At Esquire, we love a city. The swirl of close-pressed bodies sparks with possibility. A man can leave home in the morning and return three days later with new friends, a new wardrobe and a new outlook on life. But by god, all that fizz can be exhausting. And sometimes, a man needs an escape.
As Wordsworth and his Romantic #squad knew, what's green is good for the soul. The great outdoors earned that prefix; it's where day-to-day concerns are washed away by natural grandeur and you get a chance to explore something more meaningful than the Ivy's wine list.
Although, as any boy scout knows, you'll only find succour if you're prepared. So that you can soothe your stress, rather than add to it, consider this your cheat sheet of great escape essentials. Load up, then wander lonely as a cloud.
Some extra charge
We're not normally ones for boasting, but as the old aphorism goes, if a man discovers himself in the forest and can't share his solitude on Instagram, did it happen at all? While the philosophers ponder that one, the wise man simply avoids the issue entirely. The issue in this case being phones with no battery life and the countryside's inconvenient lack of plug sockets. Enter Boostcase's 'Power Case', which adds an extra 100% of power as and when needed, plus offers rock solid protection, so you can stay juiced even on overnight trips.
Boots that go anywhere
You should return from the perfect country escape refreshed and recharged. Which is why you need at least a soupçon of civilisation – nothing's as bad for your stress levels as trying to cook a Pot Noodle on a gas stove. In the rain. So yes, you should surround yourself in everything verdant, but you can still enjoy England's rolling fields through a pub window. To bridge the great outdoors and the excellent indoors, you need boots that can withstand mud but won't get disapproving looks from the landlord. Clarks' Trace hits the sweet spot – rugged enough for yomping through fields, but still sleek enough to warm next to a log fire.
Rugged yet sleek: the Clarks Trace Boot
A warming drop
No mountain can consider it conquered unless you've got something to toast its summit; a dram that puts fire in your belly that even the sheet rain can't extinguish. For extra authenticity, pick one in which the great outdoors is as essential an ingredient as water and grain, such as the blend produced by the independent Lakes Distillery.
Located in the Lake District national park, its whisky is as green as the surrounding countryside – not literally, mind, but rather because of its eco-friendly production processes. There's silver too, in the colour of the medal it won from the International Wine & Spirits Competition. And in case you're looking for somewhere to escape to, the distillery does tours and has its own Michelin-recommended bistro. You know, for once you're back down the mountain.
Layers, layers, layers
The one downside of the great outdoors is how difficult it is to find a convenient coffee shop when the weather does the inevitable. Which means you need to be prepared for whatever it can come up with, be that unexpected heat or all-too-expected rain. The key, as any good mountaineer knows, is layers – you don't have to be halfway up K2 to appreciate that three thin items offer more body heat control than a single fleece. Your go-to should be natural fabrics, ideally merino; there's a reason that cyclists love the stuff and it's more to do with its temperature-regulating qualities than how soft it feels (although that is a bonus). Weekday has you covered, without denting your pocket.
A decent get-around
Whichever side of the TFL-and-Uber spat you fall, one thing's for certain; transport is tough once the world isn't covered in asphalt. And since you can't rely on someone else to ship you around, you'll need to travel between peaks / hiking routes / well-reviewed gastropubs on your own steam (it seemed to work for Coogan and Brydon, after all). Or rather, electricity. It seems boorish after all to sully that greenery with exhaust fumes. Tesla's new Model S boasts enough room for your luggage, a 250-mile range on a single charge, and a 0-60 of 2.5s (no, that's not a typo). Which means you can feel doubly smug every time you leave a gas-guzzler at the lights.
A look inside
The city is always on, a constant flickering of light and sound and excitement. But it can be a rush so stimulating that it drowns out introspection. The country is quieter. In the great outdoors, a man can look inside himself. He can embrace empty space not as something to fill with ever-refreshed social feeds, but as a chance to reflect on the world and his place within it. We've built a society that reshapes second-by-second, but nature's timescales are a touch grander. From its vantage, our lives blink past. But how we spend them is worth examining. In nature, authenticity reveals itself – that of the clothes we wear, the choices we make. So take that opportunity to reflect. Then return refreshed, renewed and confident in how you'll face your future.
Shop the Clarks Trace Boot collection' here