You Don’t Have To Be Bear Grylls …

To Immerse Yourself in Nature

Interviews with ordinary people who are adventurous hikers – hoping to inspire you to venture out into nature as well

Episode 2 - Jeannette Koolen

I met Jeannette for the first time in 2008 when she came to Austria together with her Polish Tatra dog Bo. Like I did, Jeannette too fell in love with the mountains and with mountain hiking. So much so that she moved to Switzerland, where she now works as an assistant radiologist. She spends as much time as she can in the mountains surrounding her home. Continue reading

A hike that Jeannette highly recommends is to the summit of the Fürstein. For more information on this hike go here.

Favourite book that inspires Jeannette:
Rother hiking guides

Favourite quote:
“The mountains are calling and my dogs and I must go” ~ after John Muir

Want to be interviewed or know of someone who would be a great interviewee? Apply here: 

Episode 1 - Calista Ocean

Calista Ocean is a project manager turned writer and yoga instructor who discovered hiking when her then-partner introduced her to the great outdoors. Though the relationship didn’t last her love for hiking did.

Continue reading

Having developed her hiking chops in California (USA), she dreamed of taking on a bigger challenge: the Camino de Santiago de Compostella (Del Norte route) in Spain.

After finishing the Camino Calista is travelling the world and made a brief stop in Austria, where I got the opportunity to take her on a hike in Nationalpark Hohe Tauern as well as do a face-to-face interview with her.

You can find out more about Calista and her journey on her website:
You can follow her on instagram:
You’ll find her on facebook under:

Favourite book that inspired Calista:
‘Eat, pray, love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert

Favourite movie:
Wild (based on the book by Cheryl Strayed)
Six ways to Santiago (documentary film –

Favourite quotes:
“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” ~ Shakespeare
“’Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ – that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” ~ John Keats

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Introducing 'You Don't Have To Be Bear Grylls'

I’m Gerdi Verwoert. Project manager turned life coach and hiking guide. It is part of my mission to inspire people to disconnect from their stressful lives and reconnect with themselves through immersing themselves in nature, the mountains especially. Continue reading

I know not everyone wants to do this is under the guidance of a coach. These interviews with ordinary people who have grown into adventurous hikers are meant to show you that you don’t have to be Bear Grylls to immerse yourself in nature. Anyone can do it!

Are you a (sometimes) solo hiker yourself and willing to share your story and experiences OR do you know of someone who would be an ideal interviewee, please (have them) apply by going here: