How many times have we been prescribed “spending time in nature” as an antidote to busting stress, to losing weight, to mending a broken heart, to maintaining sanity? Then why not connect with nature as you travel.
First up, time in nature not only benefits us in person but also helps us understand the vital role it plays in our lives. And as we appreciate nature, we learn to coexist with and support each other as we ought to.
To travel and to connect with nature as you travel is the second-best healer, “Time” being the first as we have been told since the dawn of time (or the dawn of this expression).
How do you connect with nature as you travel you might ask? A good question, I say.
Here are my tips:
1. Go on a hike
One of the best ways to indulge entirely in nature therapy is to go on a hike.
Here are some of the countless benefits it offers:
- You get to visit your favourite place and explore its natural heritage. Scotland is one perfect example I could think of for this activity.
- On a leisurely hike, you could also indulge in other hobbies such as photography, painting, wildlife watching, writing, reading, and the list goes on.
- Numerous health benefits such as reduced stress levels, reduced risk of heart diseases, enhance mental and physical health, among others, are all part of the package.
2. Nature Adventures
Even better going on nature adventures such as horseback riding, kayaking, paddleboarding, bouldering, snorkelling, mountain biking, camping, etc. is a fun way to detox, get active and get closer to nature.
3. A day at the beach
On a beach holiday, go for long walks listening to the ebb and flow of the sea. Watch the seashore creatures: mussels strewn across the shore, oystercatchers chasing after, perhaps, oysters, cormorants fishing, seagulls screeching, and crabs going about their business, and call it a day with a beautiful sunset on the horizon.
Visiting a beach during low tide is one of the best ways to discover a minuscule part of otherwise vast marine life.
4. Enjoy sunrise/sunset at beautiful locations
It is one of my favourite activities when I travel. After a hectic day of visiting all the beautiful landmarks, what better way to unwind than to enjoy a beautiful sunset with a favourite drink or snack. I usually research for the best spots to enjoy the sunset before I visit a place and include it in my “to-visit” list.
And if you start your day early, start by enjoying the sunrise at a beautiful location. It could even be from your hotel room if it is a room with a view.
5. Watch the local flora and fauna
Discover the local flora and fauna. Observe how the landscape changes as the altitude, climatic conditions, available natural resources change. Also, certain species of plants and animals can only be found in certain regions referred to as endemic species. Going on a hunt to discover such species could be an enriching experience.
Some examples of endemic species include:
- Lion-tailed macaques found in the Western Ghats, India;
- European roe deer found in, well, Europe;
- Adansonia grandidieri trees, a species of baobabs found in the Island of Madagascar and
- Aesculus hippocastanum, the horse chestnut tree found in South-East Europe.
6. Travel and learn geography
As you travel and spend time in nature, you learn geography firsthand. Observe unique terrains that come in the form of volcanic mountains like Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania; glaciers, like the glaciers of Iceland; fascinating rock formations like Grand Canyon in the U.S, dunes like Erg Chebbi in Morocco. Notice the variation in terrain as you travel and comprehend geography better.
7. Wildlife conservation volunteering
Volunteering is hard work but fun considering the experience one gains being in a new place, meeting new people, learning about a new culture, and above all, making a difference by conserving wildlife. Besides, researchers and NGOs are constantly looking for volunteers. I’ve assisted a few researchers in the field of herpetology myself and had a gratifying experience learning about the reptiles of India.
Things to keep in mind while you connect with nature as you travel
- Respect the local flora and fauna
- Stay on designated trails, if you don’t want to be the next “missing person”.
- Keep waste to a minimum
- Dispose of waste properly
- Take only photographs as souvenirs
- Maintain distance from wildlife
- Check for weather cautions
- Refrain from feeding animals
- Observe smoking restrictions