Our Sunday Blog this week is a chat with Amy Lucker, a veterinarian residing in Cornwall, and a friend of FINDRA. Amy shares her passion for the great outdoors, recounts her favourite adventures, and discusses the topics of loss and grief. Get inspired this Sunday and learn about what drives Amy!
Hey, can you tell everybody where you are based and what you do!
Hi. My name is Amy and I’m a vet. After leaving Cornwall for Uni aged 18, I spent the following 18 years moving around the UK, interspersed with time spent abroad. I arrived full circle and came home to live by the sea a few years ago.
How long has the outdoors been a part of your life?
I think my love of the outdoors grew as an extension of my early interest in animals and passion for the natural world. I was also a water baby and loved to swim and be near the sea, or any body of water. As I grew older I discovered I needed time outdoors - and time outdoors by myself - to help me process life events, understand my emotions, make decisions and find perspective. Being in nature helps me become present and brings me clarity.
What’s been your favourite trip or adventure?
In 2014 I ventured to Botswana to volunteer with a charity over there which provides veterinary services to the local community in Maun, a large town in the Okavango, as well as undertaking outreach work around the country. These were mainly CNVR (“catch neuter vaccinate release”) projects; the aim being to maintain stable, healthy populations of dogs (and cats), protecting public health (for example, against zoonotic infections such as rabies), as well as protecting native wildlife, some of which are susceptible to some of the same infections as dogs. I was joined by a friend of mine, Harriet, who flew out a few weeks later, and after our time at the charity came to an end, we decided to fly into Windhoek in Namibia. We hired a car and spent a couple of weeks exploring the country and national parks. I have fond memories of nights camping out in our little tent and on our self-drive safari around Etosha, in awe of the wildlife. It was an incredible adventure, but my memories of this trip are bitter-sweet, because heartbreakingly, Harriet was diagnosed with cancer the following year. She died in 2017 and is without a doubt the bravest person I know. It is so poignant to me now how carelessly we talked about our dreams and future plans on those long drives in Namibia. We nearly postponed the trip for various reasons and I will forever be grateful for that time we had together.
How do you find a balance between being active and life’s other responsibilities i.e. work and family?
My job can be emotionally, mentally and sometimes physically draining. I don’t always achieve a good balance, but I know that I always feel better if I get outside and having a dog is a good reason to get out and get moving. Even on wild, wet days, or those weeks in Winter when the Cornish mizzle feels like it will never let up (and you feel as if you’re living inside a cloud!), I know how important it is for him to let off some steam. I struggle with the short, dark Winter days, so I make the most of the longer days when they’re around. I’m not too proud to admit that my mood can follow the weather!
Is there anyone who inspired your love of the outdoors?
My father instilled an appreciation of the natural World in myself and my brother. Before having children he was a climber (back in the 60s and 70s - it’s quite terrifying comparing their “gear” to what we use now!) and he enjoyed walking well into his later life. He struggled with his mental health and was quite a mysterious person in many ways, even as a father and husband, but when I went walking with him as a child/ teenager, it was during these moments of quiet communion on the moors and forest trails that I often felt closest to him.
Do you find that being outside has a positive impact on your wellbeing and mental health?
Absolutely. I need time outdoors - and time outdoors by myself - to help me process life events, understand my emotions, make decisions and find perspective. Being in nature helps me become present and brings me clarity.
What is it, specifically, about being in nature that you love?
I love being in the mountains, but above all, I love being in water. Neither of my parents could swim so they made sure both myself and my brother started swimming early on. I can’t remember not being able to swim. I love the freedom our bodies have in water; how cold water invigorates the skin and other senses, focusing the mind and breath unconsciously, bringing a sense of complete presence. I also enjoy just splashing around in the sea, jumping in and out of the waves, feeling their power and giving in to it.
When did you discover FINDRA?
A few years ago I was given a beautiful royal-blue woollen hairband from FINDRA by a friend. I love the ethos as well as the clothing.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I think it was actually my mum who said to me, “if you can’t decide what to do, give it more time”. I appreciate time isn't a luxury we always have, but this advice has served me well.
On writing this blog, what do you feel is the key motivational or inspirational message you would like to highlight to our followers that would inspire them to get outdoors more?
Time spent in nature is never time wasted. To quote John Muir, “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
Amy's Inspirational choices!
The Summer Day by Mary Oliver
Robyn Davidson - Tracks
An inspirational woman and an incredible journey
Ziggy Alberts - Bright Lights