How to take a nature-forward vacation?
What does it mean to enjoy a nature-forward vacation, and how can it benefit you? Put to the test in Leavenworth, Washington.
What does it mean to enjoy a nature-forward vacation, and how can it benefit you?
Nature-forward is my term emphasizing grounding ways to experience the natural world. It is a conscious experience weaving together travel, nature, and spirit — a specialty of mine.
My expeditions always include bonding time with trees, rocks, water, and plants in one way or another. I’ve written about my connective moment with Chad in a magical corner of a tiny Miami park and the spiritual enlightenment of a drive to the top of Haleakala with Monica in Maui.
These two examples underscore that there are parks, gardens, and forests everywhere you want to travel.
And, when you visit such natural attractions, there are ways to tap into the visual and unseen realms that can enhance any experience. And grounding in the natural world helps you feel connected to yourself, loved ones, and the destination in ways often missed by distractions, impatience, and checklists.
This may resonate if you’ve ever felt like you need a vacation from your vacation. Next time, practice mindful immersion in nature for at least two hours per week — or more if possible. When you do this, remove distractions, slow down, and pay attention.
You benefit from returning refreshed and inspired by nature’s healing — making integrating the transformations from travel into daily life easier.
Some places are more intuitive to access spiritually because of their natural beauty. The Oregon Coast and Olympic Peninsula are great examples. It is difficult not to feel inspired by the power of the ocean or the abundance of mossy goodness on the forest floor.
I recently tested my nature-forward travel framework on a trip to the iconic wonderland of Leavenworth, Washington. Snuggled among the snow-capped Cascade Mountains, this bavarian-themed village simultaneously weaves community spirit with stunning beauty.
The three-day getaway celebrated friendships with a group of ten people. There was witty banter, belly laughs, and tasty food and libations. First, however, I needed to figure out how it would work with nature because of the company and schedule.
I followed my usual rituals when arriving someplace new: creating intention, acknowledging the land, and paying attention. Check out this article to learn more about my six fundamentals for developing deeper nature connections.
The key ingredient was to take time daily to meet the land spirits despite kinetic group energy — to keep mindful of my immersion.
For my first “getaway,” I drove into town and walked my favorite trail along the tranquil Wenatchee River. I was fixated on logs stuck in ice and snow near the bank. At first, they just seemed attractive to my eye, but then the spirits asked me to take deeper consideration. It occurred to me that I have lots of ideas to share with you, my audience, that feel “stuck” like the logs. How can I free my inspiration to flow to you? I spent a few more moments in a quiet trance, and answers started filling in like a polaroid picture. I share the experience in a TikTok video you can see here.
Regular grounding outings like the Wenatchee River example helped me be more present for my friends and their activities throughout the weekend. And there was time for my reflections too. But, finally, and most importantly, my bond with nature remained strong.
I returned home with a whole heart from all the love — just in time for February 14th.
You can enjoy a lifetime practice of nature immersion by pushing beyond the typical outdoor experience. Of course, skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, biking, running, tubing, and every other “ing” get you to the venue. But the real bonding happens when you turn from the external action to the inner world of your soul: feelings, hopes, dreams, and fears — with nature as your advocate. This is also called grounding in nature.
You can try it right now. When you finish reading this email and checking out the articles on my website, sit somewhere with access to nature. That could be a chair near a window looking out at a fir tree. Or a bench in a nearby park. Try ten minutes of quiet and see how it goes. Refer to my article about meeting nature where you are if you need guidance.
Sometimes people ask me to share examples of how to plan and enjoy a nature-forward trip. The joy of my time in Leavenworth inspired me to write a second article ( I did one two years ago that you can read here ) focused on helping you understand tangible ways to weave nature into your time in Leavenworth. Take a look and let me know if it is helpful.
May you enjoy deepening connections with nature — on vacation or at home — that allow healing and well-being in your daily life. Let me know if I can be of assistance.
Happy week of love! Matthew
Do you want to take your relationship with nature to the next level?
Let me show you how paying attention to nature opens the door to see yourself — and the world — differently. Transformation is closer than you think.
I offer Mystic Nature Experiences, 90-minute in-person guided journeys in select parks and gardens in Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland.