d love to do, but I never remember my dreams! If you’re lucky enough to have vivid, magical nighttime adventures, make sure you start keeping a log. They could make excellent stories to tell your grandchildren one day.
63. Let wildflowers and stinging nettles grow in your garden
The bees and butterflies love them, and they’ll love you for not cutting them down! And despite what the neighbours say, your garden will always have more happy wildlife living in it than theirs, so you can be smug about that fact too.
64. Choose a artificial tree this Christmas
It might seem a bit untraditional, but I always think there’s something sad about watching a real tree get wrapped up in a bin liner and taken to the rubbish tip once Christmas is over. I know they’re recycled nowadays, but their short lives are a sad testament to the hurried commercialisation of the festive period. In one day, out the next.
After the events in Russia over the past few months, this is something we all need to do.
67. Use peat-free compost in your gardening
I’ve written about this a few times already on my blog. Using compost with a high peat content is particularly bad for the environment, and the large-scale removal of peat from bogs in Britain and Ireland is destroying one of our most precious wildlife habitats. It takes centuries for a peat bog to form and only days to be destroyed by modern machinery. Make sure you check you’re using a peat-free variety.
68. In the autumn, look for antler sheds in local deer parks
Every year, male deer shed their antlers during the rutting season, which takes place during autumn. If you’re out walking in the right place at the right time you might just be lucky and find a discarded antler just waiting to be picked up. They make excellent decorative items or even unique headgear, if you’re that way inclined.
69. Tidy up after yourself when you eat at a restaurant
No, I don’t mean pick up the plates and head into the kitchen for a spot of washing up, I mean using a napkin to wipe up any little spillages, stacking cutlery on top of your plate, and leaving things neat and ordered if you can. No waiter/waitress likes to come back to clear your table and find ketchup stains smeared everywhere and half-eaten food littering the table. Yuck.
70. Try some Circulus. It’s nuts, but good fun!
I’m not going to try and explain, I’m just going to share. Hippie skirts at the ready!
71. Build a bird box
A surprisingly easy little DIY, and if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, it’s not actually that hard to install a little camera inside so you can safely watch the inhabitants of your new nest box raise their young without disturbing them.
72. Try InSpiral Lounge in Camden
I remember the first time I visited Camden. It was like someone had spilt a rainbow across the streets of London, splashing vibrant colour up the walls and across the roads, catching people as it went, turning them into mythical shining hippies and punks with incredible tattoos, outlandish piercings and the best dreadlocks I’d ever seen. Nowadays, Camden seems to hold slightly less of its former glory, but one thing remains that I always return for: InSpiral Vegan Lounge. I’ll never get over their sweet potato wedges and vegan mayonnaise…
73. Or Tibits just off Regent Street
If chowing down in a bustling vegan café doesn’t quite fit the mood of your romantic date or girlie get-together, you could always try the slightly more upmarket Tibits, just off Regent Street on Heddon Street. You serve yourself, but it’s an all vegetarian buffet with some of the most scrumptious food I’ve ever tasted.
74. Stop celebrating New Year’s Eve
In Japan, folks don’t really celebrate New Years’ Eve. Instead, it’s much more traditional to get up super early on the morning of New Years’ Day and greet the start of the new year by watching the sunrise. It’s called Hatsuhinode, and it’s honestly something I wish we’d start observing in the western world. Most of us are nursing sore heads at 6:00am on January 1st, but I can’t promise you enough how much better you’ll feel if you swap your party frock and shoes for a warm jumper and a mug of hot chocolate, and find a hillside to sit on with your loved one.
75. Try wooden or natural jewellery
Some of my favourite pieces of jewellery are wooden or stone. There’s something wonderfully rustic about decorating yourself in the less-celebrated jewels our planet has to offer.
76. Breathe huge lung-fulls of countryside air
This one is especially relevant if you work in a big city. Your lungs will be thick with pollution and dirt. Get out into the countryside and exhale all that muck and filth from your body. Replace it with clean, fresh, cool air.
77. Eat kale. Kale is good.
Kale is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s the king of leafy greens, and you’re not eating enough of it, quite frankly. You want calcium, lutein, iron, beta-carotene, and Vitamins K, C, and A? You got it. In fact, A single serving of Kale provides 192 percent of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin A, which you really can’t argue with.
78. Get to the seaside for an ice cream
Try to do this in the winter as well as the summer.
79. Walk instead of taking the Tube, Subway or Metro
When I first moved to London, I fell foul of thinking I had to get the tube everywhere. I’d catch it to go one stop down the line, when it would have been much quicker and healthier to walk. Be brave: even if you’re in a new city, try walking between stops instead of going underground. You’ll learn the lay of the land much quicker, and possibly even save yourself time too!
I’m not responsible for any unadulterated wanderlust that comes from having adhered to this suggestion, however. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll bawl in fact. It’s the most incredible story.
81. Decorate your plant pots
A great one for a rainy winter afternoon. Paint faces, paint patterns, paint whatever you fancy.
82. Get magazine subscriptions on your iPad
Yet another suggestion for paper saving! We pretty much all have iPhones or iPads these days, so why not keep clutter to a minimum and stop promoting the waste involved with magazines and newspapers (especially free ones). Most Londoners are guilty of picking up a copy of the Metro at the beginning of their journey and haphazardly discarding on the train when they arrive at the other end. Get a subscription on your iPad and stop the incessant waste.
83. Stop squashing insects
Don’t think it’s not noticed. Let them fly away naturally or do the old cup and postcard trick, but really, stop killing them. A life is still a life, however small.
84. Visit The Quiet Site in Ullswater, Cumbria
My sister Livs and I stayed at The Quiet Site in June of this year, during the same time we went heavy horse riding on the beach. I’d never visited Cumbria before, and its magnificent sweeping landscape and rustic sheep absolutely stole my heart. I had to give The Quiet Site a special mention on this list because it was a friendly, homely and safe campsite with excellent facilities and stunning scenery. If you’re new to camping and you fancy trying it out in the Lake District, you could do much worse than this lovely place.
85. Bake a luscious, rustic, truly homemade and wonky cake
That’ll be with free range eggs, of course.
86. Go against the grain
Unfortunately for those of us who naturally quirk the wrong way, being “odd”, “unusual”, “boho” or “edgy” is a bit of a fashion statement these days. The secret is to stop buying things that other people perceive as fashionably quirky and hippie, like an armful of bangles or a nose ring, and instead concentrate on what you naturally have that means you break the mould.
87. Go wild swimming
My first experience of wild swimming came this year in Scotland at Loch Lomond. Full of positive energy and determination I jumped straight in to the freezing cold water and swore profusely. It. Was. Freezing. If you’re going to give wild swimming a go, consider a more substantial swimming costume, or just man up like my friend Judi, who dived in and started swimming about as if she was in a jacuzzi. Wild swimming is a very fulfilling experience, but if you’re not expecting it, that water can bite!
88. Embrace the rain
Don’t mess around with a ropey old umbrella! Real guys and girls have waterproofs. Get your hood up and get walking, it’s only a bit of rain.
89. Get yourself a tent and get out there!
If in doubt, try it! I wouldn’t recommend this advice for everything out there in the big wide world, but if you stay sensible with it, you won’t go far wrong. If you’re half-considering a spot of camping in the warmer months, all you’ll really need is a tent and a sleeping bag. Even if all you do is manage to spend a night in your own back garden, that doesn’t matter. If you’re an insomniac, let yourself be governed by the Earth’s clock. Enjoy what it feels like to get tired as the sun goes down and wake up feeling refreshed and ready as the sun rises.
90. Throw away your television and get a radio
When I moved into my houseboat, I realised very quickly I wouldn’t have room for a television. This didn’t actually worry me too much as I’m not a huge TV-watching fan, but I did wonder whether it would feel a bit quiet and lonely in the evenings. In place of the television, I chose a radio, and I’ve never looked back since. Chatty enough to make you feel like there’s someone else in the room, but quiet enough not to distract you when you’re working, these old-fashioned boxes need more credit than they get.
91. Don’t be frightened of being penniless
The tighter you hold on, the unhappier you’ll be. Let your money flow. Don’t be the person who only orders a plate of chips and then splits the bill based on what everybody had. Treat those you care about, and you’ll see it come back to you in a multitude of ways.
92. Watch for the swallows in spring
As I’m sure you know by know, I’m a huge bird fan. Ducks, geese, blue-tits, buzzards, pheasants, sparrows, starlings, I love them all. But I do have a favourite, and that is the swallow.
Swallows are miraculous birds. They live with us during the warmer months, skimming over the surface of rivers and lakes, astonishing us with their inimitable flying abilities and acrobatics. Then, come the autumn, they line up on telephone wires together and take off as a group, flying all the way to South Africa. These birds mark the passing of the seasons more effectively than any other; no sooner have we waved them a tearful goodbye in October they’re back to enchant us once again in May.
93. Listen to the land
At the risk of sounding too much like Pocahontas, listening to the nature around you is a remarkable thing. Too often we walk resolutely from one place to the next, headphones jammed in our ears and eyes locked on our smartphones. Unplug, switch off, look around you.
94. Do heartfelt things for others, but don’t neglect yourself
When you put all your effort into helping and supporting the people you love and care about, you run the risk of putting yourself too far down the list of importance. And when you drop off that list altogether, you’ll find yourself resentful at other people because you don’t have time to do the things you want to do. Remember to indulge yourself and do what you love from time to time, regardless of others. Making yourself happy allows you to keep giving without feeling taken for granted.
95. Take yourself on a solo date
If you’re feeling particularly brave, leave your phone at home.
96. Climb a mountain
When I climbed Ben Lomond earlier this year, I was surprised to discover what an achievement it was, and how much it boosted my own self-belief. Pack yourself a good hearty lunch in your new backpack, lace up those lovely new walking boots and set off, one foot after another until you’re sitting at the summit and admiring the breathtaking views you’ve been rewarded with.
97. Let go of unnecessary stresses
Modern lifestyles bring us superficial stresses. The photocopier in the office has broken again, you’ve left your Oyster card in your other bag, your flatmate has used all the hot water having a really long shower. These stresses are unimportant. Don’t let them build inside you. Stress is an awful thing that brings us to our knees, so don’t fill your glass with hundreds of tiny worries. Let them float over your head as if they were thin wisps of smoke.
98. Seek out quietness
Bask in silence. Search for still.
99. Allow your heart to be free
Don’t stay chained in a job that makes you feel soulless or a relationship that makes you sad. Your heart already knows what you want, deep down, and by ignoring those pangs of desire, you’re denying yourself what you need to be happy. You must listen to your body.
100. Every day, ask yourself this:
If today was the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do?
Steve Jobs, secret hero of mine and all-round inspiring chap once said that “whenever the answer has been “no” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something”.
At its very essence, the true art of being a hippie means not accepting that which is laid out ahead of you. You don’t have to continue doing something just because it is expected, or even because it is what society deems is right for you. At any time you’re allowed to jump off the bandwagon and do something truly crazy. Don’t waste time living your life the way someone else thinks you should. Everyone has their opinions and everyone judges everyone else, but to reach a point of true happiness, learn to accept these judgements without detriment to your character and carry on regardless.
You are both beautiful and unique, and you deserve everything you want in life. Live each day as it comes. Wake up every morning as if you are born again, and live that day as if it’s the last you’ll have. It’s only then that you’ll discover what holds true importance.