This week for our inspiration series, we chat with Friend of FINDRA Julia Latto who lives and works in the Scottish Borders.
Hi Julia, let’s start with you telling us where you live and what you do!
Hey, I’m Julia Latto and reside in Peebles in the Scottish Borders. I was born and raised in Hawick and have happy childhood memories of spending summers swimming in local rivers and meandering with friends around the surrounding countryside, enjoying jam pieces for a picnic!
I’m a mother to 3 children, 2 girls aged 15 and 17 and a son aged 19. For over 25 years I’ve worked for Scottish Enterprise and I lead on several national rural projects with a passion of supporting rural business leaders and provide opportunities which benefits both the economy and wider community.
How long has the outdoors been a part of your life?
Being a Borderer, I’ve been surrounded by the outdoors all my life. One thing I’ve realised since lockdown is I’ve not really been ‘present’ in the outdoors for a very long time. What I mean by this is pre pandemic, my job involved travelling across rural Scotland on a regular basis. Whilst the scenery was stunning, I spent a lot of time in my car commuting. I used to fit in a quick walk in the countryside at the weekend to recharge my batteries for another busy week – how wrong was I to think that my ‘batteries’ were recharged after a quick half hour stroll!
During the lockdown, my routine has become very different – from day one I’ve been up early and out for a long walk every day in the countryside. It’s meant a completely different outlook and my appreciation to nature – hearing the birds singing, the different smells and lighting – making my senses feel alive! Every morning I wake up looking forward to my walk in the outdoors.
What’s been your favourite trip or adventure?
I’ve been very fortunate to have travelled to really interesting places across the world and meet some incredible people. One of my most favourite trips was bush camping in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Spending time with local leaders gave me a perspective on the importance of understanding local and regional culture. Sleeping under the stars was memorable.
How do you make find a balance between being active and life’s other responsibilities i.e. work and family?
Up until this point this has proved very challenging to juggle as life has been very hectic and the balance has been completely out of kilter. As lockdown eases, I’ll be prioritising walking in my daily life.
Is there anyone who inspired your love of the outdoors?
Yes, Alex at FINDRA! I met Alex in early March at a rural conference and in speaking to her about her love of the outdoors, it stirred in me a desire to change and get walking in the beautiful countryside that is literally on my doorstep!
Do you find that being outside has a positive impact on your wellbeing and mental health?
Completely, 100%. The lockdown has been stressful and challenging but my early morning walks brings a sense of calmness and a feeling that things are going to be okay.
When did you discover FINDRA and what’s your favourite piece?
My lovely Neck Warmer – I wear it every morning when I’m walking. I’ve also found it comes in very handy as a face covering.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
From my dad before he sadly passed away, ‘Everything will be fine.’
And what’s your favourite piece of Music?
John Denver, Take Me Home, Country Road.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Julia.