15-year-old Lucy loves to explore all the natural beauty in her hometown of Auckland, New Zealand.
She shares her adventures on her Instagram, @lucyscompass, and her #WanderWednesday hashtag challenges you to get on board and explore the great outdoors more often – you never know what hidden gems you’ll discover!
What inspired you to start #WanderWednesday?
The inspiration for #WanderWednesday came from lockdown in New Zealand! We could still do safe recreational activities outside in our local areas, yet, when I talked to my friends, not many seemed to be getting outside. This seemed like a shame to me, as my daily walk was the highlight of my day – disconnecting from video calls and schoolwork felt amazing! I decided that a way to encourage them to get outside was to share my adventures on Instagram as inspiration, and #WanderWednesday was started.
Why are you so passionate about being in nature?
For me, getting outside has always been an outlet for stress and a way to detox, especially in high school. Nature has a calming effect on me – it has always helped me to clear my mind by forgetting what’s on my mind and focusing on my surroundings.
I also love to explore and experience new things – from mountains to forests to beaches. Being in nature has allowed me to see all these things and has given me the freedom to explore and discover.
What is your favourite place you’ve adventured to?
It’d have to be The Pinnacles in Coromandel Forest Park, my first overnight hike staying at a hut. Getting up there was a bit challenging (especially with all my gear!) but the view and sunset from the top made the whole adventure so memorable!
When did you start exploring the outdoors more?
Ever since I was young, I’ve done a lot outdoors – I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family that often went for walks, cycling adventures, and camping trips! However, since lockdown, I’ve been trying to prioritise getting outside as I realised how important it is for my mental health – especially because this year has been quite overwhelming with COVID-19!
Do you usually explore alone or with family/friends?
A mix of both. My #WanderWednesday adventures are generally alone, but on weekends I love exploring with my family too! Recently, I started going to hiking meetups run by a group called Hiking Aotearoa, which was great as I could meet some fellow outdoor enthusiasts!
Why do you believe getting outside amongst nature is so important for the wellbeing of teenagers?
These days, I think that many teenagers do not prioritise getting outside and are not being present in the world around them as they are caught up in the online world.
Being in nature can be a great way to practise mindfulness, something that helps people to destress and practise gratefulness; all simply by stopping to appreciate the small things in nature surrounding us, like a bird chirping, a tree swaying in the wind or the smell of a blossoming flower.
Have you found any cool secret spots on your adventures?
A spot that I discovered recently was Rainbow Falls in Northland NZ. I found a hidden spot that you can walk to – right behind a huge waterfall!
What other hobbies do you enjoy?
My other favourite hobbies are reading, taking photos, painting (which I recently got into during lockdown) and eating – I’m a bit of a foodie! I love watching Chinese dramas – my go-to activity on a rainy day! I’ve also met a lot of amazing people through sports like orienteering and hockey, both of which are very fun!