Back to Nature – every now and again

A few weeks ago my sister and I did a 9 day horse trek through the Kimberleys – a remote region of Australia in the far north western corner of this rather large continent. It was amazing. Beautiful. Mind-clearing. Gorgeous. Adventurous. Fun. Exciting. Relaxing. Awesome. Highly recommended! Look up Diggers Rest Station 🙂

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One of the many things I loved about it was to be so immersed in nature and to be so far away from human influence. No phone reception for most of the days, not seeing any people all day long other than our group of riders, totally surrounded by the beautiful bush and its inhabitants.

One day during the trip I was washing my hair and my clothes in a gorgeous little creek near our campsite. I was very mindful to not use too much soap even though it was organic, plant-based and grey water safe, but with with all the little fishies in the creek (that kept on trying to nibble my toes and knees) I really didn’t want to introduce any kind of foreign chemicals into their home that might make them sick and wreak havoc in the foodchain. As I was kneeling there in the shallow water rinsing my clothes I felt very connected to my ancestors who, once upon a time, would have washed their clothes in fresh streams, too, just like I was doing now. It got very clear to me just how much we depend on nature and its resources – if somebody had spoilt the water upstream then I wouldn’t have been able to wash myself and my clothes. It’s as simple as that. Even nowadays in our modern world we still very much depend on nature. The connections and dependencies may be harder to see in our complicated lives today but they’re still very much there. I also realised just how hard it must have been to get a white shirt white again back in the days and I felt strong appreciation for the clever minds that invented the washing machine.

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I often wonder where our future is taking us. Fossil fuels, that fuel so many aspects of our society, are a limited resource and our way of life will have to change at some stage. Sometimes I wonder if we’re eventually going to be back on horses, travelling around the countryside in horse-drawn carriages and cleaning horse poo off the streets but part of me doesn’t think we’re simply going to go “back” to our old ways. We are very very good at inventing things and moving forward. We will certainly have to develop, change and adapt – I just hope it will be in a way that is in balance with nature. If all soap was plant-based and greywater safe (i.e. if nasty soap didn’t even exist) then we wouldn’t have to worry about the little fishies in our creeks. If all vehicles were emission-free and renewables-charged then we wouldn’t have to worry about air pollution in our cities so much. We need water, we need air – shouldn’t we all do our best to keep it as clean as possible?

The technologies and inventions that make our lives easier today are fantastic and I admire all those brilliant people that came up with those ideas. If it wasn’t for those clever people I wouldn’t be able to type this blog on this highly technological tablet right now and I wouldn’t have so easily been able to migrate to the other side of the world whilst still being in touch with my family every day. Our human inventions are very clever and we can be very proud of our smart heads. I wonder though if sometimes we can kind of lose touch with the “real” world out there whilst living in our highly humanised environments, with our minds occupied by job performance reviews, internet connection speed, currency exchange rates, bank loan interest, fuel prices, fitness studios and the latest blockbuster movie. When did we stop thinking about the really basic needs, like finding food, attracting a mate to create offspring, securing a sheltered spot for safe living and staying alive amongst the sometimes dangerous nature out there? Why is it suddenly all about the latest diet, the most glamorous nail polish, the most impressive home decorations and the lease rates on the new car? All the technologies and inventions bring a lot of comfort and luxury but they also somehow manage to fill our lives with a lot of ‘stuff’ and clutter our minds with a lot of worries about things that aren’t actually essential for survival.

I am very grateful I got to do this trip, to really touch base with nature again. How to not get eaten by crocodiles whilst chucking a bucket of water over my head to get the dust off me. How to make tea without burning my hands in the fire. How to go to the toilet without running water. How to stay out of the harsh hot sun to not crisp up into a dehydrated red shrivel crisp. How to walk around on a moonlit night without getting bitten by a venomous snake whilst being many kilometres away from the nearest medical help. How to climb over rocky paths without twisting my ankle. How to water the horses because the next water hole might be ten kilometres away. It was great to use my wonderful common sense to actually look after myself on a real down-to-earth level. To do a bit of ‘surviving’. It’s exciting and rejuvenating!

I loved experiencing the age-old art of washing myself in a small, remote, pristine creek and to understand just how much we rely on our environment and its resources. To allow my brain to get rid of all the confusing human stuff for a while and enable it to gain real, essential insights. I am very happy to live in the comforts of a proper home with running hot water, a coffee machine and a comfy mattress but it feels really good to get out into nature every now and again to get properly grounded.

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