I just returned from two weeks in the Rocky Mountains visiting four national parks.
It was glorious. I am renewed.
The buildup for the trip was a whirlwind. I worked out extra hard and went for long walks and bike rides to build stamina. I packed a month’s worth of consulting hours into the first two weeks of the month so my time away wouldn’t impact my clients. I packed carefully for cold and hot weather, cramming everything we needed into three bags for two people. I broke in my new hiking boots.
All that preparation came in handy. I wore almost all the clothes, sometimes at one time because it was cold. I was physically fit to participate in hiking, horseback riding and enjoying nature even at 10,000 feet elevation.
I was not prepared for the burst of creativity and insight from being away in nature for two weeks.
I experienced delicious creative cooking with local ingredients at a small shack in the middle of the forest literally two hours from anything. I took a trail ride led by a sixth generation sheep farmer in Utah and watched families herding cattle down the road on horseback. I camped next to the river from “A River Runs Through It”. I wandered amid a herd of elk – rather the herd of elk wandered into our campsite and hung around our fireplace like guests sharing a ghost story. We walked alone along a beautiful waterfall and in crowds of hundreds watching Old Faithful.
Brian Clark Howard interviewed Richard Louv in National Geographic about how “Connecting with Nature Boosts Creativity and Health”. Louv, the author of the bestsellers Last Child in the Woods (2005) and The Nature Principle (2011), coined the term “nature-deficit disorder” to describe the loss of connection children increasingly feel with the natural world.
Louv points to researchers at the University of Illinois that found that time in the woods can supplement treatment of ADD. He points to a study at the University of Kansas that found that young people who backpack for three days showed higher creativity and cognitive abilities.
All the while I was cut off from my clients, from my obligations, from the Internet on most days. I put my phone away. I listened and observed. I thought about something other than my business. I was renewed.
Taking a break outside in nature without electronic stimulation provides renewed vigor that I couldn’t always get otherwise.
What are you doing to connect with the natural world? How can getting outside change your perspective? Maybe even a short change can bring higher creativity and sharper thinking? Imagine what can happen!!