The Human Cry for Nature

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” – John Muir

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We spend too much time indoors, a place we were never intended to dwell for long. Certainly we require shelter, but there are benefits to be gained from spending time outside, such as: feeling connected to nature, stress reduction, and Vitamin D exposure. Nature has such a profound impact on our well being that some doctors are even prescribing nature as a way to treat depression and anxiety.

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When we step into a dense forest, watch a sunrise over a river, or feel dirt in our hands something amazing happens. We step away from the intensity of our everyday lives and begin to slow down. We witness seasons, tiny miracles spread out before us and we know intuitively that we are part of something so much bigger than ourselves.

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“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein

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Need a bit of inspiration for the entire family, read on!

Sculpture Trail – Reinach

Nature Rocks

Forest Playgroup

“To walk into nature is to witness a thousand miracles.” Mary Davis

One more reason to get outside with a touch of incredible humor:

A quiet place in Switzerland

A recent place we’ve visited in Switzerland, and somewhat off the beaten path is the town of Gruyères.  Made famous by the picturesque hilltop castle dominating the medieval town, it is well known and can be touristy on weekends.  With all it’s charm, it is quite easily a day trip to take it in, but views like this can only best be seen if one ventures out of town for a short hike.

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This post is part of the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Wanderlust

Ten

Last month we celebrated an entire decade of residing in Switzerland.  Ten years is a grand collection of time. The minutes, the hours, the days all eventually spun themselves into ten incredible, life-altering years that have become our very existence.

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With those passing years we did our best to embrace the unknown, rooted ourselves in our past, and now, look forward to a promising future.

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In ten years we have…

Caressed careers and quietly walked away.

We have settled in without ever feeling fully grounded.

We have birthed two children without the comfort of family and friends close by.

We now fully comprehend the quote, “Successful people take big risks knowing that they might fall hard.  But they might succeed more than they ever dreamed.”  – Unknown

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Held hands as a couple, fell into one another and pushed through the uncertain times, of which there were many.

Overcame obstacles we didn’t know even existed.

We’re never certain if we got it “right,” but boy can we say we tried and are trying.

Gained perspective in a whole new way and know how powerful that has been in shaping who we are, and who we aspire to become.

Felt grateful beyond belief and never took nor do we ever take this opportunity for granted…never!

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Quietly observed from afar the makings, and unraveling of our own country often times shaking our heads in utter disbelief.  We had/have hope in our hearts that American’s will stick together and be kind to one another!

Witnessed a new way of living, one that offers a living wage, quality of life, and a high standard of living.  Thank you!

Longed for a past that was familiar and a future that was certain…don’t we all!

Waved good – bye to family and dear friends and we have come to the realization that it will never be easy or ever get easier. Sigh.

Felt ever so humbled by the German language and still do.

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Smiled whole – heartedly when we heard and hear our children toggle through conversations in both English and German.

Embraced a very simple life free from the burden of debt.

Witnessed beauty beyond our wildest comprehension.

Are creating a family based on values, gratitude and forgiveness.

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Felt that raw pang of isolation, disappointment and reconciliation that only those close to us can understand.

Wondered if this journey would continue and how it will unravel should we ever have to return back home.

Thought endlessly how my father would have interpreted this life we have chosen to live and wished that he could have witnessed this life we have created and the children we have made.

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Grateful for our children’s education in a foreign country and their ability to learn languages.

Blessed that our minds have been altered, our thinking enhanced and our beliefs tested because living abroad is an education that teaches you something new each and everyday!

Happily relied on public transportation and decided to go car free for our entire ten years. That feels like a victory in itself!

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Felt the power of saying yes, despite having no idea what that yes would entail.

It may not have been easy to walk away from a life of stability and comfort, but “The greater the challenge, the bigger the opportunity,” couldn’t be more accurate of a statement!

Looking forward to where the next ten may lead us and blessed to share this journey with my partner in life and our two amazing children!

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And remember…”The most dangerous risk of all – The risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself freedom to do it later.” – Randy Komisar

Spring Inspiration

The weather is undoubtedly gorgeous this time of year. Step one foot out your front door, look around and it will hit you – spring,  that gorgeous, floral, awakening that arrives each year has fully delivered.  Longer light hours means more time to play, frolic and explore and Switzerland is the perfect place to come alive again after a long winter slumber.

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To get you motivated, we have created a quick list for a bit of inspiration.

Hike – In our humble opinion, there is no better way to enjoy the great outdoors than with a good hike. Whether you are ultra ambitious or simply feel like a little stroll, Switzerland is the place to feast your eyes on incredible scenery and get your feet on the trails.  Lace up your boots and go with or without children!

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If you happen to own a TNW U-ABO, have a quick glance at the map and take advantage of the routes and destinations that ticket allows you to travel. We just enjoyed a fabulous hike through Frick and plan to explore other regions on the map in the near future.

For more hiking ideas, please see our previous spring hike series: One, Two & Three!

Day Trips – The glory of the day trip is the ability to retreat back to your space and sleep in your own bed after a full day of being away.  Plan for a trek no more than 2 hours in one direction for optimal pleasure!

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Plan the night before with train schedules, and bus connections, pack your day-pack, bring a picnic and enjoy the views.

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A few day treks we love include: Spiez, Biel, the Luzern area (Rigi, Stanserhorn, Pilatus) and Neuchatel.

The Merian Gärtens in Basel are rich with colors this time of the year, not to mention, lambs, baby chicks and bunnies.  Make your way to the gardens in early May to witness the wonder of the Iris Gardens in full bloom. You will be grateful for the experience and don’t forget to stop for a coffee at the beautiful outdoor cafe!

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The Monet Exhibit at the Beyeler Foundation – The grounds alone at the Foundation Beyeler are as impressive as the art inside, but those looking for a genuine experience from Claude Monet will thoroughly enjoy the current collection. The exhibit will take place until May 28, 2017 and is certainly worth the steep ticket cost for entry. Purchase the audio guide to gain additional insight on select paintings and to make your visit that much more informative.

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Birsköpfli – Situated along the Rhine, this area of Basel offers a true holiday feel.  With people grilling on the grass, games of soccer lurking in the background, swimmers enjoying the river, a nice playground, and the island, which is currently home to the World of Dinosaurs (think huge, life sized dinosaurs, a small play area and nice views). This location offers hours of enjoyment for the entire family.  On a nice day, pack a picnic, grab the family and enjoy this beach life atmosphere in Basel.

Enjoy!

Earth

Nature continues to show us just how small we are, even in the Swiss Alps, on peaks or no peaks, nature and the earth is greater than ourselves; we can only be considered guests.  Here is a view of the Lämmerenhütte (2501m) as viewed from Gemmipass on an early morning sunrise.  The receding Steghorngletscher reminds us of our impact.  We invite you to look here for more views and information about the trail towards Lämmerenhütte and Lämmerensee, additionally, here for an adjacent hike to the infamous Gemmipass.

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Lämmerenhütte

This post is part of the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth