Home­made dens

He­len Martin ex­plores our hid­den world sand what’s so spe­cial and calm­ing about the time spent within our home­made dens.

Project Calm - - Contents -

The sense of ad­ven­ture, peace and tran­quil­ity found in a den is some­thing that ap­peals to us from a very young age and it doesn’t leave us as we get older. Pulling the sofa cush­ions out, drap­ing over a bed­sheet canopy and tak­ing in the sup­plies you’ll need to see you through your jour­ney to dis­tant lands; the com­fort of home, but dif­fer­ent, new and ex­cit­ing. As you set up your torch and fairy lights, the trip you’re about to em­bark on is an ex­plo­ration of your own imag­i­na­tion, a su­per­high­way to well­be­ing as you depart the real world to an in­ner sanc­tu­ary. The free­dom is found within that safe co­coon, the sheets cav­ing in slightly, the mag­i­cal un­re­al­ity of your life like this, and des­per­a­tion to camp overnight with a big bag of pop­corn and a flask of hot choco­late. To give your­self per­sonal space al­lows your mind to wan­der, much like med­i­ta­tion. It’s some­where unique to you and where that rest­less part of you will find calm, while an­other part of you is al­lowed to f ly, lib­er­ated.

The rise in den-style hol­i­day ac­com­mo­da­tion; cab­ins, wag­ons, car­a­vans and yurts, can be no co­in­ci­dence. As mod­ern life pull us out­wards in ev­ery di­rec­tion, there’s a pres­sure that makes for a de­sire to re­treat some­where de­tached from de­mands. So­cial me­dia, emails at bed­time, the re­quire­ments we put on our­selves or have put upon us by oth­ers. It’s ex­haust­ing and it can leave us glassy- eyed and strained; a lit­tle bit wild. To find a haven some­where, how­ever that may man­i­fest, whether that’s a wagon in Wales, or sim­ply five min­utes sat by a win­dow nook, is bliss. The essence of self, re­stored. As you leave den-life and re- en­ter your every­day ex­is­tence, en­joy the sen­sa­tion of hav­ing trav­elled – re­vived calm pro­vid­ing strength.

Home­made dens are par­tic­u­larly spe­cial, as they are be­spoke. They come in a va­ri­ety of shapes and sizes with boul­ders and bar­na­cles, that by their very na­ture should have those rough edges. Elab­o­rate or sim­ple, made with wood, wheels or win­dows. They are filled with per­sonal com­forts and arte­facts that make per­fect sense to you to have no more than an arm-length’s reach away. As busy or min­i­mal as you wish, it’s what­ever you need to care for you. We have found – and been per­mit­ted en­try to – a small se­lec­tion of home­made dens to find out about how each one serves a pur­pose. Shh, quiet now…

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