Glory of Green
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Stories from the Great Outdoors

 

Green is good

I don’t do extreme sports – I know my boundaries and I want to live. To tell you the truth, my pelvis and lower back are a mess and I sometimes reach for more than I can handle, but still I’m a hell of a trip planner for families and the average stressed-out bunch. I’m your woman if you just want to get out more and be active – despite of what’s restricting you. 

Green is actually proven to be good for you. No side-effects worth mentioning.

A vegetative shitstorm

When I’m in nature I become happier, calmer and more at peace - but not without exceptions, though. 

There was a time when I found myself standing in a mace of mountain birch and boulders, throwing moss, heather and lichen around my husband’s ears (not much of a thrower this one). We were lost (all his fault, naturally) and had chosen a really stupid way (again on him – no doubt) to get to the summit of the mountaintop. A vegetative shitstorm, that was. 

Luckily my husband is a thick-skinned, stoic and forgiving diplomat (quite literally). Born and raised by even-tempered people in the Norwegian countryside. And my complete opposite in this regard. Oh – and my two girls (Alma and Erla, now 10 and 14) were thankfully not around to witness the meltdown. It was supposed to be a romantic hike, after all.

Photo by: Erla Byre-Hjorthol

How to avoid tinnitus

However, my general experience is that nature brings out the best in all of us. Being outside is a glorious family project. And besides – nature is big enough to swallow a lot of noise – there’s a reason for calling it indoor- and outdoor voice. Feeling like you’re about to get tinnitus? Take your kids and all the rest of your problems outside. 

Your human brain will thank you for giving it some absence of over-stimulus, demands and expectations in this smartphone-infested contemporary world of open-plan offices. 

My girls have been sleeping in tents and brought out to hike, ski, skate, bike, swim or paddle for as long as they have lived – and it has given them wonderful experiences, self-confidence and independence. They know how to make a fire – not everybody does, even if it’s said to be a defining trait for our species.

Tripping in Europe

We used to live near Oslo (Norway), and now we live near Brussels (Belgium). This means I have lots of wonderful Norwegian experiences, but it also means I’m now  figuring out how to be a wildlife enthusiast in the middle of densely packed Belgium. It’s a challenge, and I’m taking it on! Stories from all around Europe will appear on my blog. 

I've been a long time fan of driving through Europe instead of flying. It makes the trip a lot more exciting. We don’t just get to see the major cities or destinations – we get unexpected glimpses from a myriad of places along our route.

Besides, tenting is our thing – in every way: I have a (self-appointed) master’s degree in glamping, but wild camping is still the winner. All year round – even in the cold and snowy Norwegian winter. I have probably spent weeks contemplating “the perfect tent”. You (producers of tents) have the technology and knowledge – make it work, please.

Living green(er)

Being a devout lover of the glorious green, makes taking care of the environment a fundamental value for me. I’m far from doing enough myself, but I try, and if you’re not willing to join in, I’m sorry for us all. It’s the planet we’re talking about. It doesn’t need us.

We – the humankind – have completely transformed the composition of biomass on earth, and our activities make other species go extinct by the day. In addition, eating meat is one of the main contributors to raising global temperatures. 

Rethinking what you eat is one of the easiest and most effective things you can do to change this. We manage mostly on vegetarian dinners - even when we opt outside. And I'm far too lazy to throw away food. Think of how much more space we would have for outdoors exploration if cows and sheep didn't colonize so much land!

"Humans account for about 36 percent of the biomass of all mammals. Domesticated livestock, mostly cows and pigs, account for 60 percent, and wild mammals for only 4 percent.

The same holds true for birds. The biomass of poultry is about three times higher than that of wild birds." (EcoWatch)

This is my small contribution.