Ramble Happy – The Adventure Begins.

Ramble Happy has been created to encourage mindfulness, exploring the great outdoors and capturing the moment through beautiful photography.

Rambling is a great way to get fresh air, exercise, loose or maintain weight loss and to get the body moving without having to indulge in anything too strenuous. It’s also a great way to practise mindfulness. Whether that’s simply planning your day or having time to think something through. It can give you the opportunity to turn negative thoughts into positives and to create a happy place within yourself. It’s also a chance to discover new and beautiful places you may never have never known about. To witness the changing seasons and nature at its most wild. Whether you are rambling in a city centre or the deepest depths of the countryside. Rambling really can make a change to your life, for the better!

It was performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2019 when I discovered rambling. I’ve been in the entertainment business for over twenty years. Staring out in musical theatre, performing abroad and on cruise ships. I eventually turned to comedy, creating a fictional character called Kevin Cruise. I’ve now spent over ten years working the comedy and cabaret circuit, holiday parks and festivals. For the last three years I’ve also been taking on the mantle of Mr Martin – Basil Brush’s right-hand man and stooge, performing all over the UK.

Over the years my anxiety, when it comes to performing, has gradually increased. You’d think after twenty years it would be the opposite, but strangely not. My anxiety has never affected me to an extent that it’s caused me to cancel work, but enough for me to be aware of something going on and making me think about the negatives and worst case scenarios. I knew that I would eventually have to try and manage this if I wanted to keep performing.

I’ve performed at hundreds of holiday parks, theatres and festivals. In 2019 we were set to perform ‘Unleashed’ a new Basil Brush show for grown-ups at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Twenty-eight performances with two extra late-night shows all SOLD OUT in a three hundred seat venue! We were working with a new writing team and producers.

I’m so use d to getting into character as Kevin Cruise, and even with the Basil Brush kid’s shows I have an element of a “side-kick character.” With our new grown up show I
really was just… me! Something I hadn’t done for a very long time.

I knew this whole situation would increase my anxiety, so I decided to join a gym and spa for the month. I had no intention of doing workouts, but wanted to swim, use the jacuzzi, and have some ‘Me time’ in what is known as a mad and stressful month for all performers.

So, I starting going to the gym every morning without fail. But, it turned out the walk to the gym was a 5 mile round trip!

By the time I’d reached the gym everyday I’d already had time to put myself in a positive place. Time to think through any issues that could stop me embracing the day, enjoying the experience of being at the festival and not stressing and panicking about the show ahead. I can spend days over analysing a show that has already been or is upcoming, creating a well rounded feeling of dread and fear. By doing this walk I’d already put myself in a good place. Understandably my swims got shorter and the walks got much longer!

After a while I started to walk more, heading out of the town. I’d ramble over and around Arthur’s Seat and through some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in any city. I felt euphoric, enlightened, energised and, as a bonus, I dropped weight! A lot of weight. I’ve joined endless amounts of gyms in the past, been on every diet plan that’s popular and even though I may have, at times, seen some results, everything felt forced, an effort and none of the results have ever lasted. Bizarrely so many things felt right about this new hobby or “life change ” I was experiencing. I had, by accident, became a rambler and I LOVED IT!

Once returning home to Windsor that Autumn, I kept the rambling up. Sometimes a few long rambles a week. Other times short rambles every day. Sunrise, sunset, midday… I made it fit into my day’s activities. If I had a busy day I’d make sure I was in bed early and up early to fit it in. When I had a gig near the seaside, I’d leave early to ramble for a few hours.

I started documenting my rambles on social media and discussing the pleasure it gave me. For the first time in my life I was witnessing the change in the seasons. The way the environment and nature changes and adapts to the Autumn. I had favourite trees, wildlife and parts of the local river. I’d jump out of bed if I woke early and could see a beautiful sunrise on its way. Even if the weather is shocking there is something wonderful about walking in a gale-force wind. Hiding from the rain, taking a moment to embrace your wild surroundings, scent of nature and the smell of the rain.

This was also helped by my love of art and photography. Picking up my ‘big’ camera once again and capturing the beauty of nature was a dream.

“What I love about photography and walking is that it makes you look at everything with different eyes. Hunting and searching for the perfect pic. A snapped branch, a feather in a puddle, a wonky roof top or a formation of rocks. You really do have your eyes wide open and soak up everything on your ramble. You don’t just look at a tree. You look into it, through it, how it sits within its surroundings.”

I learnt very quickly that there is always something that surprises you in nature. Something that you can’t believe you are learning for the first time.

I started to receive messages from friends and family telling me they have been inspired by my social media postings and have started to ramble or take a few moments of the day to get out and about. Country walks, rambles across the beach, City hikes or just walking to work and leaving the car.

As a gigging performer I travel all over the UK and it doesn’t matter where you are there is always somewhere to ramble. It’s also a great time to put the headphones on and listen to music, podcasts or radio. I’m always listening to long forgotten albums from my youth on Spotify. It can be a lot of fun when you also would quite like to switch off from certain thoughts. Or it can be a chance to ramble with a friend. Phones off. Catch up without being interrupted by life.

I don’t think I have ever stuck to anything like I have rambling. It must mean, it works for me!

Fast forward a year and we are faced with a terrible and challenging time of COVID-19. I had an entire year of gigs lined up. Over 100 dates in total. With Kevin Cruise gigs and Basil Brush theatre shows, it was to be one of my busiest years. The Coronavirus hit and I had everything canceled. A bursting work diary completely cleared.

As my friends and family know, I was never going to let the current situation get me down. I’ve wanted to create a platform to discuss my anxiety, performance nerves and mindfulness, for a long time now.

“My new love of rambling felt like it had tied this entire thing into a bow. Having time to think, plan and create has been a blessing.”

I think the lockdown has been a catalyst for many people. A time to reflex and recharge and think about our lives and how we wish to move forward. Well, here it is. Ramble Happy. Turning a horrid and worrying time into something positive.

When it came to coming up with a name, Ramble Happy was to be the mothership, a brand that I can document this adventure under, and I came up with many different ideas. Walking seemed too generalised and hiking seemed too specialised. Rambling is a word that has many meanings and I feel it fitted perfectly.

“Rambling to me seems to be more of an adventure, never sure where it may take you. Physically and mentally.”

I have a lot of exciting things planned for Ramble Happy – including our first Ramble event planned for August. I would love for you to come along on the journey. I’d love for us all to share our favourite rambles, what’s on our minds, the music we listen to, the things we see and the photos we take.

If you have any questions, advice or ideas please feel free to message me on here or any of the social media platforms. I’d love to hear your stories. Have you been inspired by my rambles or photography? Where have you rambled recently that you think I should try?

Whether you are doing short walks or mountain hikes, let’s get moving, let’s get our minds in gear and Ramble Happy together.

Lots of love

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