“Ma racine est au fond des bois” Emile Gallé
Travelling abroad often means getting on a plane, unless you are a real adventurer and you use the boat, you go hitchhiking across the world, you take your bike or any other kind of brave and adventurous transportation (like people who walk the earth and count on their on feet plus the kindness of strangers), which means you will end up landing in the city.
I think I have always been the kind of person who was balanced between the city life and the countryside. As a child I was always taken to the woods, small villages, to the seaside. I had boyfriends who lived in Paris or London, whom I visited for certain periods of time. I enjoyed it because I lived in nice areas of the city and I didn’t have to take the public transport too much. I like walking through a city at night, with all the lights and sounds. Usually I know I don’t belong there, I remain a stranger, it is temporary. After a few days I go back to a smaller place and it’s nice. I don’t like crowds too much.
When you’re travelling I think it’s important to reconnect with nature, to discover the flora and see how a forest in New Zealand might have completely different trees than a forest in Austria. The biodiversity on this planet is incredible (although threatened by human activity) and it’s a shame to miss out on that. I can only give you one advice, walk into the forest as much as you can. I personally hope one day I will be able to live near or in a forest.
The rainforest in Tropical North Queensland made a huge impression on me. It’s warm and humid, there are thousands of different types of plants. As the guide explained to me, the first time I went in the Daintree: it’s a constant battle. Each plant will grow and try and touch the sky to reach the sunlight. And this is how you get the canopy!
Exploring a forest will give your a breath of fresh air, will take you to the roots of the earth. There is a particular energy about trees. My favourite French author Romain Gary, explained in one of his books that when he moved to California and discovered the Redwood trees, he was captivated by their presence, their history, their seniority. Imagine all the things they must have seen and experienced. He said as he grew old he wanted to become one of those trees and I must have been 23 when I read that, but I completely understood what he meant. Trees are spectacular and a symbol of wisdom, harmony.
There is a German author who wrote a book about the life and language of trees. He actually used to cut them down and saw them as a way to make money, but soon he discovered there was more to them than that, that they were essential to us.
Here is the link : The Hidden Life of Trees
I highly encourage everyone to look up and admire the force of a tree. Look how high up they grow, look at the large trunk and how many years it took them to be so close to the sky. They are the gentle giants of the forest and when they get hit by lightening strike, they can destroy what is down below. They provide shelter, they are a home to many animals, they are silent but exude so much energy. They offer us the oxygen we breathe.
Walking in the forest and spending time there is highly therapeutic. Do you know that smell in the woods after the rain? The humid smell of the pétrichor, the moss, the mushrooms. It’s relaxing.
And there are so many different types of forests as well. They can carry the smells of flowers and pinetrees with the heat of the sun. They can mystify you with the sound of a heavy rain in the trees, they will protect you and the drops will feed the rich soil and their roots, full of minerals. The rain will quench the thirst of a river nearby. The forest is a mystical place. Listen to its hidden birds, singing you their songs.
Take a walk on the wild side, like I did in the Kiwi bush, go sit by a tree, touch it with your bare hands and feel its life, through its bark. Take your shoes off, feel the earth beneath your feel.
It’s important to cut yourself from the city life, to be one with a natural state of things.
Be a nature child.