Sunday Edit: Adventures in nature – a journey of self-discovery

When Rudolph Care last met childhood friends Mads Schmidt Rasmussen and Jens Jakob Ellegaard Petersen they had just returned home from Lofoten in Norway and were preparing for surfing adventures Down Under.

Now they are back in the northern hemisphere, pausing for thought in the summer sun before the wider world beckons them once more. Read along and be inspired by their adventures in the wild.

“I love nature and get a huge kick out of using the forces of nature to have fun. Regardless of whether we're enjoying the sun, rolling in beautiful waves or playing in a storm, it's fun to let the weather dictate the day,” Jens, a teacher at an independent boarding school, explains.

“I totally agree,” adds Mads. “My plan in life is to be more outside than inside. My lifestyle and job as a photographer gives me that opportunity – and a lot of adventure to boot. Many find peace in the repetition of everyday life. I find it in travel – when I’m on the move.”

Jens and Mads are prime examples of how you can play – even as an adult – and make playing in nature your livelihood. In fact, they share the same desire to play in life as much as possible.

Mads has made his living this way for five years and takes off on small, spontaneous adventures throughout the week – from SUP boarding through Copenhagen's canals to trips to see the sun rise to wild swimming in winter with friends. “Play is a huge part of my everyday life. You can play anywhere. You smile more if you dare to let go and become more like a child again,” says Jens.

Community under the open sky

Beyond their shared passion for the elements, Mads and Jens enjoy the community spirit and joint activities that arise from a mutual love of nature:

- "It's hard to put into words the feeling that comes from the spontaneous community that is built from surfing. It’s like looking forward to seeing someone you care about. I get butterflies in my stomach and a boost of energy from hanging out with happy, energetic people who share my interests and who dream of the next perfect wave like I do,” says Jens.

You make each other better, without doubt. Almost anything can be achieved when committed and passionate people come together. And it's a great way to meet new people. You become friends quickly when you fall in love with the same sea and experience the next wave together. It makes you more open-minded, towards oneself as well as each other and the new friends you meet on the road,” adds Mads. “You can’t hide from nature; when under pressure, your true self reveals itself – and it’s healthy to face that, whether in yourself or in friends. At the same time, you learn to compromise because ‘out there’ nature is in charge. We can just be in it, regardless of what it brings us.

Adventure in the arms of the elements

For Jens and Mads, traveling far is more than geography: it is where you become in touch with yourself and discover new sides of your personality and those around you. The simpler the day, the more clearly you see each other – and in nature, time is simple. It is about just being, going with the flow. Setting a goal with each trip is good for motivation, but often new ambitions are discovered along the way that make the whole experience more intense, more unique. The most important thing is to get going. Mads and Jens will be doing that again soon. Right now they are actively working towards creating surfing, skiing and climbing expeditions in the north. Both would like to return to northern Norway and to Svalbard, Iceland and Greenland, as well as out to sea—perhaps even in their own icebreaker. Dreams of great, cold adventures flicker in them both.

- “Anything is possible if you just get going. If you are open to it, you will find adventure. Nature has a lot to offer. Even the same surf spot can be experienced in many different ways, so it never gets boring. Everything changes out there and adventure comes naturally. For each escapade, you get ten new ideas for your next one, which make you work a little harder in the often monotonous everyday life,” conclude the two friends who cannot wait to get out in nature again, to the sea and the mountains, close to heaven.

Adventure and the wild outdoor life are not for everyone. But one thing is certain: regardless of whether you traverse the ice cap or enjoy a nap under the shade of a pear tree, nature is good for us—and we become better individuals when we surrender to its adventures, small and large.

Mads’ & Jens’ top tips for travel and adventure:

- Set a goal for your trip.

- Try something new. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.

- Book a surf lesson or sailing trip. There is nothing better than a trip out to sea.

- Watch a sunrise from high land.

- Shade, a sun hat and sunscreen are always a winner.