Hiking the West Highland Way was a great and though experience. I pushed my limits and learned so much about myself. I also realized how good nature is for me – and not just for me, but for us, people. With the cities growing worldwide, it’s something we tend to forget. This is what I took home with me…
A different rythm
Hiking the Way was so good for me because I was forced to go back to the basics. I was outdoors all the time and I adjusted my life to it. I lived in rythm with nature, rose up at dawn and went to bed when it started to get dark. There was nothing to distract me from just being present in the moment. All I had to do was walk, eat and sleep. And it was amazing, for me.
Talk with a stranger
One evening on the Way, my brother and were setting up our camp and a bit later a Scot arrived and asked if it was allright to camp near us (we had found a great spot). We said it was all right – we didn’t mind some company and the land is for everyone – and he put up his tent a few metres from us. Once installed we joined each other to talk about the Way and about life. Soon we started talking about how beautiful the surrounding nature was and how we forgot how good it did us.
Humanity & nature
The Scot told us how he was saddened by the fact that we, humans, didn’t care that much for nature anymore. How we forget how close we actually are with it – by creating a distance and so forgetting the basic link that goes back to our first moments on this planet. It’s easy to lose contact with nature if you live in a city. We created lifes with so much luxury that we often don’t feel the need to leave that behind. Sometimes people believe that you have nature on one side and humanity on the other side. However, we are deeply intertwined. Only many of us don’t know nature that well anymore. And unknown really is unloved.
Now, I do know that doing a hike like this – or camping – isn’t for everyone. And that’s not what I’m saying at all. All I’m saying is, go to the park on a sunny day – plan a walk in the woods – just don’t forget to go outside from time to time. It’s scientifically proven that nature is good for us. In Japan ‘forest healing’ is now a new trend – doctors send you outsides and you have to wander through nature slowly. It’s a good trend, but it’s not new. It’s a basic human need.
I love being outdoors, but in my daily life, even I tend to forget. I have to work for school, I have to do this, I have to do that – and before I know it, it has been a while. I feel that mentally as well. My head grows more chaotic and I’m less calm. What I love about being in nature is that it grounds me. It allows me to get back in contact with my body and it pulls me back from the daily stresses. I take the time to feel how I feel, I take the time to listen to my body, I take the time to focus on my breathing and I just am. It creates the space to take a step back from my life to look at it from a distance, which often clears things up.
If I get sucked into the current of daily life, I force myself to take the time to go out. It can be a day hike or a run in the woods or a simple walk of an hour or just sitting under a tree in a park – as long as nature is near. Then I a deep breath and take the time to stand still. And I try to be just in the moment.
Travels like this one to Scotland remind me of what is truly important in life.
And in no way I’m trying to lecture you or tell you what to do. I’m just sharing with you what I found on the Way.