Liv Ruben: finding herself again by connecting with nature
To get the inside line on how Adventurous Ink helps subscribers live their own wild and precious lives, we caught up with long time subscriber Liv Ruben, aka @livfituk_
Why is spending time outdoors precious to you?
Being in the nature reminds me to stay curious and to look at the world around me in wonder. You have to be in the present. I think adventure and exploring connects people and the planet.
It sharpens your mind and softens your soul.
I travel for experiences. Moments that are indescribable unless you were there. I will forever have the memory of me night-swimming in the small lake, middle of the forest, located just outside my hometown in Latvia. Those moments make me feel alive.
My own reason for being outdoors has changed over the years. In my teenage years it was about exploration and escape. Now it’s still about exploring but it has also become an internal journey. It’s not about escaping so much now, it’s about finding myself more.
It’s my time to reflect and connect to myself and stop rushing through life.
What was your route into the outdoors?
My mum jokes that travelling and being outdoors is in my blood. She studied Geography at school and travelled quite a lot before I was born. I was that kid who spent all her summers at grandmother’s house, playing outside - building tree houses, getting my knees bruised and hands dirty.
The quiet forest felt like a different planet to me. A planet where I can be whoever I want and do what I like. It became my playground. I knew every corner of the forest. Every place had its own story.
When I was teenager I hitchhiked to Prague with my best friend. that was an experience! My very first backpacking trip. It changed me for good. We spent 2 weeks on the road – meeting new people, having dangerous experiences, having beautiful experiences and experiencing the real freedom for the first time.
After that I moved to England. While finding my own feet here I lost myself for a little while. I stopped listening in the nature. Stopped taking adventures. Stopped connecting to inner self. It lasted for two years.
I felt empty. I felt like something is lost in me and I need to return to my roots - being outdoors/connected with the nature in a much deeper level.
So back in 2012 I decided to find the road back to me. I invested in myself, I invested in adventures. I enrolled to University, I researched my local area and went on cycling trips to satisfy my need to be outdoors.
You don’t have to go far to feel the nature. Its enough to pack your favourite coffee and sandwich and walk over to your local river or brush off the bike saddle and cycle somewhere further.
What are your go-to outdoor activities?
I run. I cycle. I walk. I hike. I swim. I even read outdoors when its warm. I love to explore. I’m very curious person and I like to find and notice new things. I guess I resonate with hiking the most.
Noticing the ground underneath your feet, the weather changing, the scenery around you.
Slow travel. Slow exploring. Sit down on the rocks and have lunch and a very strong coffee. Everything tastes better outside, right?
I love it when it’s just me and the mountain. It’s me against me. I love walking with my own thoughts. Breathing in and out. I always laugh and say it’s my free therapy. After a good hike I always end up feeling fresh and focused. That’s what I love about slow exploring.
My favourite part of new travels is to let go of fears and forget what I have heard about a place. To go somewhere and totally immerse myself into the culture.
I remember my first trip to India. I was fifteen and travelling with my mum. It was a massive culture shock to me back then. Coming from green and quiet Latvia to noisy, crammed India was a lot to process, but I also got to see Himalaya mountain for the first time and fall in love with hiking. Its one of the experiences which was captured on old Russian disposal camera.
36 photos of three weeks in India and a lot more memories.
How do you fit wild time into your regular routine?
The Instagram-filtered version of my life doesn’t reveal the long hours spent at my job working standard 9 - 5 as an aerospace engineer. Trying to fit training, yoga, me time and outdoor adventures in is a challenge, but I’m trying my best.
I seek inspiration in the hills, in the silence of the peaks, forests, rivers, meadows. I don’t have to go always far.
Over the past few years I have noticed that I have done more micro adventures than grand adventures. I like to move and explore and normally you can’t find me at home over the weekend. I would be exploring local Peak District or drive out to a local forest, river or sometimes even take a long weekend away. No matter what it is I will make sure to satisfy my inner calling for nature and being outdoors.
Tell us about your most precious outdoor moment last year.
It has to be the trip to Pembrokeshire inspired by the Wild Guide to Wales from sent through Adventurous Ink. Honestly!
7 days of exploring and slow travelling. I’m amazed how beautiful this part of the country is and how quiet it is. Total bliss. So many hidden gems in the middle of nowhere. Visiting St.Davids which is the most creative and artistic town, full with environmentally friendly shops, cafes and pubs and the most stunning Cathedral you will see. Then spending afternoons sitting on the cliffs watching seals.
It’s worth to also mention Taylbont-on-Usk near Brecon Beacon National park. We spent couple of hours there walking up the stream, climbing waterfalls and wild swimming. Very refreshing and beautiful. Those are the moments I feel the most alive and happy.
Also travelling to Zermatt, Switzerland to hike The Five Lakes Walk. 2-hour drive. 6-hour hike. 3112 meters. It wasn’t the mountain I conquered but myself! Zermatt is the Swiss Alps at its best. It’s a car free town where everyone moves around on foot, surrounded by beautiful nature and glorious and famous Matterhorn mountain.
Do you have any adventure ambitions?
I would love to visit Alaska and all of its national parks. And spend a month travelling in a van, living on the road.
Where’s your preferred outdoor playground, and why?
It can be anywhere and it would change on regular bases. Some of my favourite places and moments include sipping cocktails in a very cosy bar “Hedgehog” in Riga old town, watching sunset over The Roaches, Peak District and drinking strong espresso in Fabrica Coffee Shop, Lisbon.
A lot of it comes down to my mood and emotional place I’m at. But some things will never change - I will always pick mountains and being on the top of the world. Preferably at sunrise and alone. It’s just me against me and the world below me.
It’s my go to escape when I need to gain that peace, quiet, calm. And to reconnect with myself.
Do you like to share your adventures on social media, or just enjoy them in the moment?
There have been many moments where I have been completely still and just taking it all in. So many of my memories don’t have photographic proof. And some moments are just not the same when captured.
But I do like sharing my adventures and travels with people and get inspired by others. @livfituk_ is where I can be found. It’s just an account of me capturing life as it happens.
Who’s in your adventure crew?
Partner in crime - my boyfriend. He has been a great travel buddy and very patient one too while I take hundreds of photos. He is also excellent map reader so we are doing just fine. Him laughing at my horrible jokes is another bonus.
How long have you been a subscriber to Adventurous Ink?
Pretty much since Day 1. I think there might have been one or two issues already made before I joined. I discovered Adventurous Ink at the right time and I’ve never looked back.
I have grown so much through all the books and magazines and travel stories.
What motivated you to sign up?
I’ve not always lived in England. I was born and raised in Latvia. That’s where my roots are. I moved to England back in 2010. I started to explore local area and travel around but it wasn’t the same. It was all the touristy spots and I needed something off the beaten track. I’ve been on and off exploring in the past few years, but I picked it up again couple of years ago.
I followed few outdoor accounts on Instagram when I came across Gather Outdoors. I felt so inspired. Reading about inspiring people and looking what other people do, has been amazing.
Which was your favourite Adventurous Ink publication?
Every single magazine and amazing interview have been my favourites.
But if I have to choose – Wild Swimming Beaches was my favourite book and The Rolling Home journals always brings me a smile and urge to travel.
Have we inspired any memorable moments?
Not just adventures, a way of being: exploring off-beat tracks, climbing waterfalls; diving into rivers. Be wild. Be free. Be open minded. Climb that mountain and be on the road more.
The most memorable place was Boulston church and manor, Pembrokeshire. It was tricky to find. Totally off beaten track and totally worth it. Even wet feet did not stop me from being in total awe when I finally found the place. It was the most amazing thing I’ve seen in my life. The ruins of 15th century church, in the middle of nowhere. Now derelict, trees and ivy grow through the flows and drape the walls.