Many of us look for ways to get a deeper and more meaningful experience from our vacations. And to do that, a lot of us turn to nature. After all, it’s the perfect canvas upon which keen travellers can project their existentialism.
You don’t need to be immersed in the depths of wilderness to reap the benefits of forging a real and powerful connection with Mother Nature. Honour her presence throughout the year, and you can reach out for those nurturing and live-giving arms in ways that are much closer to home than you would think. The next time you find yourself travelling or in a breathtaking setting, take a second to connect with Mother Nature on your trips.
Spend time outside in the elements
Even if you’re not a big fan of the outdoors, it’s worth setting a little time aside on every trip or at home to prioritise spending some time in nature. This could be something as simple as listening to the waves crash against the rocks one early morning before anyone else shows up at the beach or walking along city trail that’s a little tucked away.
A lot us have a completely different state of mind while we’re travelling. It’s crucial to capitalise on that by spending time in a scenic environment that allows our mind to wander and appreciate the natural beauty surrounding us.
Try forest bathing
The first time I heard about shinrin yoku — the Japanese practice of forest bathing — I was racing along a hiking trail, and my friend told me to slow down and try forest bathing.
Developed in the 1980s, forest bathing has become an important practice of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. To try forest bathing, all you have to do is leave behind your electronic devices so you can fully immerse yourself in the experience, wander through a forest and deploy your senses.
While forest bathing, all you have to do is closely observe what is unfolding around you and take it all in. For example, the shape and colour of a leaf, the sound of wind moving woodlands, and the murmur of animals somewhere in the trees.
Spend a day or two somewhere scenic
Given that most of us spend our waking life in offices, polluted and artificial environments — it’s no wonder that our bodies want fresh air and oxygen. Even if you are a hardcore city lover, a day or two here and there can have great benefits.
Our sympathetic nervous systems are often in overdrive, but nature helps to calm and soothe us. You don’t need to head into the wild on foot for days and days, just a couple of days in a national park will leave you feeling rejuvenated and closer to Mother Nature.
Make contact with Mother Earth
Earthing, or grounding, is a practice where you make contact with Mother Earth by walking barefoot on different surfaces. The idea is that by doing this, you allow negatively-charged electron energy to pass from the ground to your body.
Feet hold a sacred place in many traditions and cultures, and in alternative medicinal practices, feet are considered to have touchpoints that access every single part of our body. Walking barefoot on the ground is said to do wonders for our health, and some scientific research has even shown this practice to be healing in other ways. Think of it this way: how many of us love the feeling of sand between your toes? Or walking barefoot on green grass?
So if you’re a keen traveller, take advantage of the electron energy in different parts of the world by throwing your shoes off and walking barefoot in some of planet Earth’s furthest corners. Who needs a souvenir?
Prioritise travel experiences in nature
Since the dawn of time, humans have looked beyond themselves to make sense of our existence. We have studied the heavens, the seas, all creatures big and small, and all kinds of environments — all the while being baffled and awe-inspired by the forces of nature.
Many of us struggle with feelings of disconnect — while Mother Earth alone may not be the antidote to that — she certainly lends herself to helping us feel more oneness. Prioritising travel experiences in nature —for example, seeing northern lights, waking up early for a sunrise, and stargazing — can help us to feel more connected.