(originally published February 2020 in The West End News)
Mountain and Forest Bathing…
By Nancy Dorrans
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” -John Muir
John and I agree, and we are not alone. Being outside in any season is nurturing.
According to the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy, there are many names for the medicine of being in the forest: “Shinrin-yoku or Forest bathing refers to the practice of spending time in forested areas for the purpose of enhancing health, wellness, and happiness.”
FIND YOURSELF ON A MOUNTAIN
Some say they “must” live by the ocean, but it’s the mountains and forests that tug and draw me in. I used to live in the White Mountains. Almost twenty years ago I moved to Portland for a year-round full-time job at an online adventure travel company called Away.com.
Away’s slogan was: “Find Yourself…Someplace Else.” I worked there just over a year, but after the tragic events of 9/11 our company lost its funding. The office closed and my co-workers and I had to do just that… “Find ourselves…someplace else!”
I stayed in Portland working as a travel advisor and continued to be lured to mountains near and further away. I have hiked all 48 (4000k+) mountains in New Hampshire and some more than once. I’ve been to the mountains and bathed in the forests of Catalonia, Colombia, the Adirondacks, Tuscan hills, Vietnam, North Carolina, Alaska, Scotland, Wyoming and Montana, Ecuador, the Galapagos, Smoky, Green and Rocky Mountains, Cape Town, Table Mountain, and the Namibian Dunes…
Whether I’m skiing or hiking, the mountains energize, balance, and connect me in a way that a day at the beach never has. The forests’ flora, fauna, nature, and all its wonder add to my love and appreciation for the mountains and our outside world.
WHAT’S YOUR STRONGEST ELEMENT?
The Chinese believe in the five fundamental elements of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. These elements are said to be the fundamental building blocks of everything in the universe. Each of us has all five elements in us. In a workshop I attended a few years ago, I learned that my two strongest elements are Fire (Enthusiasm and Passion) and Earth (Nurturing, Stability, and Security).
Surprised? It makes a lot of sense to me. Each ski season I make a pilgrimage of sorts to the slopes of Loon Mountain to volunteer for New England Disabled Sports as a ski coach. I help teach people with physical and cognitive disabilities how to ski, utilizing my strong Earth and Fire elements!
With Adventure Marketplace, I feel quite blessed that as an independent business owner, travel advisor, and small group coordinator, I can combine my Fire and Earth elements with my love of the forests and mountains in my group adventures and tours! My favorite adventures are those that include mountains and off the beaten trails, paths, tracks, and wending ways…