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Vitamin N

Do you recognise this? Busy with everything. Being lived instead of living yourself. Of course I am mainly responsible for this. Saying ‘no’ more often is something you could theoretically apply. I’m working on it.

Well, time to hit the pause button! So glad I already had reserved a weekend for some quality time with a good friend. One I hadn’t seen in 1.5 years as well. Goal: finally catching up. Not inside for a change, but outside, during a hike across the Veluwe in the Netherlands. From Nunspeet station meandering over beaten paths to Apeldoorn station. We booked an overnight stay in a log cabin halfway through and off we went.

Bad news though: the weather forecast. Rain and not just a little too. Good news: we would go for it, regardless of our energy level, the weather, blackening fingers, wind force 6 and 40 mm of rain. But as it turned out in the end the weather was lovely. There was even a nice layer of snow on this Saturday in March. Fresh wolf tracks, crackling sounds under the soles of your shoes, magical color sparkles and a wonderful silence.
See, that’s back to… yes, to what exactly? No to-do lists, no phone, a slower pace, just focus on 46 km of hiking and not being able to stop talking. And nature? Nature played a damn important role in that. Aside from some professional deformation (advancing grass species on the Noorderheide, unclear wayfinding in the Elspeter forest, top experience as a naturalist in the Kroondomein), it was mainly enjoying the different landscapes, making cool discoveries and the lack of stimuli. Then add those wolf tracks, or a Black Woodpecker flying by, having a cup of coffee with your stove, dozing off by a roaring wood stove, being the first in the forest the next morning with renewed energy and the kick of not hopping on a bus on the last stretch towards Apeldoorn. It was great!

Bottom Line: vitamin N works. I just don’t see it on the reimbursement overview of my health insurance and the nature organisations don’t earn anything from my overnight stay, the pizza and my train trip to get there. While: once… when there was a global epidemic and nature was the only destination that remained open. Then we all suddenly found nature very important. And now? Open the average newspaper in the Netherlands or listen to a political debate and I mainly hear the word ‘complicated’. Well, just go for a nice walk outside. Puts everything back into perspective!

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