Skip to main content

Wildness. This word can mean a lot of things in our modern world. What comes to your mind when you hear the word “wildness”? For some, images of hungry wolves, growling bears or the inhabitants of the undeveloped amazon jungle come up first. For others, memories of a childhood spent roaming the empty lots of the neighborhood or interacting with the feral cats in the back ally appear. Others think of people with long tangled hair or tattooed bikers or simply not following the rules. Wildness can be described in myriad ways, and there is no “right” answer to the question posed above.   But it’s really interesting to see what does come out when the question gets asked.

For me wildness is living in a way that is consistent with what I value most: treading lightly on the earth while living close to it; honoring that which calls from my soul rather than the things that beckon from societal rules; making a point to tell the stories that illustrate what it means to be part of nature instead of lording over it. To me wildness is figuring out how to identify the part of myself that is akin to rivers and mountains and soil and trees and holding what that feels like as my center point. I’m taking a class right now with Bayo Akomolafe titled “we will dance with mountains” – fitting indeed for this question of wildness, because that is what wildness is to me. Living in a way that allows me to dance with mountains.

what does wildness mean to you - we are wildness - rewild

Here at We Are Wildness, we have a core group of ambassadors – a group of folks who embody wildness and live their version of it as best they can each day. What follows is what they have to say about what wildness means.

Angelo Valkenborgh: For me it’s to return back to the essence of life with knowledge and understanding of the natural world. A healthy and adventurous lifestyle is possible.

Chelsey Mccaw: Our intrinsic nature. Truth in physical, manifested reality.

Melissa Amber: Wildness; is ‘born of nature’ – our innate way of being. I equate wildness with a deep inner stength and resiliency to ones soul journey. It is living the expression of our elemental self, pure of heart, full of spirit and innately connected to the natural world within and around us, honouring this sacred union. Wildness is the soul of who we are, and where we come from, our true roots.

Hailey Van Dyk: Our true essence. Where we come from, where we belong, and where we need to go back to.

Vienna Kaussen: Wildness is how in touch one is to their true spirit. It means to express who you truly are in a wild way, and to find your spiritual, physical and emotional connection to Mother Nature. Just like wild animals, we all share similar characteristics as to how we are connected to the wild world, and I think to explore that is to be in touch with your true being.

Jessy Mclavey: Wildness is honoring your truth. We were brought into this world with everything we need to experience human life; a physical body, ten fingers, ten toes and the capacity for love. Wildness is deliberately removing ourselves from the modern blur, feeling the hair stand on our arms and taking time to face the grace and challenge. Earth provides with the tools she gave us. Wildness is being yourself in the most essential form.

Emily White: Wildness means not being afraid to step out of your comfort zone. To not be afraid of what the wild holds. There are so many times when I’m climbing a 14,000ft mountain and look down and think of what a long fall that would be if something happened. But I can’t let that fear stop me. Because if I did, I wouldn’t ever reach the top of that peak. I would never experience the stillness, the calming of my soul and mind as I look out for miles and miles. I would never be wild. Wildness means getting out there, in any way you can. Getting off the beaten path and exploring things for yourself. And finding who you are while doing it. That is wildness.

Dave Barker: Wildness for me is an intrinsic state of mind and being. An understanding that we are part of an interconnected and interdependent world – an understating of cohabitation and connection with all that we call nature.

Amanda Shale: Wildness means feeling at home outside with nature. It means being able to not only hear, but to trust your intuition and instincts. It means honoring the code that all life lives by and that is to take only what you need while causing no harm. Wildness to me is much more than weekend warrior adventures, it is the only way we can all live in harmony with all of mother nature’s jewels.

Kelly Clark: Wildness is a state of being. A claiming of our life as people who walk with nature, who honor the lands and waters we inhabit by living closely with them, and whose very essence is rooted deep on the earth.

Iris Nabalo: Wildness – to me it means living connected to everything that is wild, in its natural state. Our own true nature, our food, our land, our homes, Mother Earth…everything thrives when we leave it wild. Cultivating this connecting with Nature…that is wildness to me.

Dailyn Lewis: You cannot find yourself if you’re constantly trying to define yourself. And there is no better place than in the wild to drop all of the titles and labels and just BE. To me, THAT is wildness.

Monique Green: There is nothing more inspiring than standing on the summit of a mountain, swimming in the edge of the ocean, walking through waterfall mist, or just witnessing a golden sunrise. It is the most natural form of beauty and it is a freedom for the soul. Wildness to me is captured in these moments. They are beautiful and untouched and a reminder of how important the natural world is.

Amelia Wachtin: Wildness is perfectly imperfect in its chaos. It is living with passion and curiosity for what surrounds us. It is connecting with something so much greater than ourselves. Delving into the natural world with respect and an understanding that it is inherently intelligent, and that we are not separate from its power.


What does wildness mean to you?

Heidi Barr

Heidi Barr

Heidi Barr is the author of 12 Tiny Things: Simple Ways to Live a More Intentional Life (due out in January 2021) as well as four other works of non-fiction. A commitment to cultivating ways of being that are life-giving and sustainable for people, communities and the planet provides the foundation for her work. She lives in Minnesota with her family where they tend a large vegetable garden, explore nature and do their best to live simply. Despite working for an app-based tech start up, she plans to put off getting a smartphone as long as possible. Learn more about her work at