I'm fortunate enough to live in a state that has an abundance of beautiful, natural environments to explore within an hours drive, and on the weekend a friend and I took our kids back to our old stomping ground where we grew up in the Dandenong Ranges.
It was a wet, soggy day, but we donned our raincoats and got amongst it.
Gosh the rain forest smells divine during the rain, and the forest comes alive with the sounds of birds happily twittering and tweeting....not that we actually got to see any of the local wildlife - probably because we brought very noisy wildlife of our own - 3 boys who delighted in running along the forest tracks, collecting sticks, finding 'dragons nests', hiding inside hollowed out trees, going off track to explore...and being pitifully underwhelmed at the 'waterfall' we trekked in to see.
Kids really come into their own when they're left to their own devices in nature don't they? No arguing, grumpiness or boredom - such a nice change! I should take them there more often - perhaps even leave them there on occasion??? Builds resilience right?
My dad actually used to do that. No shit! When I was a teenager and started wanting to 'go to the movies with friends', he would say "sure Katie". And then drop my friend and I off into a local(ish) forest with a map (ripped out of the Melways) and say, "if it's not too late when you make it home, I'll drive you to the movies myself." Of course we would study the map and look for the fastest route home.
We'd bush-bash and traipse through undergrowth and over growth, and trespass on private property in the vein hope of making it back in time for the movie THIS TIME.
Funnily enough, we never once made it back in time for the illusive movie. One to dad. Zero to the teenagers. And we were always so hungry and exhausted, we barely protested at the unfairness!
Bush walking actually improves our gut health as well - really!
Studies show that being in the wild is good not only for us, but also for the legions of microbes that call our body home.
The gut harbours a rich microbial population, said Danica-Lea Larcombe, a PhD candidate at the Edith Cowan University in Perth. "But our skin, too, is exposed to so many things in our everyday lives. "We leave a microbial cloud wherever we go."
We know that the more varied our microbial residents, the better. In an urban environment, sitting in an office all day, we're surrounded by our own (and our colleagues) microbial cloud only.
Step among the trees, we swap microbe populations with all sorts of organisms. "In the forest, there's stuff blowing around you, microbes in the soil and on leaves," Ms Larcombe said.
A walk in the forest will also rejuvenate, calm and clear our mind, lower diabetes and heart disease risk, improve mental health and prolongs life.
Anyway, it was so good to leave town on the weekend and escape into the lush green wilderness - even just for the day. And yes, we did bring our kids home with us. This time.....
Every small change WILL become the big difference
in your life.
With so much love,
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