In today’s busy world, it can be easy to forget how beautiful the outside world is. The real outside world that you have to be outside to appreciate. Nature has so much beauty in so many forms, great and small, that we’d all do well to spend a little more time appreciating the beauty that’s there for us all. Taking some time to unplug–really unplug–from the hustle, bustle, and technology of our everyday lives can help us to clear our heads, focus our thoughts, and remember that there are places where digital beeps and electric glows are replaced by the sound of crickets and a night sky full of stars. If you think that reconnecting, or maybe connecting for the first time, with nature is something that could work for you, there are few things to keep in mind that will help you make the most of your time away from “civilization.”
Commit to it
Don’t just say you’re going to spend more time outside when you get a chance. Find a way to carve it into your schedule. If your job or your location makes it impossible to spend weekends away, that’s okay. If you can find an hour or so a week, take it. If you live in a very urban area that doesn’t have a ton of green space, that’s okay. Find a park or hiking trail. Obviously, you want to be safe, so don’t stray too far from marked paths or wander so aimlessly that you get yourself lost. If you’re concerned about safety, you can carry a whistle or air horn with you. You can even bring your phone–but turn it off! It’s only there in case you really, really need it.
Do it alone
While it can be great to share experiences with friends and loved ones, make your nature excursions a solo gig. Communing with nature should be about you and your surroundings, and having a friend along will probably lead to more chatting between the two of you and less of a conversation between you and the environment. Being alone gives you a better chance to really see the trees, flowers, and other plants. Being quiet means you’ll be able to hear the birds and bugs and other sounds of nature. In short, only by being alone will you really be able to appreciate what being unplugged really means.
Take it in
While taking a hike might be the best way to get to nature, don’t keep walking right through it. Stop and sit for a while. Look around. Really look around. Notice what makes one tree different from the next. See how some flowering vines climb up the trees while others stay low to the ground. Maybe you’ll find features that somehow remind you of the course your own life has taken or even things that remind you of family and friends. Maybe a tree looks like it started growing in one direction but has had to adjust its path to keep from being overtaken by other things in its way. Maybe you’ll see a flower that reminds you of someone you’ve lost or just haven’t seen in awhile. Maybe you’ll hear birds that you’ve never heard before. Whatever you see or hear, you’re bound to be reminded that the “outside world” is still there, still beautiful, still bigger than our everyday workaday world, and still the best place to relax, unwind, unplug, and reconnect.