On losing one’s identity, forest bathing and more

On losing one's identity, forest bathing and more
Guiding a trek through the Ortler group in Italy (Photo courtesy of Martin de Keijzer)

It’s been almost a month since I last sent out an Update because I’ve been away from my computer for most of that time.

Over the last 2 months, I’ve been lucky enough to spend 5 weeks guiding or simply enjoying trekking through mountains.

I guided 3 separate mountain treks in Italy (2) and Austria (1) and I spent 2 weeks trekking privately; first with a friend and then with my (not so little) little brother.

There is so much I love about these opportunities.

I love to share my passion for Nature and mountains with others.

I love to see how people slowly find their pace as they reconnect with Nature and themselves.

I love the deep conversations that almost always happen along the way.

I love supporting people as they for the first time experience what it’s like to spend days trekking through mountains.

I love immersing myself in Nature with others who are as open to the experience as I am.

I also love that we get to disconnect from ‘regular life’ with no access to mobile phone or internet networks. That way not just our bodies, but our minds slow down.

On losing one's identity, forest bathing and more
My brother enjoys the view while on our trek in the Venediger group (Austria) © Gerdi Verwoert 2021

On losing one’s identity

There’s one thing though that I didn’t love about one of those treks, because at the end of that particular trek I lost my identity!

That is to say, I lost my passport and wallet with my driver’s licence as I was leaving a parking lot in Italy. Two items we’re frequently asked to use to identify ourselves.

I never noticed how frequently until I didn’t have either one of them and had no means of officially identifying myself.

Of course, there are other ways in which we can lose our identities as well. One of them is our work or careers. Even, or perhaps especially, when our lives have become all about work. That’s how it was for me.

From a very young age, I followed the path that others seemed to want me to travel. I didn’t do it consciously; it just happened that way. 

Ultimately, it lead me into a career in project management and consultancy in which I grew increasingly unhappy.

It took me a long time, years actually before I was able to pinpoint the reasons behind my unhappiness: I had created a life for myself that had all the trappings of success but was disconnected from my core values and therefore disconnected from my true identity. I spent most of my time pretending to be someone I was not.

Figuring out who I am and how I wanted to live my life, my one wild and true life*, took another couple of years. So did finding the courage to then leave my old life behind.

I’ve since started living more and more of my wild and true life. Making adjustments along the way as I get more clarity about what it looks like.

It’s a path that continues to surprise and sometimes frighten me. It’s also an adventure worth experiencing.

Are you living your one wild and true life? How are your core values part of your life? What is the path you’re travelling?

*not an exact quote but the essence of the message in Glennon Doyle’s book ‘Untamed’. I highly recommend it!

On forest bathing

Deborah Mendes

In episode 27 Deborah Mendes talks about how she started a 2nd career as a forest bathing guide. We talk about the need to reconnect to who we were. To the wisdom of our ancestors, to Nature, to an understanding of how the world really works, natural laws so we can navigate the terrain and look to Nature to know how to behave.

On becoming an activist for our planet

Linda Aspey

The conversation I had with Linda Aspey, a coach and speaker who’s played a leadership role in the UK coaching world and who you’d never suspect of being a committed Xtinction Rebel is the subject of episode 28. We dive deep into the journey that led to her becoming that rebel and it’s a story worth listening to!

On living a better balanced living

Bernhard Fanger

In episode 29 Bernhard Fanger and I talk about how connecting the seemingly disparate dots of his career milestones ultimately lead to his decision to change lanes completely and take up self-employment as a consultant, mentor and author.

On the art of resilience

Julie Lewis on the art of resilience

With Julie Lewis, I had a conversation in episode 30 about things that happened in her life that caused her to start the first female expedition company in Dubai and how she shares her growth and success principles with others helping them flourish by learning and applying resilience, self-awareness and embracing their connection to others, self and nature.

That’s it for now. Longer than usual, I know. I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless. 

Wishing you a beautiful and gentle Autumn.