Create a Self Love Retreat on Your Next Walk in the Wilds

By bringing a notebook… 

By Stela Pasic

Create a self love retreat

 

Our trips in the wild are self love retreats in their own right.

Essentially, that is why we do it. Back to nature for self love, to feel good, to enhance our connection to Mother Earth and ourselves.

But what if we can boost the self love retreat experience every now and then?

Or every time, if we are lucky enough to be able to carve out that time for ourselves.

The experience I am suggesting below can work when you are by yourself, when you are hiking or camping with friends or family, or even with small kids coming along, too.

(ok, if with kids, you will have to juggle your time a little bit)

 

Bring a Notebook on Your Next Self Love Retreat

So, here is a question: when you pack for your camping trip, is a notebook, or maybe a journal among your essentials?

And I am not talking about a note-taking app on your phone, but an old fashioned, real deal notebook.

Preferably something like a composition notebook. You know the kind, sturdy and indestructible, but still as inviting as any fancy journal.

 

Authors need to clear their mind

 

Pick up on and bring it along. And be ready to jot down your thoughts and observations on your hike or walk.

 

The Creatives Do It

Being out and about in the wilds has been used by many (if not most) authors to clear their mind, think about new ideas, seamlessly receive new ideas, and work on issues of the day. Because, as we all know, being out and about amongst nature’s beauty makes problems of the day fade away.

It is in itself a form of meditation, connecting with nature in order to think. A Self Love Retreat.

Or in order to not think.

They walked, some of them hiked and they journaled. Out of self love.

 

Henry David Thoreau published an essay and a series of lectures on the topic called.. you guessed it… “Walking.”

He says:

“I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil, -to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society.

“Moreover, you must walk like a camel, which is said to be the only beast which ruminates when walking.

 

Thoreau also points out that when a traveller asked Woodworth’s servant to show him his master’s study, she answered, “Here is his library, but his study is out of doors.”

 

Writers often chase what Haruku Murakami famously called the void, which he described in his superb memoir  ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.

He believed that running and the solitary time that comes with it had an enormous influence on his writing career.

 

A study from Stanford University showed that when people tackled mental tasks requiring imagination, the act of walking led to more creative thinking than sitting.

But we don’t need a study to know that walking itself inspires and clears the mind, we just have to be ready to capture the results!

And you don’t need to be a writer or a creative of any kind to reap the benefits or the result.

 

Do the Morning Pages

Some people are really good at just sitting solitary and working through the issues on their minds. Some need a tool. Like a notebook!

I have spent most of my life journaling in one form or another. I wrote about all the details of my life.

I have captured dialogues, memories, descriptions, indeed much of my entire world in detail. I kept my ‘to do’ list, everything, always in that one same notebook.

Then came the digital world, digital cameras, phones, and much of it replaced my notebooks.

 

But I have kept my old habit going for years in one useful form: The morning brain dump.

 

It is almost a cliche practice now, popularized in ‘The Artist Way’ by Julia Cameron.

It isn’t something that I first started when I read that book, but its content gave a name and a purpose to my little daily escape.

 

It goes like this:

First thing in the morning, before you do anything else (ok, you can still make that cup of coffee) do three pages of long handwriting. This is important, do it by hand.

Write about anything that comes to your mind. This is how you can release your inner demons. Or angels.

You can complain about your husband, write about how much your best friend can be such a bitch sometimes, how Covid19 is impacting on your life, how we may colonize other Earth-like planets, your ‘To Do’ list or lists, things you would love to accomplish or, simply, about your surroundings.

For example: “I am sitting here with my notebook on a beautiful morning surrounded by birds chirping and the mountain ranges waking up, I am about to make my first cup of coffee. I want to remember this peaceful morning…”

You get it. Write anything. Because you will get into the flow and who knows what may come out. What problems you may solve. What decisions you may make.

The technique is used to help with the writers’ block after all.

 

And where better to produce these pages than while you are boiling your first cup of coffee, in front of a tent, solitary, camping. Or while taking a break on your next hike.

 

Take that notebook and a pen and let your hand go. Let it write and explore what you are really thinking about.

Remember the quote by Joan Didion: “I don’t know what I think until I write it down.”

I believe that most of us are those people.

We live in a busy world, flooded by information.

Longhand writing helps us focus our mind.

Let me make a confession here. Being that I am a busy mom, my schedule can be unpredictable, so I don’t do the morning brain dump necessarily in the morning. I do it whenever. My notebook is almost always with me. Whenever I have a few minutes, I sit down and write.

 

And Keep on Walking

 

Keep on walking

 

Now, go for that walk from the beginning of this article and clear your head.

If you are with company, that’s fine too, but a meditative, solitary walk is better.

I once did a 4-hour silent walking retreat, while still walking with a group of 30 people around me and it can be done. It takes a while to get used to it, but maybe your companion would like to do a meditative self love walk too. A retreat for both of your minds.

You don’t even have to consciously think, but rather surrender yourself to ‘the now’.

We have all experienced it in the wild, the feeling that there is nowhere you have to be, nothing you have to do.

You can do wonders for yourself with a mindset like that.

 

No Distractions

Just imagine the self love you can give yourself on this kind of retreat, when there are no other distractions around you.

Just you, with your cleared mind, in a stable mood provided by nature. And your notebook.

You don’t have to check your social media, your latest report, your stats of any kind. You don’t have to answer phone calls or messages.

You can sit down and start writing.

Who knows where it might take you.

You may end up:

  • Writing a “To Not Do” List;
  • Reaffirming your values in writing;
  • Jotting down Your Secrets of Adulthood
  • Reexamining your FOMO (I have it, you have it, we all have it)
  • Analyzing Your Strengths or Self Improvement Areas
  • Writing down your Life Vision. Using present tense.

It is a perfect time to visualize your perfect life. Let your imagination flow. Let your brain and heart tell you what is really important to you.

That list won’t be the same if you write it out after the self love retreat or in your office after a busy day.

 

Self Love is Always Our First Step to Good Living

 

Self Love is Always Our First Step to Good Living

 

Does this type of self love retreat sound like something that could be of use to you and your busy mind?

Isn’t quieting our mind one of the main reasons we want to disappear into the wilds, to make that primal connection in the first place?

A notebook can help you honor it.

It will also help you relieve it again and again when you are cooped up in your city apartment, waiting to become a natural part of this beautiful planet again.

 

A voracious reader and a passionate writer with vast interests, blogging about choosing the easy way in life through organizing, memory keeping, parenting, relationships and living an examined life.

58 thoughts on “Create a Self Love Retreat on Your Next Walk in the Wilds

  • September 18, 2020 at 8:35 am
    Permalink

    I loved reading each and every line of your post. Bringing notebook in the lap of nature is my way of spending my quality time with nature. It would be great to write out thoughts in between all nature. Morning pages are very important as that is time we get fresh thoughts and no disturbances. I agree there should be no distractions.

    Reply
    • September 19, 2020 at 5:53 am
      Permalink

      Thank you so much! What a beautiful way to summarize the post. So glad it resonated with you.

      Reply
  • September 17, 2020 at 7:39 pm
    Permalink

    Absolutely resonate with your thoughts! I often carry a compact diary along where I pen some details, and make the best use of my creative juices flowing and surprisingly so it comes right at that spot. I think it’s also about being slow and absorbent travelling rather than shallow, superficial travellling. The urge to know a little bit more about the place, delving into its history, seeping in the calming nature; like u said isn’t that what retreats are all about ? 🙂

    Reply
    • September 19, 2020 at 5:51 am
      Permalink

      Yes, beautifully said! Any trip can be a retreat in its own right.

      Reply
  • September 16, 2020 at 7:24 pm
    Permalink

    Bringing a notebook Is a great idea I should try this

    Reply
  • September 16, 2020 at 6:47 pm
    Permalink

    I absolutely love this piece. Most great writers did in fact take walks in nature to clear their minds. I’m working on a novel now, so I try to do the same. Although, I’m not very good at being in the moment and letting nature soothe me, I hope that I can get better at just letting the thoughts come naturally!

    Reply
    • September 17, 2020 at 5:16 pm
      Permalink

      Thank you so much, Stephanie! I am like you, my mind is always busy, I really have to make a conscious effort to be in the moment. Prolonged exposure to natural silences and electronics free time really helps me unwind. It is great that you are working on your novel now. I am planning to go back to my novel soon, too!

      Reply
  • September 16, 2020 at 11:34 am
    Permalink

    It is a very inspiring text, so motivating! Your idea helps to see inside yourself during the journey. Sometimes I take my notebook on a hiking trip. I write down my observations and thoughts on it. Even if I go on a hike with a partner, we like silence. We are lost in our thoughts; we give ourselves time.

    Reply
  • September 16, 2020 at 9:13 am
    Permalink

    I always bring a book, but never have brought a notebook. Silly, I know. Reading this made me want to hike! I plan to ask my partner to do a silent hike with me. It could be a good experiment.

    Reply
    • September 17, 2020 at 5:14 pm
      Permalink

      Glad the post inspired you to try! Hope the silent hike works for you. It was such a game changer for me!

      Reply
  • September 16, 2020 at 6:12 am
    Permalink

    I love this. A great way for a little ‘me’ time. The perfect place to relax and reflect.

    Reply
  • September 15, 2020 at 10:44 pm
    Permalink

    I am about to start getting allergy shots again because I MISS nature! I love it but it doesn’t love me, lol! Can’t wait to plan a day trip!

    Reply
  • September 15, 2020 at 7:39 pm
    Permalink

    I loved how this sums up the importance of the nature. It can really give us so much strength and peace. We don’t always need those expensive retreats at beautiful resorts when we can just step out, breathe fresh air and enjoy the silence. This has great tips of how to achieve a calmness while exploring our surroundings.

    Reply
    • September 17, 2020 at 5:10 pm
      Permalink

      That is exactly right. The lure of expensive retreats is there, but the end result is what counts!

      Reply
  • September 15, 2020 at 5:37 pm
    Permalink

    I used to have a journal years ago, as a school girl travelling with my parents. I have fond memories of that journal. Somehow I stopped doing it as an adult and now being a mommy, things are hardly in control. Thanks for reminding about actually writing in a notebook, as a way of self-love. I’m gonna go & buy a journal and restart doing it.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2020 at 7:38 pm
      Permalink

      Oh, I am so glad this resonated for you. I love, love my journals, they are always there, waiting for me to recollect, recompose, restart, rethink. It is such an easy way to care for ourselves, a mind retreat we all need. Enjoy your journaling journey! 🙂

      Reply
  • September 15, 2020 at 1:50 pm
    Permalink

    The “Me” time that these walks give you are so important. I love those morning walks by the river or the lake in the wild. Watching little fish swim around and insects in the grass definitely gets my train of thoughts going. I generally don’t make notes but if I have to, well sadly, I have succumbed to the digital form. More importantly, like you said. it is all about self-love

    Reply
    • September 15, 2020 at 7:36 pm
      Permalink

      It is! Deep down, we all know what really works for us!

      Reply
    • September 17, 2020 at 5:32 pm
      Permalink

      Walking on green grass has been a part of my self-care routine for years. Glad to hear that people from different countries enjoyed their self-care in the same way. Awesome post!

      Reply
  • September 15, 2020 at 12:05 pm
    Permalink

    Great ideas! I used to write like this all the time, but have gotten away from it. I love the morning writing idea, my mind is always the freshest in the morning so it would be the perfect time to sit down with no distractions and just write. I have thought about visiting some of the local nature areas near my hometown to work on some writing and getting some things done with no distractions. It is definitely important to take some time for yourself to just relax every now and then.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2020 at 7:35 pm
      Permalink

      I definitely dream of having more time for doing some work in nature, too! I feel like I could come up with any story when surrounded by the great outdoors.

      Reply
  • September 15, 2020 at 12:04 pm
    Permalink

    What an amazing idea and something we all for sure need!

    Reply
  • September 14, 2020 at 9:08 pm
    Permalink

    I used to always take a notebook and journal as I travelled. But must admit these days it is notes jotted on my phone and pictures. But I like the idea of writing in a notebook to make you pause and reflect. Or using the morning musings to empty my brain. Might have to start this again as we begin local trips.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2020 at 7:33 pm
      Permalink

      It is so easy to get side tracked by technology, though, I get it. That was a great habit, I used to always have a notebook with me, too, travel or just when I was out and about.

      Reply
  • September 14, 2020 at 5:00 pm
    Permalink

    I used to journal all the time, but now I don’t always have the time, do try to live in the moment.

    Reply
  • September 13, 2020 at 11:13 pm
    Permalink

    Oh, I can relate. Being out in the wild and enjoying nature is one of the best feelings one can have. And I agree with you on the notebook– your thoughts are clearer on the pages of a book than they are on a phone.

    Reply
    • September 14, 2020 at 6:58 am
      Permalink

      Yes, I think that writing by hand has something to do with that as well.

      Reply
  • September 13, 2020 at 4:09 pm
    Permalink

    I have not been on a walk by myself, and I dream of a great hike to destress and just reconnect with myself. If I do get that chance, I am going to take a notebook with me and just write down my thoughts and feelings. That would be so nice.

    Reply
    • September 14, 2020 at 6:57 am
      Permalink

      I am soon moving to a place where there will be so many walking tracks in nature nearby and I am planning on doing more solo walks as well. As you say, to reconnect with myself.

      Reply
  • September 12, 2020 at 8:32 pm
    Permalink

    My son has been accompanying me on my morning hikes because we are remote learning. He brings along a sketch pad and its amazing how wonderful it has been for the both of us!

    Reply
    • September 13, 2020 at 6:46 am
      Permalink

      Oh, amazing, I can imagine how fullfilling that would be!

      Reply
  • September 12, 2020 at 6:36 pm
    Permalink

    While I also think that every outing into nature is in and of itself an act of self love, I also very much appreciate your approach of making self love and self attention a focus of the outing. Because like you I’m big into note-taking, I even designed a series of pocket-sized notebooks for Happier.Place. Reading your post makes me want to go on a hike’n’think right now…

    Reply
    • September 13, 2020 at 6:42 am
      Permalink

      Lol, I love it when I meet a fellow note taker and someone who is as excited with the prospect as I am. I would love to check out your pocket size notebook! (you can never have too many notebooks, right :))

      Reply
    • September 13, 2020 at 6:45 am
      Permalink

      To add: Just saw your notebooks! Love the simplicity of the design. So pretty.

      Reply
      • September 13, 2020 at 8:03 pm
        Permalink

        Thank you for checking them out, Stella. I’m glad you like the simple design. I figured: the less we distract from nature or our thoughts, the better. And because I agree that you can never have too many notebooks, I’d like to send you one as a no-strings-attached gift – just because you’re a fellow notetaker, blogger, and outdoor lover. 🙂 Just email me (hello at happier.place) which one you like best and your mailing address.
        xx Luci

        Reply
  • September 12, 2020 at 6:11 pm
    Permalink

    I haven’t considered a walk like this in years. I always have my kids and some of them are small. This article inspires me to go out for a short self love walk on my own. I know I would get so much out of it. Love the idea!

    Reply
    • September 13, 2020 at 6:41 am
      Permalink

      Yes! I so agree, we need to take what we can when we can while the kids are small or just as a break from our busy lives. It is a conscious effort, and, from experience, think, balance is quite challenging to achieve!

      Reply
  • September 12, 2020 at 3:59 pm
    Permalink

    Going for walk with Noval sounds great. This looks so peaceful reading in a palm of nature.

    Reply
  • September 12, 2020 at 6:52 am
    Permalink

    I love the idea of taking time to treat and nurture ourselves in every little thing we do, so this sounds amazing! Ah, how I long to be out in nature! Enough of this city life!

    Reply
    • September 13, 2020 at 6:37 am
      Permalink

      Right there with you! So glad this post resonated with you.

      Reply
  • September 12, 2020 at 3:06 am
    Permalink

    I have never thought of bringing my notebook with me. What a fantastic idea. So many great ideas come to me when I’m walking in nature.

    Reply
    • September 12, 2020 at 8:21 pm
      Permalink

      So glad this resonated with you! Hope you capture many great ideas!

      Reply
    • September 12, 2020 at 8:21 pm
      Permalink

      I fully understand. My kids are the reason I can’t gurantee that my Morning Pages will always happen in the morning :)!

      Reply
  • September 11, 2020 at 4:55 pm
    Permalink

    I always bring a camera when going for a walk, but I don’t bring a journal. I should bring one next time. I also should start journaling as a brain dump in the morning.

    Reply
    • September 12, 2020 at 5:44 am
      Permalink

      It was a life changing habit for me for sure! Journaling in any capacity is such a helpful activity to our busy minds. Happy brain dumping!

      Reply
  • September 11, 2020 at 3:57 pm
    Permalink

    That sounds like a great way to take care of yourself. Journaling definitely helps with mental health.

    Reply
    • September 12, 2020 at 5:47 am
      Permalink

      Absoluely. And it is such a simple addition to our routine!

      Reply
  • September 11, 2020 at 12:53 pm
    Permalink

    Taking a break in the wilds, to refresh and allow creative ideas to meld together sounds great. It’s a nice avenue to renew our values and set empowering boundaries. Carrying a notebook along is useful.

    Reply
  • September 11, 2020 at 9:19 am
    Permalink

    I love this 🙂 So many of my ideas come to me while I’m out in nature, I often find myself stopping mid-run to jot thoughts down in my phone. I also have a specific journal at home and brain dump all my thoughts in it, it’s a game changer as it means I don’t have to remember as much and I can analyse my notes for patterns that help me develop,

    Reply
    • September 12, 2020 at 5:49 am
      Permalink

      Thank you! And yes, I also have that one specific journal I dump everything in. I have given up on separate journals and just use one for everything until it runs out of pages, then I label and store and pick a new one, etc. It goes with me (almost) everywhere.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
%d bloggers like this: