We live in a society that is so technologically based that we often forget our humble beginnings in nature. The birds, flowers, bees and trees are beautiful, wonderful things that we zoom by with our heads down in our phones. Sophie of TWexplore is here to remind you that getting out into the wild is something we all need to do a little bit more of. Read her story:
Our family of three just completed a "30 days wild" challenge. No, I don't mean 30 days of non-stop parties. We immersed ourselves in nature and our world with the goal of knowing our place as living beings, waking up to rain and sunshine, noticing animals and stopping to listen to the birds and smell the roses.
When we think of "wild" or "wilderness," we imagine remote and empty places and as a wildlife biologist, I've spent a good bit of my time in them. But guess what, the wild is everywhere.
So why did I decide to take part in the yearly "30 days wild" challenge that is run by the Wildlife Society (UK) every June? I had a couple of reasons:
1) In 2011, I moved with my then 4 year-old daughter from our native tropical island and reinvented myself as a translator and language teacher living in Wales, UK. It meant that my girl got less daily exposure to nature.
2) One of the most important roles of parents is to share their knowledge and experiences with the next generation. I realized that I had a lot to share in the "wild" department and took this opportunity to start my sharing journey.
3) I believe being wild is one of the greatest qualities we can have. To me, it ultimately means being responsible for ourselves and having the knowledge that will enable us to function and be self-reliant in the world we live in. I wanted to start my daughter on this journey.
So, what do you do when you have 30 days ahead of you and have pledged to do a random act of wildness on every single one of them? Here are some of the main actions we incorporated into our lives:
Experience: The first step to being wild is getting in touch with our senses. Every day, one of us ran to school with my daughter. We ran or walked along the coast, in forests and meadows. On other days, we swam and suffered in the sea, rode our bikes and took our shoes off during our runs to better experience the Earth.
Acknowledge and Reflect: Part of being human is knowing our roots and where we come from. We resisted some of the traditions that made our societies. We let our lawn grow into a wild meadow (the bees and sparrows loved it). Then, on the 23rd of June, we used hand tools to cut the hay (the blackbirds and wood pigeons much prefer it now). I showed my daughter how to read the landscape and understand where people influenced it and shared some of my favorite books on wilderness.
Learn and Transmit: I showed my daughter different ways of becoming independent. I taught her fundamental things, like navigating in the natural world with a map and compass or by paying attention to the world around her. I taught her which plants are good to eat, which ones will harm you and which ones might heal you. We used our 1-mile walk to school to talk about the world and she had the space and time to ask questions such as "do predators eat sick and weak animals?" or "why do people have different color hair?". We even got to talk about the basics of scientific nomenclature.
Be Self-Reliant: Another important aspect of being wild is understanding the difference between wild and domestic animals. The answer is self-reliance. Domestic animals rely on us to meet their basic needs, and while animals only rely on themselves. We fostered self-reliance in our transports. Us adults ran to the pool and back (6 miles) for our swim training. I taught my daughter to cook from scratch, from ingredients her grandmother would recognize and also to pick and cook wild food. We had several DIY creative sessions, so much more soul goes into handmade objects and jewelry.
Be Aware: Wild beings are so aware of their environment. We, on the other hand, tend to go on autopilot most of the time. Over 30 days, we cultivated awareness of our environment. We used all of our sense by listening to where sounds come from (useful if you're orienteering in thick mist), discovering habits of our local seals and birds so that we may see them more easily and (of course) noticing that stopping to smell the roses on the way to school makes us happy.
All of these things are simple, but surely "live simply" is one of the most fulfilling things in life. And where to now? We're planning more wild discoveries this Summer with over a month living in our tent, exploring and fulfilling our desire to be wild.
How are you living on the wild side of things? Be sure to show us on Instagram by tagging @momentumjewelry and #momentumjewelry in your very best photos! We can't wait to see your wild side!