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“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” Unknown


Travel generally means to make a journey, typically of some length. This is a rather vague definition but that could be for a reason. Travel means something different to everyone as it’s a personal experience defined by the traveler.

Some people’s perspective of the recent movie Wild starring Reese Witherspoon would have us believe that traveling to the wild is a way of escaping life. The heroine in this story decides to hike a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail alone after her marriage fails and her mother dies. But really this story is about a woman who travels to the wild to find herself and ultimately, life.

So if traveling to the wild is all about learning about yourself, about life and not letting life escape us, what are some of the reasons we should do it?

1.        To re-evaluate life

Like the heroine in Wild, traveling to a faraway destination in the wilderness can allow us to gain perspective of our current life, away from the madness of daily living, the pressures of our family, culture and friends. Visiting and spending time in the wild can allow us to gain a clear view of our lives and ourselves so that we can honestly understand what we want from life.

2.        To slow down

When something is new, the mind focuses on everything, lengthening our sense of time. The different colours, smells, wildlife, plants and sunsets all seem new. We savour each minute to appreciate and navigate the differences we find.

3.        To embrace Minimalism

Traveling light can become a useful skill when packing for a trip, particularly in the wilderness when you have to carry it with you. The skill of minimalism can not only be useful for travelling but also everyday life. The mind becomes de-cluttered and an untethered state of being.

4.        To Learn to be alone

As you spend more time with yourself than anyone else, learning to have fun by yourself is a useful skill. Traveling alone to the wild allows you to observe nature without interruptions. No one is talking and distracting your thoughts or the animals inhabiting the area. It allows you to sit quietly and ponder life and find a sense of contentment with yourself.

5.        To discover new personality traits

A personality shift can occur when we travel. A recent study found that people that study and live abroad changes people’s personalities in a positive way such as giving us greater kindness, openness, agreeableness and emotional stability. Other studies have found that spending time in the wild can make us more relaxed and give us sense of calm, particularly where there is a lot of green. We are separated from the screen and all the negative energy that technology emits. The colour green itself psychologically encourages us to be calm.

Kathryn Lambert

Kathryn Lambert

Kathryn Lambert recently completed a PhD in ecology which allowed her to spend a lot of time out in the wild, observing nature. She wishes to share her experiences of travel and the effects it has on the mind and the soul with the general public in hope that others will be encouraged to take the time to observe nature.