Modern technology has had a major impact on our lives. Gadgets and mobile phones may increase our knowledge and expand our capabilities to communicate, but they also limit our physical mobility by us glued to our seats and limiting our walks within the concrete jungle.
We may sometimes miss or get curious about how going to a real woodland, forest or jungle feels like. Nature is calling us to explore it and reconnect with it. This is why every once in a while, we need to disconnect from our digital world and experience nature up close. If you think nature trips are going to be boring and unfulfilling, you’ll be surprised to know what you’ve been missing as you get close to nature.
Camping is one the most popular options when it comes to nature trips. Take time to disconnect from your TV, computer and mobile phone and also get away from traffic and stressors by going camping at your local park, state park or campsite. Bring with you the bare essentials that you’ll need for camping –food, water, change of clothes, tent, utility knife and a rechargeable or solar-powered lamp – and make sure to keep all of them in lightweight backpacks as they make a whole lot of difference. In order for you to enjoy the scenery and the atmosphere of nature, plan out your camping trip a few days ahead and schedule your trip early in the morning to avoid traffic jams and to reach your camping destination early. You can also get to choose your ideal camping spot if you arrive early, and you have more time to explore the surroundings after you have set up camp. Take time to breath in the fresh, and the revitalizing air in the forest, feel the cool breeze, the brush of the leaves, touch the tree barks and stems and get to personally see the natural forest-dwelling animals.
You can choose to go camping alone to have a personal connection with nature and have your own private moment of being free from the hustle and bustle of the big city, the daily grind and the worries that bother you. Camping alone is also a good way to meditate and reexamine your inner self while being taken inside the loving cradle of Mother Nature. Camping is also a great way for you and your family or friends to enjoy nature. Make it a group or family activity by tagging family or friends along ahead of time and letting them know of your camping plans. This way, they can pitch in ideas, more stuff to bring and help you set up camp faster and more efficiently. Again, time is of the essence, so let them know that you’ll be leaving for camp early, and there are many benefits of arriving to the camping site early.
If you personally prefer a convenient camping experience, or if your family or friends also prefer it that way, you can have the option of renting a cabin in a park or in a remote, forested area. Getting set up is easier and you can have more outdoor activities to do, such as hiking, trail biking, or simply sitting back on the porch to enjoy the relaxing air and scenery. Enjoy the evenings by lighting a campfire and roasting marshmallows or sharing stories. Again, this is a nature trip so keep your gadget usage to the lowest minimum even if the cabins have electrical supply.
Learn to Love the Trail
You may have already done several walks around the city for leisure or for exercise. You may have also brought your bike for a spin around the city. What’s the difference of doing these on a local park or woodlands? You’ll learn that there are many benefits of doing trail walks or biking. For one, you get to be away from the usual city scene. You get to try out a new terrain which is more challenging and you get to sweat it out more than your usual treadmill or neighborhood walks. Biking on paved park trails or going to a biking trail for an even greater challenge will surely give you the adrenaline rush that city biking could not provide. Best of all, you get to see a different scenery – one that is refreshing and close to nature. Don’t be afraid to get your shoes or your feet dirty. That is the best way to enjoy nature and feel being one with it.
Be a Botanist or a Biologist for a Day
Okay, so you may have been too exhausted due to having a heavy workout the other day. That shouldn’t stop you from enjoying nature and exploring it. Go to your local or state park and bring your old biology notebook from high school or college and a piece of pen to scribble down notes you want to add. You may have loved or hated your biology subject during your school days, but whatever it is, it would be great to do some actual exploring and a bit of scientific research while you check out the flora and fauna of a park or nature reserve. You get to see animals you may have seen only in your books or get to explore trees, plants and flowers you have read about up close.
Your park ranger or park guide may give you a list of local trees and endemic animal species that can be found in the park area and you can turn your notebook into a nature exploration bucket list. You list down the names of the trees, plants and animals and tick off the ones that you have seen. You may not be able to see all of them at once, so you’ll have more reasons to visit the park again to complete your bucket list. Follow and take to heart the instructions and advice by park rangers. The most important thing is to respect wildlife. Don’t ever attempt to approach or feed wild animals. Do not collect or bring wild plants and leave them as they are in the wild. Always bring a trail map with you and stay on marked and designated trails. Getting lost not only can be harmful to you, it also harms the wildlife around you. You may inadvertently disturb natural animal habitats as you struggle to find your way back.
Do Bird Watching
If you wish to take a rest from physical exertion when going on a nature trip, just bring your binoculars and stop on a clearing near a forest to watch different bird species in their natural habitat. You’ll be glad to see the different colorful birds as they move from tree to tree. If you wish to see flocks and migrating birds, you can visit marshlands and lakeshores to see bird migration in all its glory. You also get to listen to the calls and songs of nearby birds – something you don’t get to hear every day.
Do Nature Photography
This is one of the easier things you can do while still getting to enjoy nature. Get your camera or your high-resolution smartphone camera ready. The good thing is you don’t have to be a professional photographer to do nature photography. Another good thing is you don’t have to look far and wide or travel to distant locations just to get a good shot or stunning images. Even in your own backyard or neighborhood, you’ll get to see striking images and scenes like iridescent dewdrops early in the morning, newly blooming spring flowers or the lush green vegetation of summer. When you go out of town, don’t let the beautiful scenery escape you. Stop for a while and take a snapshot of waves crashing on a cliff, the verdant rolling hills, or the glistening lake reflecting the sun. The important thing is finding a scene that is close to your heart and also captures the essence and beauty of nature. Once you have captured images of nature that you like, you can get to view the images again and revisit the spots where you took those images. Better yet, you can share your captured images to friends, family and co-workers. You can also convince them to start their own nature photography and form a small club of nature photographers.
Find Your Natural Happy Place
Sometimes, nature can be your refuge from the stress and tensions of everyday life. You can find a place away from the city that you can be at peace and meditate. Find an overlooking spot on a nearby hill or mountain. You can spend a few hours on that spot once a month to relieve your stress, relax, unwind and remove the negative vibes in your life. Green plants also give off the relaxing aura that not only relieves tired eyes, they also give a sense of renewed vitality. If forests and mountains are far from the city you live in, find alternative places that you can feel close to nature and be at peace. If you are in the bay area, find time to visit the seashore at your convenient time or if you prefer to meditate and concentrate, choose a time when there are very few people around, like early in the morning. If you feel like sharing your happy place with friends, you can let them join with you and let them see for themselves why you chose that spot as your happy place to get close to nature.
Do a New Outdoor Hobby
Take your nature trips to a higher level by doing a new outdoor hobby. You can do your hiking, trail biking or mountain biking on a regular basis. Instead of doing these activities once in a while or when you feel like doing it, make it a regular activity. Learn to love this new hobby because you’ll emerge a healthier and better person when you do so. You’ll breathe fresh air, get a better quality of oxygen supply, have a more challenging terrain and spend longer, more enjoyable hours doing your hobby. Remember to let your family or friends know that you’ll be doing these activities, especially if you’re alone. Let them know where you are headed and when you are expected to get back. This is an effective security measure of letting them know where to find you in case you get lost or run into trouble. Also, having friends go with you can keep you safe and also make your outdoor hobby more enjoyable. You and your friends get to share your respective appreciation of nature.
If you don’t wish to venture far from home and go to a park or camping site, your own backyard can be a great place to still enjoy nature. Starting a garden in your backyard can be a great activity to still be close to nature while enjoying the outdoor environment at the same time. You get to till the soil, plant different types of ornamental plants or vegetables and watch how they grow into lush, verdant garden plants. Not only do you get connected with your plants, you also help create a new environment for small animals and insects to thrive. You may notice some unexpected visitors like frogs, beetles and butterflies. Don’t drive them out as they can be actually helpful to you. They protect you and your garden from harmful insects like mosquitoes, flies and ticks. You may not immediately notice it, but you’ll feel the air circulating around your house and your backyard becomes more refreshing and invigorating than before. The veggies you plant will eventually become fresh and clean ingredients for your home cooked foods. Not only are you eating healthily, you also get to feel the joy and satisfaction of knowing that you grew the veggies yourself.
There are so many creative ways you can do to enjoy nature. Always keep in mind to set aside time doing outdoor activities to get close to nature when technology, stress and pollution from the city overwhelm you. Make it a point to reconnect with nature and appreciate the things that nature has provided us. No matter how far we’ve come when it comes to technology, we can’t deny the fact that nature has provided the raw materials for our modern amenities. Thus, it is important that we enjoy, appreciate and preserve nature.