George Bullard is a world record-breaking explorer, endurance athlete and motivational speaker. He has covered more than 2,000 miles in the polar regions and at just 19 years of age he embarked on the world’s longest fully unsupported polar journey. And now he’s camping in Gunnersbury Park.
So what went wrong? Nothing, it turns out. George is on a mission to “rewild humans”, which basically means he wants us to get up close and personal with nature. When was the last time you cooked food on an open fire or did a pee behind a bush? Exactly. George wants to reignite childish glee and get us looking at the stars as we snuggle into a luxury yurt.
Apparently, on average we spend 92% of our lives indoors, which is a whole lot of time not spent roasting marshmallows on an open fire. With City Camping, not only do they encourage you to sleep in a tent, they also host meditation, foraging, teach you bushcraft skills, help you cook food on an open fire, and they even have nice clean loos (so you don’t have to pee behind a bush after all). While the first City Camping session has been and gone, you can register your interest for the next event and follow them on Instagram. We speak to George to find out more…
So why should we bother hanging out in nature?
At a time when we need it most, we can look to nature to find stillness, peace, tranquillity and harmony. Humans can learn a lot from nature. Not only do we need to protect it, but nature can affect us a lot from an emotional, physical and spiritual perspective. Mother nature can be cruel but it can also teach us important lessons.
So camping in London… what’s that about?
For me, spending time in the mountains, under the ocean, or in the wilderness, gives me an immense sense of gratitude. I feel very privileged to be in those surroundings. By removing yourself from a certain environment and into another, it can make you realise how fortunate you are. It gives me an incredible sense of satisfaction for the most basic of things – a warm shower or a clean shirt can suddenly seem very valuable.
If you set yourself goals or challenges, at some point you’re going to be disappointed. Instead, set yourself a purpose.
All these fitness buffs and influencers on Insta make us feel super lazy. Should we be setting ourselves goals and challenges?
If you set yourself goals or challenges, at some point you’re going to be disappointed. You’ll ending up setting yourself targets that are not achievable and pushing yourself until you break. Instead, set yourself a purpose. That is far more important. Find something that gets you up in the morning, something that makes you feel satisfied and grateful.
What’s your ‘thing’?
For me, that is rewilding humans. I’m never going to be able to achieve this, but through small actions I might be able to rewild one person or even just encourage someone to spend more time outdoors. That gives me huge satisfaction and is much more sustainable.
As someone who is very active, what advice can you give to people who find getting outdoors challenging?
I get asked this question a lot. It can be as simple as not taking your lunch break in a dark corner of the office. Instead, find a quiet park bench or tree and take time to sit there without your phone or any distractions and simply look at the leaves blowing in the wind. Being outside doesn’t have to be an action-packed adventure to provide meaning and balance.
Take time to sit on your lunch break without your phone or any distractions. Being outside doesn’t have to be an action-packed adventure to provide meaning and balance.
What is your greatest piece of advice for people?
I’m very sentimental and I get a lot of perspective from different people. Mark Twain once said: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow!’” I love that. For me that encapsulates how precious time is.
How can people embrace our new-found freedom after the past two years?
I encourage people to go off the beaten track and give back to the local environment and culture, and if people can’t travel abroad then City Camping provides the chance to do that closer to home. The future is exciting because, one thing is for sure, it’s going to be one hell of an adventure.