Long Walks Along the Beach

“Accessibility to nature is a human right” — Florence Williams

Yesterday I executed my daily routine as usual: Finished up classes, run 5km east on the trails, go down to the beach and walk 5km back. The weather was stunning.

I paused my work out music and listened to the sound of the wave hitting the beach and the sound of trees wooshing in the wind. I stood on top of a rock and and examined the mountain ranges. There were still quite a bit of snow on top . I could see the ‘Triple Crown’( That’s what we call the 3 local mountains in Vancouver) — Cypress, Grouse and Seymour. I felt the warmth of the sun hitting my face and the wind brought fresh air into my lungs. Somehow, being in this non-human dominated world gives me such great pleasure.

I sat down on a log and waited for the sun to set

Yesterday I came across this short 3mins film by Arcteryx in which Florence stated that being able to connect to nature is a human right. It makes me realized how lucky I am can be in the nature so easily but at the same time it also makes me sad that a lot of people don’t have that right or they don’t even know about its existence. I am a big introvert and I think that might be why I usually find connecting with nature is more comfortable than connecting with other humans. The way I deal with negative feelings or life in general is to be alone in the woods or on the beach, where I can enter solitary and have the space to think or not thinking at all. I find the process extremely healing and after a couple of hours I would feel that I am able to deal with whatever that’s happening again.

I think connecting with nature makes me a better person. Being in the nature is a recharge for me so I can deal with all the crap in life with positivity and even find joy from within. I guess this is also some form of minimalism. When I am in the nature, running or walking, I just think about the movement that I’m engaged with and how my surrounding changes. I learned to be 100% focus and be mindful. This also translate into my work or study where I find myself being more focused and creative. I also learn to slow down in life and take moments to reflect. To me, nature is the place that I can always go back to whatever what happens.

I also love being in the nature with other people. In fact, I think we develop the deep connection with people while out in the nature. Just the feeling of experiencing awe and the stunning sceneries with other people is powerful. Some of my most precious memories are from being in the mountains with a couple of friends. What always happens is that we don’t know each other when we go on trips but after it we build such deep connections that call each other brothers.

The beach view

Some say that going into the mountains when things get tough or taking walks along the beach when you can’t finish your assignment is just escapism. That I should not run away from the problem but face them. I don’t think that is a healthy way deal with life and who’s there to say that escapism is bad? Escapism can be exactly something we need sat times. Ultra runner Adam Campbell lost his wife in an skiing accident earlier last year. In a short film he said: “people always use the word ‘escapism’ as a negative but it isn’t, I think it’s also a wonderful coping mechanism and also a form of seeking pleasure and happiness, and I think that’s OK.” We all need time to recharge and being taken out of all the crap in life occasionally. For me that is : change the environment I’m in and make life simple for a few days. Always at full throttle working or studying only brings mental health issues. Researches have shown that being outdoors lowers the risk of depression and a whole bunch of other chronic diseases(I don’t have the sources here but anyone could easily find them on google). Some therapists even prescribes “go out” as a treatment for better mental health.

My everyday sunset routine

I want more people to be able to share that connection with nature. Connecting with nature can potentially even make us a better species. My girlfriend once asked me: “Don’t you think letting more people access the nature can do harmful to it? You know, all the human disturbance of the natural world and stuff ”. I do agree that risk is possible. However, I believe that introducing people to nature will also let them realize how beautiful our planet is and when they get back to their everyday life, people will actually start to deal with sustainability issues and global climate changes etc. We keep hearing on news and on social medias how important sustainability is but how many of us actually stopped using plastic bags or ride bikes instead of driving?

So go out and take those walks, you’ll love them.



Outdoors, photos and bikes.

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