Being there: 61 reasons why places matter to people

People go to wild and old places for loads of reasons ( and that’s excluding work reasons). Those of us who work to make their visits more enjoyable, satisfying and meaningful need to understand as many of those reasons as possible. (If you want to read more on this see here, here, here and, for an overview, here)

Here are sixty (plus one) of the reasons I have discovered – gleaned over the years from research, survey, conversations and being-there adventures with friends and strangers. (I confess, three or four of them may just be me …)

One of the places near my home that I go to regularly for a whole host of reasons. Cressbrookdale NNR in the Peak District National Park, UK

One of the places near my home that I go to regularly for a whole host of reasons. Cressbrookdale NNR in the Peak District National Park, UK

I think all of these are true.

Here’s the (still incomplete) list

Some reasons for ‘being there’

A first-hand experience
Something to boast about to friends who weren’t there
Something to to remember with friends who were there
A physical challenge
A new perspective
A stronger connection
An escape
Fresh air
New views
Different rocks

A chance to imagine
To learn in a richer, deeper way
To talk with different people
To sit under different trees
To unwind
To play
To think
To stop thinking
To be surprised
To be astounded

To feel safe
To be afraid
To take risks
To see it before it disappears
To see it before I disappear
To capture my present
To recapture my past
To see my people’s past
To understand your people
To see beyond who and what we are now

To be in nature
To be near water
To in in touch with animals
To enjoy time with my nearest and dearest
Wild geese

To stretch my legs
To bag the peaks
To ride the rivers
To fish
To sweat and burn
To pant
To paint
To draw
To draw breath
To rest

To find dragons
To build castles
To make dens
To weave daisy chains
To pick berries
To seek treasure
To make spells
To see fairies
To trick trolls under bridges
Stepping stones

To sleep out
To lose myself
To build fires
To tell stories
To connect with ancestors
To hide
To seek
To sleep under stars
To be big
To be small

And … inevitably, the 61st, and possibly the most important reason is, simply:

Because it’s there (… and I am alive)

Therefore … if your job is to look after the rich and wonderful places where people can do these things or to help people experience them, your work is hugely worthwhile. You deserve all the rewards it brings you. Make sure you take them. In fact, go out today and enjoy at least three of these things. Have a good time. I am off to do that now.

Please do feel free to add to this list. I already suspect there are at least 101 reasons. ‘Kicking through leaves’, for instance, should also my certainly be there. Help me find another 40. Please add  your thoughts thoughts as comments. There are no wrong answers.

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