Rothery Sullivan extols the virtues of classic activities birdwatching, people-watching, fruit-picking, letter-writing and journaling.
In a time when our lives are more virtual than ever, there is a special charm in participating in activities that force us to disconnect from our online lives and interact with the raw nature of the world.
Many young people don’t enjoy old hobbies anymore, such as birdwatching, people-watching, fruit-picking, letter-writing, or journaling. I can honestly say that people who no longer participate in these activities are missing out on experiences that can lead to self-discovery. In a modern society where we live busy, fast-paced lives; where there is always something new on our to-do lists; it’s important to take time to disconnect from our goal-oriented reality to find a deeper connection with our human desires and observe human nature for what it truly is. The hobbies I have listed allow us to do so. As well as explaining their importance, I will give examples of places you can do these activities in Scotland!
Glasgow has some great places for these kinds of hobbies, including birdwatching and people-watching. Birdwatching is a calming activity that allows one to fully immerse themself in nature and ponder the relationship between animals and humans. By observing birds, one can see how other species exist in the world. My favourite spots to go birdwatching in Glasgow are in Kelvingrove Park and Victoria Park, where one can find ducks, swans, magpies, and many other different species. People-watching can also be a calming experience which allows us to disconnect from our current reality and simply be an observer to the world around us, rather than an active participant. Some of the greatest artwork has come from observing others; for example, Rembrant’s sketches of people in the streets, or the Lumière Brothers’ film, Workers leaving the Lumière Factory. Great places to people-watch in Glasgow include Central Station or Buchanan Street, where one can sit on a bench with a cup of hot coffee and watch people shop, hurry to find their train or reunite with loved ones. The Glasgow Botanic Gardens are also a peaceful place to sit and watch people walking alone or couples walking hand-in-hand.
If you’re willing to travel a bit beyond the city borders, you can find some great places to go fruit-picking, do some letter-writing, or journaling. For fruit-picking, I recommend the Cairnie Fruit Farm in Fife, where you can pick all different kinds of berries, pumpkins, and sunflowers. Fruit-picking is a great activity to do either alone or with friends. As for places for letter-writing or journaling, I enjoy spaces where I feel isolated and can see a greater picture. My favourite place to write outside of Glasgow is at the top of Kinnoull Hill in Perth. This is a bit of a walk from the centre of Perth, just under two miles from the train station, but the view at the top of the hill gives an entirely new perspective for either writing for myself or writing to a loved one. Another favourite spot of mine is along the River Forth, in Stirling. There are benches along the river banks where you can sit and just enjoy the sound of the flowing water. Both of these locations are easily accessible by train, so I highly recommend taking a day to go and explore an unknown area and take time to look within and write.
There are a lot of benefits that come from out-dated activities because they allow us to disconnect from our stressful lives and find a new haven in nature. Mental health is extremely important, especially right now with Covid-19 running rampant throughout the city, so it is crucial that we take time to revel in the joys of the outdoors, either by ourselves or socially-distanced with friends.
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