COMMANDEZ AVANT 13.00 - PUIS NOUS EXPÉDIONS AUJOURD'HUI (EN SEMAINE)

COMMANDEZ AVANT 13.00 - PUIS NOUS EXPÉDIONS AUJOURD'HUI (EN SEMAINE)

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Daniel Villadsen

My name is Daniel and I am a photographer and an outdoor enthusiast from Denmark.

How did your passion for the outdoors start, and what does it mean to you?

It all began in junior high when my friends and I joined the “Outdoor Adventure” class, which led to numerous great experiences in nature, ranging from mountain biking, camping, and bonfires, to snorkeling, rafting in Norway, and even getting our diving certifications. Later, I started working as an instructor at the junior high and had the pleasure of taking other youths outdoors, helping them achieve successful experiences. I then attended Oure College of Sports & Performing Arts, where I completed a one-year course as an "Adventure Instructor" and acquired instructor certifications in sea kayaking, climbing, and mountain biking, along with gaining more skills and experiences in adventure racing, skiing, climbing, and kayaking in Denmark, Norway, and France. Now, having studied Sports and Outdoor Life at universities in Denmark, New Zealand, and Norway, I use these skills along with my passion for photography. Being in nature brings me great joy - both for the tranquility and the contrast to a busy everyday life - but also as a sensory awakening and a reminder not to take the small things in life for granted. The value lies in the contrast, and it's healthy to maintain this awareness.

 

Can you describe one of your earliest memories or an experience that ignited your passion for being outdoors?

One of the many wonderful camping trips I had with my friends in junior high. We spent a whole day biking on mountain bikes, snorkeling, and/or doing water sports like wakeboarding and kneeboarding behind a speedboat, ending the day with stories around the campfire on the beach as the sun set.

 

How do you incorporate the outdoors into your daily routines?

I try to cycle as much as I can for errands, and I enjoy running in the forest and/or parks as much as possible. Having recently moved to Copenhagen, I am exploring the city's green and maritime oases. Additionally, through my work as a photographer focusing on outdoor activities, I often collaborate with Visit departments around the country, discovering many hidden natural gems in Denmark. Moreover, I try to go on small microadventures whenever possible, which involves sunsets and overnight camping, kayaking, or similar, thereby integrating more small nature adventures into everyday life.

 

What is your most memorable adventure, and why?

There are many. One of them must be my first "mountaineering experience" during a 9-month study program in New Zealand. A classmate and I embarked on a 2-day expedition in Milford Sound to climb the iconic Mitre Peak. We kayaked to the base of the mountain, hiked through dense jungle/bush, camped above the tree line, and climbed to the top the next day in 25+ degrees Celsius. We had to bring our own food, tent, and 15 liters of water for the trip (summer). It was an incredible experience and proof of the adventures one can have with the right skills and determination.

How do you prepare for an outdoor trip, and what are your must-have items (besides basic equipment)?
I always check the location and weather forecast before the trip, and explore possibilities for water and food, as well as the terrain of the upcoming journey (e.g., Season: summer vs. winter, Activity: hiking vs. skiing). Once that's settled, I pack the necessary equipment, clothes, and gear - and the art is always not to overpack. :) Among my must-have items, I always go for a good warm (and lightweight) sleeping bag + a good sleeping pad, ensuring optimal conditions for a good night's sleep. For good sleep = more energy and enthusiasm for the trip and thus a better experience.


Do you have any tips for those who want to try outdoor life?
Start small in terms of both time/duration and equipment. Begin with something simple like turning a picnic (e.g., dinner) into a little adventure at a beautiful sunset spot instead of in front of the TV at home. Then, gradually increase the duration, walking distance, overnight stays, or whatever you desire. The most important thing is to ensure you (and your kids/friends) have a successful experience outdoors - it creates motivation for more.


What is your favorite Robens product, and how has it enhanced your outdoor experiences?
One of my favorite products from Robens is the luxurious Couloir 350 sleeping bag. It's lightweight, cozy, and warm, and has accompanied me on many trips in Denmark, Norway, and Iceland. For example, I brought it on a 6-day hiking trip in the Icelandic highlands, where it proved its worth.

 

What new outdoor activities or travels do you plan to explore in the near future?
At the moment, I'm training for a 100 km kayak marathon in Estonia in April. It will be an exciting (and demanding) experience to row down a large river in under 12 hours. Additionally, I'm planning some bikepacking trips in both Denmark and Southern Norway, as well as a multi-day sea kayaking trip in the summer/late summer.


Is there a particular place or type of landscape you dream of experiencing, and why?
I love mountains and the depth they add to the landscape. Having studied and lived in Norway for 2 years, I feel a special connection to the Norwegian mountains. They offer a majestic landscape to hike through and/or kayak in, and this perspective reminds me of how small we are in this world and the importance of taking care of the nature around us.



How do you see the development of outdoor gear and equipment in the coming years?
Having tried various outdoor equipment over the years and discussed and seen different gear on many trips with outdoor life studies in Norway, Denmark, and New Zealand, it's exciting to see how technologies and designs are optimized year by year. I'm especially pleased to see the increased focus on using recycled materials in products. I hope this trend will become the new standard and be optimized in the future.


How do you think we can inspire more people to get outdoors?
I believe there are many ways to do it, but particularly through inclusion. Invite friends and/or family on trips (even the small everyday adventures), so nature becomes a bigger part of everyday life. Communicate through words, films, and pictures, and most importantly, provide inspiration on where to start. Personally, I try to inspire others to spend more time in nature through my photos and by sharing tips for microadventures via my Instagram. Through my work as a photographer, I get many ideas from Visit departments, which are often experts on which hidden natural gems to visit, where one can/may camp overnight, and where the best sunset spots are. I try to pass on all these tips.


Any final thoughts or advice for those looking to dive deeper into their passion for nature?
Go for it! Once you get out, your body and brain get to slow down, and your senses awaken. Start small and/or try to integrate small adventures into your daily life, like enjoying meals outdoors (picnic) or ending the day with a campfire under the stars instead of on the couch in front of the TV. Often, all it takes is warm clothing, a blanket, and a thermos to get outside. Moreover, this change in daily surroundings can create opportunities to connect more with both oneself and loved ones, with fewer distractions.

 

See more from Daniel on his profile @dvphoto.