One way to commune with nature is to travel.
Unlike most people, I started late when it comes to travelling. Not that I had no desire to travel, we (as a family) just had no means and somehow, no reason to. Our family has settled in the city, and my father’s home town, Dapa in Surigao del Norte, our only “valid” excuse to travel, was apparently too far (and at that time, expensive to get to).
My first “Wow, travelling is exciting!” moment came when I took this course on environmental education where we had to have some sort of an immersion activity. As part of the curriculum, we had to go to Biak-na-Bato and meet with a group of locals who were doing community work there, marrying livelihood with environmental protection. I remember trekking and spelunking, and felt, at that moment, that that is something that I would love to do.
Since then, I have been to a few more places – and had been lucky enough to have a job that afforded me to do so. Thankfully, too, we live in the Philippines – and that we are so lucky to have been gifted with many wonderful sites. We have Mayon Volcano, Puerto Princesa’s Subterranean River, the Chocolate Hills, and the Tubbataha Reef (our “entries” to the seven wonders of nature). Of course, we have a lot more — so many that a single entry like this might not be enough. Visiting a number of them (all, if your budget permits, especially the holidays!), sure would awaken your environmental consciousness, and would help you learn to love the country, the earth, and yourself, even more.
For those who would like to see more of the world, all the other countries sure have some nature destinations to offer. Hopefully, one day I would be blessed enough to travel the world. I particularly would love to see the ruins of the great Mayan civilization in Guatemala, and the holy city, Jerusalem.
Anyway, just to be safe as you experience nature (while having fun too), make sure you have the following:
Lots of Water. It’s worth carrying a big bottle, especially when trekking. Water builds up energy. When you go on a biking, or a mountain climbing expedition, you wouldn’t want thirst to ruin your trip. Make sure to bring a big bottle of water.
Enough food/Energy Bars. Nature-tripping would mean you will be doing a lot of walking so it would be best to have food to keep you up and running. In my case, I love bringing crackers, bananas, and chocolates. Energy bars, though they can be expensive, are great too, and will save your tummy in cases you go hungry.
Camera. As they say, take nothing but pictures! This is something that I love to do, and photos help remind me of whatever emotions I have had in any given trip. The camera’s our best bet to preserving memories that go with the trip. And, who knows, you might make it as an environment photographer! There’s a market for that, this I am pretty sure of. I know of many nature advocates who are great environment photographers like Dr. Claudio, who even conducted a photography for the environment (water resources) workshop a few months back (I was lucky to be one of her students). Nature’s an excellent subject. It “talks”.
Map. If you don’t have your own map (which you can usually buy at bookstores), better stop at the Tourism Office first (of wherever you are) so you could get one. A map will help you obviously avoid getting lost, as well as it would give you a quick glimpse on what any place has to offer. You can easily set your schedule and know which “hot spots” to go to first once you know what really are out there.
Great Footwear. A great pair would make a lot of difference! Again, since you will be walking a lot, it is best to have comfortable footwear. People will probably find it interesting that in the Philippines, we use our slippers a lot (it’s like our national shoes!) even when hiking! This is just a random cute thing, but of course, we do wear shoes too. Or maybe it’s just me who loves wearing slippers?
Binoculars. If you are the type who loves to look at wildlife, most especialy birds, then this one’s a no-brainer. Binoculars are great because it would be like having bionic eyes. You can zoom in to anything beautiful or interesting you might see.
Your Mobile Phone. While it is best to tune out of our mobile phones when communing with nature, I would say they still are very helpful in cases of emergency. Also, these days, phones are a cheaper alternative to cameras, and so, is a great way to capture and preserve special travel experiences.
Insurance. A travel insurance to be specific. In some way, insurance could help you be at peace while doing the rounds. I remember my mom had to get a travel insurance when she had to go to Europe for a workshop even if it was just for less than a month. Here, there are companies that can help you find the best quotes for your travel needs (or if you want your families from all over the world to come over here and see the beauty of the Philippines!).
Your Partner/(Best) Friend. Okay, this is not a “thing” and is definitely way more precious! This is for the fact that it’s always nice to travel with the people you love most. Have a travel buddy, and build a journal together. Instant bonding, plus, you now have someone else to take a photo of you (Haha!).
An “Open Attitude”. To appreciate everything you’ll see, you need to be open to everything.
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine
Enjoy your travel!