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Feeling faraway with nature

June 19, 2013

The dictionary tells me that far·a·way is an adjective that means ‘distant; remote: faraway lands’. Faraway sounds like it might be hard to get to. But what about feeling faraway? How far do you have to travel before you feel truly faraway from it all?

Blue Mountains NP, OEH/D. Finnegan

Blue Mountains NP, OEH/D. Finnegan

For me, the distance is about as far as the nearest park or natural space. There’s nothing quite like leaving behind the noise and pace of everyday life for the peace and space of the natural environment. In nature, you can feel faraway in the middle of a city. Or in a backyard. Set up a tent in the bush or take a walk through a rainforest and you can feel like you’re a million miles away.

The rejuvenating feeling that nature can engender – of escape, of freedom, of being faraway from it all – is just one of the tangible and profound effects that being in a natural environment can have on us, emotionally, mentally and physically. There’s a plethora of research available now on the restorative power of time spent in nature. World renowned author and expert on people and nature, Richard Louv, has explored this phenomenon in several fascinating books, including Last Child in the Woods, in which Louv describes what he terms a growing ‘nature-defecit disorder’ in children today, and The Nature Principle, a case for the benefits of living ‘nature-balanced’ lives.

Louv’s work has been a catalyst for some of the programs we’re delivering at the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service to encourage people, especially young people, to spend more time in nature – for health, recreation, and to grow support for conservation through personal experience. With the technology we have today, we aim to facilitate that journey by using image, video and word to inspire connections with nature – before you even leave the house.

Could you retreat to a park embraced by harbour and high-rises, and feel like you’ve left the busyness behind? Or do you need to be standing on the edge of wilderness before you can throw off the fetters of daily life? Perhaps your personal faraway requires wide, open spaces, like those found in our outback parks, or the dramatic vistas of an alpine landscape.

As you read about the parks and natural spaces profiled in each of the links above, explore them via their visual tours, or discover them through video for this month’s rwpchat, try to imagine yourself in those places…and next time you want to escape from it all and get as faraway as you can, I recommend heading to your nearest park.

Danielle Millar works for the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service in tourism and partnerships. She is also an avid traveler and loves to visit and read about faraway places….even those just around the corner from her home. Email Danielle to find out more about NSW National Parks. 

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