When on vacation, I need nature. Greens and blues and views, those are my preferred types of getaways.
Of course, sandy beaches are fine and lazy days are good but I want to visually breathe in some landscape.
So much of our days are spent sitting behind a computer screen, checking messages on our phones or watching things on Netflix. I personally need a break from that life.
Hikes are an easy solution. Mountains are preferred, with rocky rivers and woodsy wilderness where the air is fresh and clean. In all honesty, though, you can really find places to hike anywhere.
Disconnect to reconnect
The beauty of hiking isn’t just the movement and the connection to nature, but it’s the inevitable dive into a depart from all the buzz. Being thrust into a moment of inescapable meditation can be incredibly renewing.
That is if you let it take over you. So first things first, be in the moment.
Don’t listen to music, don’t even take pictures if you can help it.
Be wherever you are.
Even if you are stuck with your mind spinning and overthinking, let it go. Let it think. Let it be.
Enjoy the moment of movement. Each step propelling you forward in space, your body working together: breathing, beating, being.
Stop and look around at the trees, the leaves, the animals and appreciate the world. All of the world existing in the same moment together.
People pay for meditation apps and yoga classes, I prefer to take hikes.
Travel back in time
You’re going to think I’m crazy.
To preface, yes, of course, I would find it difficult to live without technology. Electricity and modern sewage systems are pretty clutch.
However, to take it back to living in the moment. I can seriously imagine living in the past.
Now maybe not neolithic past, but having to work for your livelihood past. Fetching water, washing clothes by hand and trekking to the store. Of course, having a horse would also be a possibility.
The whole period of trade seems pretty cool. I would love to weave baskets all day and trade them for bread. I’m definitely idealizing this time period, but can you imagine? No gas, no phone bill, just simple living.
It’s not until much, much more recent history that we’ve adopted ways to move without having to work very hard.
We work hard all day tapping at keyboards and using our incredibly intelligent brains to build things that we can’t even see on platforms we can’t even touch.
With cars and trains and planes, we are constantly on the move but never actually moving. We are stuck at desks and then sitting in transit and it’s messing with people.
How to actually time travel
I grew up on a farm. Not a huge agro-beast of a farm, but a hobby farm. My dad thinks he’s a farmer.
Learning how to plant, pull weeds, play in cornfields, feed the chickens and collect eggs were all part of my childhood.
Incorporating learning and movement into the way they raised us was genius. (Thanks mom and dad.) Now kids are sitting with tablets and tapping at moving birds or candy. Not just kids, most people are doing that.
So, I don’t think it’s surprising that people pay for fitness classes and yoga as a means of escape and managing anxiety. These are our new means of survival.
It’s our way to sub in something that for years we simply did. We had no choice. We evolved to stand on two legs so that we could move more efficiently.
If you want to really go back in time though, think again about hiking. I can’t say the first time will be easy. You may wish you were back on your couch Netflixing.
Whatever kind of trail that may mean
There are all kinds of hikes. You don’t have to take a steep uphill trek to the top of a mountain unless you are in the right shape for that.
Many hikes are soft, flat trails in shady national parks. Take your time and allow yourself to escape along a trail where you can connect with yourself and with the world around you.
If you love traveling, make it a goal to fit a hike into your next adventure. Find a place that people have been walking for years and see parts of nature that have been alive for longer than you can imagine.
Prefer to stick close to home? There’s certainly a little park or national treasure not so far away with simple trails for you to check out.
As for me, those mountains are always something calling my name. I love the inexplicable feeling that comes after working hard to hike up and up to finally see the scenic views that no photo can ever truly capture.
So step away from the screens. Find a place where you can be physically and mentally present with your body, moving through space. Somewhere you acknowledge the air around you and appreciate that it’s there for you to breathe.
The subsequent freedom is the most liberating thing you’ll have felt in a while.
You’ll understand once you do it.
Kristen Klepac is a world traveler who has climbed mountains in Poland, explored the ruins of Pompeii and is currently on her way to settling down in and uncovering the wonders of France. Between diving into a good read, her love of music and learning French, she works as a freelance writer with Reservations.com specializing in travel writing and sharing her passion for travel, personal growth and wanderlust.
Image courtesy of Monika Geble.