My walks usually take a couple hours to get to and from, and take a few hours to do. It’s a whole day engagement. As a father with a full-time job, that means it’s tricky to balance that with spending time with family or doing other domestic tasks.

So instead of making the big trip, I’m often enjoying metroscapes that are local and smaller scale, and usually ground where I have trodden many times before.

The local playground is a good escape on weekday evenings. It’s a place to burn some crazy energy, and shake off the work day. It’s also a place to reflect on where you’re at in life, and what is a priority.

If you’re lucky enough, there are neat local features like a watercourse or woodlot to check out. These are places to be adventurous and interact; watching leaves go over a waterfall or what insects are in a log are super exciting and educational activities.

Conservation areas are sometimes a little more far flung from home, but offer a prolonged escape. These are opportunities for meaningful bonding over a picnic, or just giving your partner a break.

A riverbank can also be a spot for discovery and play, and connecting with nature. Fish, bugs and frogs are a chance to learn and marvel, and rock skipping is just plain fun.

Sometimes running the same old ground over and over can get boring. This should drive you to think creatively, peruse a map, and check out the other little parks and open spaces you haven’t been to before. Other times, a breath of fresh air is all that’s needed, even if it’s somewhere familiar. That said, a little one can help you explore different elements of the same space and look at things from a different perspective.

So don’t ever write your local parks and open spaces off, and don’t settle for the same old spot. Get out there, recharge, take a different perspective, and find a special hidden space.

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