The Great Outdoors


Do you ever just throw on a backpack, some well worn shoes and hit the outdoors? The crisp fall air, the crunching of leaves underfoot and the adventure of the path unknown can be therapy to the soul. Being amongst nature, wandering, foraging and exploring are things I love to do this time of year with everything changing so beautifully around us, and so this beautiful collection of images shot on film by Hanke Arkenbout as part of a collaboration we did together a few weeks ago is really hitting the spot for me. How often do you hit the outdoors for a wander in your local forest or park? I did this past weekend with my little family, roaming our local forest on our bicycles stopping every so often to forage for dried grasses, foliage and berries. Perhaps today’s post will inspire your own weekend wander.


The forest itself served as inspiration enough for me and Hanke to team up for this shoot, but I realised while working on it that having recently seen the film ‘Wild‘ must have resonated with me on a deep level and inspired me more than I knew at the time.

In the movie, the main character and autobiographer Cheryl Strayed (played by Reece Witherspoon) embarked on a solo, three-month, hike along the Pacific Crest Trail covering some 1,100 miles of continuous wilderness with nothing but a backpack and little to no hiking experience.



Needless to say, it was an epic journey, filled with struggles that she overcome along the way. It was a beautiful film, centred around inner strength, peace and freedom. It is not the geographical landscape that becomes the film’s focal point, but the inner landscape and the transformative effect Strayed’s decision to hike the trail made on her own happiness and sense of contentment.

Not that I’m planning on hiking a thousand miles through a forest any time soon, but I was deeply inspired by the film and all over again during this editorial by the power of the outdoors and of the physcial, emotional and creative inspiration to be found amongst the trees.


Forest 2

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Forest 3




Forest 4

Hanke captured these shots in the way that only Hanke knows how. I just adore her work! And what makes these particular images extra special to me is that the model has been my best friend for nearly fifteen years. Lauren, an incredibly talented health coach, having visited me in Delft several times in the 7 years I have lived in the Netherlands, decided to pack up her life to come and live here for an extended period of time. After 9 months of having her within walking distance, she returned to Australia this past week and this fact has made me both incredibly sad and deeply grateful for having been able to have such a close friend nearby after 8 years of going long-distance. Here we are together at the end of the day, one of us looking a little more camera appropriate than the other (ahem, that would be Lauren) having a giggle in the bushes, as one does.


I hope today’s post has given you the inspiration to set off on a little solo journey to wander a little, get a little lost, forage a little, paint a little, read a little, whatever it is that brings you inner peace and harmony while exploring the outdoors and giving yourself the opportunity to just ‘be’ in nature’s beautiful embrace. My weekend wander with my family was therapy for the soul after what has been a crazy time for me these last few months, both personally and professionally.

Holly x

Photography: Hanke Arkenbout | Styling: Holly Marder for Avenue Lifestyle | Model: Lauren Michele | Editorial assistance: Malou Muizer

3 Responses to “The Great Outdoors”

  1. Hanke says:

    It was a pleasure to work together with you Holly on this shoot, your vision is always so fresh and clear, love it!

  2. Janine Ross says:

    As usual a delightful read, you transported me there from afar. I so enjoy your writing. Thank you!

  3. Claudia says:

    Holly, gorgeous pictures! We’ve been camping a few weeks back for the last time this year and I loved it. It felt so great being outside! Also the movie Wild is an inspiration for me too.
    A really good movie and it makes you realize you don’t need much in life.

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