11th June 2024

What is Nature Connection?

In our fast-paced modern world, many of us have lost touch with nature. We often find ourselves rarely leaving the urban environments we call home, surrounded by screens and technology, with little time to take in the natural world around us. This disconnection can leave us feeling stressed, anxious, and unfulfilled. However, there is a growing movement towards reconnecting with nature, and one unique way to do this is by traveling in a van.

Understanding Nature Connection

Nature connection is more than just spending time outdoors; it’s about developing a deep, meaningful relationship with the natural world. Inspired by the teachings of Jon Young and practices like Coyote Mentoring, nature connection involves engaging all our senses, observing the intricate details of the ecosystem around us, and cultivating a sense of curiosity and wonder. It’s about learning to read the landscape, recognizing the calls of birds, and understanding the interdependence of all living things.

Jon Young, a renowned naturalist and mentor, has dedicated his life to fostering nature connection through his work. He emphasizes the importance of deep observation, storytelling, and cultural practices that help us reconnect with our ancestral roots and the environment. Coyote Mentoring, one of his key approaches, encourages us to learn through curiosity and play, much like the Coyote in many Indigenous traditions, who is seen as a teacher and trickster.

The Van Life: A Gateway to Nature Connection

Traveling in a van offers a unique and powerful way to reconnect with nature. Here’s how living on the road can deepen your relationship with the natural world:

1. Immersive Experiences

When you travel in a van, you are not limited by the constraints of a fixed location. You have the freedom to wake up by a serene lake, spend your afternoon exploring dense forests, and fall asleep under a canopy of stars. This constant immersion in diverse natural settings allows you to experience the beauty and complexity of nature firsthand. The ever-changing landscapes become your classroom, offering endless opportunities for observation and learning.

2. Slowing Down

Life on the road naturally encourages a slower pace. Without the distractions of daily routines and the rush of urban life, you can take the time to truly notice the world around you. This slower pace allows for deeper observation and reflection, key components of nature connection. You can sit quietly by a river, watch the changing patterns of clouds, or listen to the symphony of nocturnal creatures, fostering a profound sense of peace and presence.

3. Cultivating Curiosity and Play

Traveling in a van invites a spirit of adventure and curiosity. Every new location is an opportunity to explore and discover. Much like Coyote Mentoring encourages learning through playful exploration, van travel encourages you to engage with your surroundings in a hands-on, inquisitive manner. You can track animal footprints in the mud, forage for wild edibles, or learn the names of new plants and birds, turning every moment into a learning experience.

4. Building a Relationship with the Land

Van travel allows you to build a personal relationship with the land. By spending extended periods in various natural environments, you begin to understand the rhythms and cycles of nature. You become attuned to the changes in weather, the migration patterns of animals, and the blooming of wildflowers. This intimate knowledge fosters a deep sense of belonging and stewardship, as you become more invested in protecting the places that provide you with so much joy and inspiration.

5. Simplifying Life

Living in a van requires you to simplify and downsize, bringing only what is essential. This minimalist lifestyle can help strip away the excess and focus on what truly matters. With fewer possessions and distractions, you have more time and mental space to connect with nature. The simplicity of traveling in a van aligns with the principles of nature connection, encouraging a more mindful and intentional way of living.

Embracing the Journey

Nature connection is a life-long practice and journey, one that requires patience, openness, and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone. Traveling in a van can be a transformative way to embark on this journey, offering endless opportunities to immerse yourself in the natural world, cultivate curiosity, and build a deeper relationship with the land. By embracing the van life, you can open the door to a richer, more fulfilling connection with nature, rediscovering the joy and wonder that comes from truly being present in the wild.

References: https://www.jonyoung.org/


Download the app now and explore!

Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play