For many people, getting away from their everyday routine, and out into nature, is an extremely sought after experience – and one that may represent the culmination of a year’s worth of planning or more.
So, how do you make sure that you have that transformative experience in nature? The kind of thing that leaves a real impression on you, and changes the way you look at things when you get back home?
Here are a few tips for helping make that transformative experience in nature a reality.
One’s imagination is an amazing thing, and it’s not just a way of idly amusing ourselves, or distracting ourselves from reality.
According to various poets, thinkers, and significant figures throughout history, including the poet Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, and the psychologist Carl Jung, our imaginations often actually help us to connect to some of the deepest truths and levels of reality, and to experience life in the richest and most authentic of ways.
Various traditional tribal people from around the world have also reportedly used visualization exercises in religious and spiritual practices, that have helped them to connect with the land more intimately.
Next time you’re out in nature, make a point to effectively engage your imagination. That might mean visualizing the forest as a great entity that is trying to communicate with you, imagining stories and adventures involving the animals you see, or a wide variety of other things.
Life is often at its richest, most poetic, and most insightful, when we use our active imaginations to connect more deeply in this way.
One of the fantastic things about travel, is that it often allows us to get outside the day-to-day frame of reference that we tend to be trapped in. This often makes it difficult – if not impossible – to come up with solutions to our problems, or to identify the best way to move forward in life.
When you are in a new place and are doing different things, you often end up being able to reflect on your normal everyday life from more of an “outsider’s perspective,” and there’s a good likelihood that insights and ideas will occur to you in a way that they normally would not have before.
Being in nature can help to significantly magnify this effect by putting us in a deeply alive and more holistic context than we tend to be in over the course of our normal everyday lives and routines. It’s not for nothing that so many great artists have drawn inspiration from the natural world, after all.
One great thing you can do in order have that transformative experience in nature, is to simply bring a notebook and pen with you, and to use it to record ideas and insights that come to you as you hike, stoke the campfire, enjoy the sunrise, and so on.
It might be that you think up particular goals, are inspired to take up a different career, figure out a solution to a problem that has been on your mind for some time, or get the initial idea for a novel that you would like to write.
These moments of inspiration can be very powerful things, so you should appreciate them and take them seriously when they present themselves.
There are all sorts of deep, rich, and powerful experiences that you can have while spending time in nature, but you’re only going to actually be able to appreciate – or even notice – those things if you are present and engage with what’s right in front of you.
Too often, we end up missing a lot of the richness, beauty, and significance that’s right in front of us in life, because we are too distracted, or too caught up in our thoughts of what a given experience should be as opposed to just being able to notice, appreciate, and engage in the experience for what it is.
Next time you’re out in a natural setting, make an extra effort to notice what’s happening around you, and to appreciate things in a relaxed and present way, rather than getting overly caught up in the specifics of how you ideally want the experience to unfold.
While it may not seem like a very significant or “transformative” thing to mention, making sure that you are well fed and well rested on your trip can actually have a tremendous effect on how the trip plays out, and on how capable you are of truly enjoying it, and benefiting from it on a transformative level.
For many people, if not for everyone, chronic sleep deprivation and hunger can turn even the best mood sour, and can prevent us from seeing and appreciating a lot of the magic of various experiences.
A lot of people, when they are traveling, don’t pay very much attention to things like nutrition – and it’s especially likely that you might drop the ball in this regard when you’re camping, and are just trying to pack a handful of easy-to-transport essentials.
Keeping yourself well stocked with your basic necessities is also key. Find out about ways to properly equip yourself, including toiletries, packing a first aid kit, or knowing how much food to stock up on.
The better you can take care of yourself and get plenty of rest, the better your experience should be.
Being present, writing down thoughts/ideas, engaging your imagination, and being properly rested and nourished are all key to experiencing that transformative experience in nature that we all long to have.
Nature has a lot to offer. We just need to listen, immerse, and enjoy!
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