Escaping the city life

Walk into the wilderness around you

Gautham Dinesh
3 min readMar 11, 2024
Chess Valley Walk

When you move to a city like London or New York at a young age to work your ass off in some corporate job, it’s easy to forget that there is a world beyond the concrete jungle. After being stuck in a rut of the work-home cycle, surrounded by screens, and muffled tube noises with your noise-cancelling headphones, you just wish that you could escape the matrix. And you can because I have done it. Here’s how you can find some time to get a break from the city, enjoy a leisurely walk, and finally touch some grass.


I live in London and I have other things to do on the weekend as well so ideally I want to be able to go in the morning and arrive early enough in the evening. So the first step is to find hiking/walking trails that are closest to central London and that I can get to without a car. I just do a quick Google search and scroll through some websites like this one to find a spot that has a trail around 10 miles long. I don’t want to do anything super challenging since I follow a powerlifting-style training program that does a number on my knees.


I check to see if I need to book any train tickets because one time I had to get off since I didn’t buy a ticket beforehand since I thought it was in the contactless zone. I buy any tickets that I need with a railcard since it helps to shave off a few pounds and depending on the distance and difficulty, I pack water, trail mix, and some bars into my backpack. Because the weather can be quite unpredictable, I have a waterproof cover for my bag but I’m yet to buy some wellies/hiking boots.

It also helps to check the map of the trail but I usually do this on the train ride to the spot. I pack a light book that I can read through on the train so that I can occupy myself with something else other than doom-scrolling.


Once I get to the spot, I am on it. Stopping along the way to take in the scenery, pasturing animals, saying hello to fellow hikers, and just appreciating the wonderful nature that exists. Being there amongst the trees, the sounds of birds chirping, the sunlight filtering through the branches, and hitting the wet soil helps me feel grounded and remind me of my childhood when things were much simpler and I felt more free.

Often, I come across a nice spot in the woods or a bench where I can sit down and do some meditation and reflection. Just allowing my mind to shut down and take in the surrounding sounds, smells, and company. It is much better than trying to do it during my lunch break at work, in a focus room, where I’m trying not to allow work thoughts to enter my mind or to get interrupted by footsteps around the room.

By the end of the hike, I was quite exhausted. My knees and back would be in pain (sounds like I’m getting old) but my mind would be a blank slate. I feel my creativity flowing and ideas come and go from my mind. I feel better mentally and physically and I feel ready to tackle another week in the concrete jungle.

If you read this far, then I encourage you to stop waiting and start hiking. Escape this city because there is much more beyond it.