When you think back to your best summer, does it include brilliant warm sunshine, surrounded by the vibrant blooms of nature or time spent by the sea?
How about slow, lazy days spent doing things with your favourite people and creating lots of beautiful memories?
Summer never feels quite long enough as it is, but lately it seems like the pace of life is increasing at the speed of light.
New buzzwords like “revenge travel” and revenge spending” has been added to the mix, with people hellbent on making up for time lost (and money saved) during lockdowns. I’m sure you’ve seen the the travel chaos in airports worldwide – filled with people vowing a fast-paced summer jam-packed with plenty of things to see and do.
But have we not taken any lessons away from the pandemic?
You don’t need to rush around at million-miles-per-hour, getaway or even spend money to have the most magical moments.
During the pandemic, the unhurried pace of life took me back to simple days, spent outdoors fuelled on nothing but mum’s triangular-shaped sandwiches and unbridled child-like imagination.
All things rooted in meaning and appreciation for the magic in the everyday…
and what I’m trying to adopt as my new normal.
From spending time outdoors, reading, to digital-detoxing and people-watching, today’s post is a summer bucket list of fun, cheap and cheerful activities to slow down and savour the moments.
Read a Book
First on my bucketlist is reading a book. When was the last time you got lost inside a great novel? Reading is one of life’s greatest pleasures and the places you’ll go. My current read is: A Brief History of the Seven Killings, transporting me to 1970s Kingston, Jamaica.
Many months passed during the you-know-what, where I could not read a page, let alone a book. My mind, wild and unkempt, developed a fondness for doomscrolling. What helped me get back into the swing of reading (and may help you too) is to reread your favourite book! Now that summer has arrived, the weather is nice enough to get outside with a great read; it’s also the perfect opportunity to take a digital detox, (and no more doomscrolling!)
Grab Coffee (or tea) & People Watch
Take a Self-Guided City Walk
Why not try a self-guided city walk if you’re looking for a fun summer outdoor activity? Playing tourist is something I used to forgo, waiting until I took a trip abroad to explore. But the things you miss out on at home are insane.
The best bit, of course, is you don’t need any money. There’s plenty free online. Also, being self-guided, you can linger longer in the spots that interest you. Or keep it moving if you’re not feeling it!
Watch Sunset or Sunrise
A question for you: are you team sunrise or sunset? I love both. But, because of the silent birth of a new day, sunrise is a clear winner for me. Ultimately it doesn’t matter. Whether you are team sunrise or sunset, slowing down to watch the sunrise or set (or both) ranks highly on my summer bucket list.
Seeing a golden sky lit up in shades of violets, crimsons, or blues reminds you to slow down, stop and appreciate the magic of the everyday.
Chill by Water
Slow moments spent by the water’s edge are a must for my slow summer bucket list. Although many beaches are packed with beach lovers and sun-seekers, you can still find pockets of solitude. Seek, and you shall find, is the name of the game here.
Visit a Local Farm/Farmer’s Market
Life on a farm is an ideal setting when I think of slow and simple days. Think about it: The process of growing your produce is rooted in patience, hard work and oneness with nature – the complete opposite of the fast, easy and bratty-like “now” culture we live in.
Take Photos & Document Your Summer
Depending on who you ask, there are at least 20,000 moments in 24 hours. How can you savour them all? Writer, Warsan Shire’s advice to: “Document the moments you feel most in love with yourself – what you’re wearing, who you’re around, what you’re doing…” is an ideal activity for summer.
After all, you need to slow down and take notice to document these delicious moments. Best of all, there’s no set rule in how you choose to do it. So go ahead…paint, write, take a million photos to express yourself. Capturing fragments of your summer days also reminds you to “recreate and repeat” when you’re at a loss for things to do.
Visit The World Through Food
A slow summer is a fantastic opportunity for new experiences, even when spending time at home. For instance, you can explore the world through food. The other day I created a Mediterranean salad with a side of Italy by using fresh seasonal ingredients to make a delicious pesto. But why stop there? You can recreate mouth-watering cuisines from all over the world. Oh, and since we are talking Italian… how about dining al fresco without spending money? You can eat outside in your garden, by the sea or on a beach.
Have a Picnic
Summer and picnics go hand in hand with slow and simple, and why enjoying one is on my bucket list. Imagine ambling through a park or a less-travelled path by the water’s edge, listening to the sounds of birdsong or lingering to admire a gorgeous flower.
This happens on my picnics before finding the perfect spot and laying out a spread. Followed by slow moments, staring out into nature, being present with loved ones or reading a book. All this between eating whatever goodies you brought with you. (just don’t forget to pick up your rubbish)
Camping out in the backyard is perfect for a slow summer. Who says grabbing a makeshift tent out in the backyard is just for kids? Camping as an adult is fun too. Or if you prefer, you can always take your camp further afield if you feel slightly adventurous. Invite friends to join you or enjoy a date night stargazing before falling asleep under the stars.
Visit a Garden Parks or Cemeteries
Have you seen Ricky Gervais’ Afterlife? I don’t want to spoil it if you haven’t. But some of the most darling moments are during conversations shared between two characters, at a cemetery of all places. (many of which were filmed in London’s best parks). There’s so much clarity and joy in being slow -even in dark moments.
One of my favourite childhood books is the Secret Garden (which I recently reread 😉 ). Spending time outdoors and tending to her own (secret) garden helps the main character eventually see the beauty in the everyday. So, get outdoors in a garden, park or even cemetery, slow down and literally smell the roses and you’ll discover the magic too.
These are just a few ideas for a slow summer, but you can also check out my post on how to embrace a slower life for more ideas.
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