By Brianne Dela Cruz
In environmentalism, rewilding is an ecological restoration technique that aims to mitigate climate change by increasing biodiversity and reintroducing lost species to their native environment.
I believe this conservation technique can also be applied to humans to restore a healthy relationship with the natural world and to help us heal from the stresses of modern life.
Rewilding for humans is the process of reintegrating ourselves into nature and getting back to our roots. It’s a process of undoing unhealthy modern conditioning in order to unearth a truer, wilder, more holistic way of life that views ourselves as part of nature.
Venturing into new landscapes prompts us to use our human-animal instincts to navigate, learn, and connect. Rewilding through travel gives us more opportunities to discover the interconnectedness of all life on earth.
With our fast-paced and overstimulated world, I see a great need for us to slow down and reconnect with nature. Here are 5 ways to rewild yourself during travel.
1. Explore Through the Seasons
The more opportunities we create to observe the small shifts in nature through the seasons the more we’ll connect with our natural selves. Seek out slower and longer vacations that allow you to linger in your destination long enough to experience the subtle changes.
Explore a natural destination when the last frosts of winter blend into the first blooms of spring. Extend your stay to immerse yourself into the land when geese begin their migration south and herald the onset of autumn.
Get to know the harshness and gentleness of nature’s seasons within each landscape you visit.
2. Venture on an Expedition
Expeditions are extended travelling experiences into nature’s wildest terrain. They require significant research and preparation and often challenge us in many ways.
Whether they be cross-country hiking pilgrimages, explorations into remote lands, or month-long river expeditions, they give us the chance to deeply immerse ourselves in nature.
Endeavours like this give us the opportunity to unlearn, relearn, and establish completely new ways of seeing, being, thinking and doing.
Expeditions reveal to us the vastness of the earth, the endurance of water, the wisdom of animals, the nature of the sun, and through it all the spirit of our wild selves.
3. Discover the Local Flora & Fauna
Connecting to native flora and fauna helps us discover the energy and history of a landscape. Both animals and plants are highly intelligent beings that adapt to their environment in remarkable ways.
Instead of taking a historical tour in the city, grab an identification field guide and hit the local trails to learn the natural history of your destination.
4. Celebrate the Solstice & Equinox
The solstice and equinox days mark important seasonal transitions in nature. Many cultures have honoured these astrological events for millennia.
Ancient pyramids in Egypt, Mexico, Malaysia and other countries were built to align with the sun to mark these auspicious days.
Stonehenge and Machu Picchu also reflect an acknowledgement of such events. Connect to nature in a new way by exploring the solstice and equinox days as well as the cultures rooted in the ancient remembrance of nature’s patterns.
5. Slow Down + Go Analog
A central part of rewilding is decreasing stimuli and distractions from our digital world. Relax your nervous system on your journey by allotting a longer amount of time to settle into your destination and by going analog.
Ditch the apps and use a paper map while reading the natural features of the land. Turn off the phone and use an analog watch while you track the shadows from the sun. Skip a jam-packed agenda to allow time to absorb the stillness.
Brianne Dela Cruz is a master gardener, wild forager, campfire foodie, and acclaimed writer and photographer. From her home in Salt Lake City, she teaches online gardening and foraging courses for modern folks as well as hosts seasonal community gatherings. Brianne’s blog and online school, Gather & Grow, is a community of folks exploring the intersection between nature and personal growth by discovering ways to slow down and rewild. Visit her at gatherandgrow.com.