A forest is magic. At least to me. The smell, the sounds (or sometimes just the pure silence) and the colors. That magic is enhanced by the (quarterly) change of color, fog, and sometimes a wild animal. For people following me on Instagram, my change of perspective has been evident: from travel to forest photography. Discovering the sheer beauty of nature parks and forests near my hometown. Places I never visited before because my focus was always on international traveling. But maybe now it’s time to say: the best journey takes you home?
I have not been the only one. Many people have started hiking during the pandemic. Escapism. Freedom. The only way to get outdoors when everything else was closed or forbidden. For me personally, the forest was also the sword with which I defeated a many-headed monster. A dormant monster awakened by the pandemic, showing its heads in the form of stress and gloominess. But Mother Nature has the power to defeat!
I think my moment of revelation was somewhere in July, 2020. The first lockdown was upon us. I decided to visit the Dutch Natural Park the Veluwe. I never really considered exploring that area in the past, but man how wrong I was. How could I have forgotten how beautiful my own country actually is! Since that day I have not stopped hiking.
Fast forward to now. At this moment I have over 1000 photos on my laptop of all the hikes done since July. Some of them I share via my Instagram account. Most of them I just look at and remember that particular moment in the forest. Sometimes it was like meditation (forest bathing), amazement or just pure joy. I have discovered areas I had forgotten about or never heard of. Many hikes made me marvel at the beauty of nature, no matter what season.
Power of Nature
It also made me realize that nature does me good. For me, a day in the woods is the perfect escape from working at home all the time, the fatigue and stress. Nature energizes me. On the other hand, walking has made me realize that we have to be incredibly careful with the natural areas around us. Nature is under pressure and it is our job to protect it. If you are Dutch, consider supporting Natuurmonumenten, an organization that is making a case for all the nature that is still left. And for the new nature that is still to come in the Netherlands. Thanks!
So now I am sharing my most magical forest photographs. The ones I took so far. As soon as the trees turn green again after a long and dark winter, I am back with my camera. What would you like to see and read here on Act of Traveling? Maybe just more forest photos? Or also some suggestions for great hiking routes? Let me know in the comments below.