I don’t take photos. Ok, I do ever. But generally, I don’t. I’ve just checked, and in total on my computer, which is the only place they are, I have just over 6000 photos. And I’ve been alive for 36 years, and travelled to nearly 50 different countries. That’s roughly 300 photos per year of my (digital) adult life; less than one a day. In general, I don’t do photos. For me, the point of travel, especially when it’s outdoors and in nature, is to escape from technology, modernity and screen time; to switch off from social media; to stop recording, appearing or presenting, and simply to be. So, how do I grow the profile of wilderness therapy in the UK without photos or social media?
Walking and talking are the main things that humans do. These skills distinguish us from other species and define our position in the ecosystem. The fact that we can do both at the same time is a tremendous boon. Even more fortuitously, it is now being recognised that doing both together is a good idea. Walking and talking is a therapy for mental health.
Pilgrimages are just walks. After all, walks have destinations and are deliberate, and they can be extended over many days. And walks can be serious, rich and inspirational. The word pilgrim derives from the Latin ‘peregrinus’ meaning ‘foreigner’ from the words ‘per ager’ meaning ‘through the fields’. A pilgrim is one who comes through the fields, a wanderer from afar, a person on a walk. But aside from the decline of religious faith in the modern world, there are reasons we don’t call ordinary walks pilgrimages. Choosing to label a walk a ‘pilgrimage’ elevates its significance considerably. So what distinguishes a pilgrimage from a walk?
A guest post from blogger and traveller Danny Newman about the interplay of mindfulness and nature.
All of us could do with slowing things down, taking a step back and making personal wellness a priority. Practising mindfulness andspending time in nature are two great ways of doing just that. Put them together and you have an ideal combination for enhancing your well-being. So, let’s take a look at mindfulness and nature in turn, before considering the benefits of combining the two.
A guest post from blogger and adventurer Seanna Fallon, about ipse wilderness' NYE journey.
I was tucked up in my sleeping bag when an anticlimactic dribble of fireworks cracked, a fresh page was turned, and a host of new hopes, dreams and goals were born. It was midnight.
I thought of all the people around the world, intoxicated in a club, or cuddled up on their sofas with a cup of tea, surrounded by those they love most, at glitzy parties or intimate dinners, or even fast asleep, greeting 2018 in the way that they had dreamed. Meanwhile I was feeling like I’d struck gold with my new year, and lamented the ones I’d wasted, doing what I thought I should be doing instead of following my heart.
This was where I was meant to be.
It seems to me that the pedagogical climate of the early 21st century shares a great deal with this attitude of the Romantic poets. From the millennial optimism of Ben Fogle and the Taransay experiment, to the Noughties popularity of Robert Macfarlane, Chris Packham, Forest Schools and mindfulness, to the new developments in forest bathing and wilderness therapy, sociologists, psychologists, teachers and politicians know, deep down, that Nature is good for children, for all of us, and that screens are, mostly, bad. Our sensibilities in post-modern, post-industrial Britain, are profoundly Romantic at heart.