A walk in the woods. What does that mean to you? Is it simply a walk, or is it a lot more? A good friend of mine says that the woods are his “holy place” and for him and many others, taking a walk in the woods is about connecting — to yourself, to nature and maybe even to something spiritual, something beyond life and death, beyond ourselves.
I like walking in the woods. As a writer, I find focus and inspiration mainly out on the sea and out in the woods. Many writers feel the same. Writers are walkers. We need to get out of the hustle and bustle of modern society. This is an essential part of many a writer’s life. Yet, I know people still have that stereotypical image of the writer sitting all day at the local pub in their heads… Sorry to disappoint you, but no writer I know of, is wearing down the upholstery at your local pub, he or she is probably at home writing, or out trying to find that calm and focus.
I believe woodland walking should be mandatory and recommended by doctors in case of depression, obesity, anxiety etc. Walking fights illness the same way that reading high quality literature fights ignorance. We need to make the Western World population a walking population again. In the old days, we were walking all the time. I’m 43 now and I remember my childhood as a time when we were always moving, always doing something that involved physical activity. These days, I don’t see many kids out playing. I don’t see many kids out in the woods. It’s not their fault, they take after their parents, I guess. And I think it’s sad.
I often take my walking a bit further, so to speak. Some times, I just keep walking and I spend the night by a campfire. I find the idea of being able to survive and thrive here in the Norwegian woods with only a knife and a firesteel immensely appealing. This got me from walking and into bushcraft while I was still in my teens. This was long before the term was known in these parts of the world, and since I was alone out there in those woods and wanted to stay alone, my skills are self-taught. These days, there are bushcraft schools and weekend courses, which I do recommend, but there really is no mystery to enjoying yourself out in the woods. Just go out there. It really is that easy. Get out of that house of yours, go into the woods and stay there over the night. If you have never done that before, do it as soon as possible. You will learn a lot about yourself.
I will be going into the woods later today, as I did yesterday. I don’t have to travel far, it’s right behind my house. I know, if you live in a city, it takes a bit more effort. But still, get out there. Do not live your life in front of your tv or your computer screen. Everything that is real and true is out there, out in the woods.