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Making the most of nature as non-parents

By Nina Steele 

A few weeks ago, on one of our weekly country walks, we came across a couple with two young children, the youngest of whom needed to be carried around. We met them at the car park, before the start of the walk.

They were ready before us and set off. However, they had the youngest child in a regular pram, instead of a backpack. We knew they would not be going far with that, as the ground was muddy, as it often is in the UK in winter.

As predicted, they were back within minutes. I approached them and explained that they needed a backpack. They both looked at each other as if to say, how could we ever think we could push a pram in the countryside.

Hiking is something my husband grew up doing. His father used to take him to the French Alps as a teenager. He got me into it not long after we met. It is an activity that we enjoy doing together, at least once a week (weather permitting).

I don’t like leaving things to the last minute, and so I am used to planning in advance. When we were still trying to have children, one of the first things on my mind was how to carry on hiking with a young child. We come across many families with children on our walks, and knew that becoming parents would bring about a dramatic change, particularly as we are fast walkers. Thankfully, as non-parents, things have remained the same.

As a couple, spending time with nature is very important to us. We share a passion that not only keeps us fit, but it also gives us something to talk about. It definitely is one of the reasons why our marriage is strong.

I often hear parents say that their children give them something to focus on. And I agree that as a couple, you need to have a common passion or interest. There has to be a glue that binds you together, apart from just being a couple.

I suppose, one of the advantages of not having children, is that it gives you the chance to nurture the things that you have in common throughout your relationship. A lot of parents realise once the children have left home that they have not spent enough time cultivating their common interests. Of course it is never too late to put things right. However, for some, the damage is too great to repair, and they end up going their separate ways.

My husband often says that when we become too old for hiking, at least we will have our memories. And I share that view too.

What passion do you and your partner/husband/wife share? Has it made your relationship stronger?

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