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  • Writer's pictureMark Kelly

'Wild' Activities

Since the pandemic I have noticed a new trend online and in the media to prefix Outdoor Activities with the word, wild.

In my 25 years as an outdoor instructor I've never used or heard this word used in the context of outdoor activities.


In this blog I suggest some reasons and I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

• Perceived Separation: The use of "wild" to describe these activities implies that they are somehow outside the norm, or that nature is a realm separate from our daily lives. It reinforces the idea that nature is something to be sought out or tamed, rather than an integral part of our existence.

Wild Swimming, or just Swimming?

• Urbanization and Modern Living: In urbanized societies, people often spend the majority of their time indoors or in structured, controlled environments. This disconnection from the natural world can lead to a perception that nature is "wild" or untamed, rather than an inherent part of our surroundings.

Wild Beach Walking?

• Consumer Culture: Consumer culture has reinforced the notion that nature needs to be packaged and marketed as a distinct experience. Adding "wild" to activities like swimming or camping may make them seem more exciting or marketable, but it also reinforces the idea that nature is an otherworldly place rather than our own environment.

Is this camp wild, off the grid?

• Reconnecting with Our Wild Nature: While it's true that humans are a part of the natural world, the use of "wild" in these contexts could also be an attempt to reconnect with a more primal, untamed aspect of ourselves. In a highly structured and controlled modern world, some people seek to tap into their innate, "wild" instincts through outdoor activities.

With the advent of wave pools, is surfing now 'Wild Surfing?

• Environmental Awareness: On the positive side, the use of "wild" may also reflect a growing awareness of the need to protect and preserve natural spaces. By emphasizing the "wild" nature of these activities, it can draw attention to the fragility of the environment and the importance of responsible and sustainable interactions with it.

Wild litter picking?

In conclusion, the addition of "wild" to activities like swimming and camping may reflect both a disconnection from nature in our daily lives and a desire to reconnect with it in a more primal, untamed way. It's a complex interplay between our modern, controlled existence and our innate, wild nature, and it underscores the evolving relationship between humans and the natural world.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, you can contact me though Instagram @4elementsadventure or via email

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