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I sat outside in our garden room this weekend and it made me think of nature as a form of recess, and that inspires this week’s topic.

Finding Nature in Travel

On Sundays when I try to totally disconnect from work, one of my escapes is to sit outside and read, journal, and just enjoy the fresh air. There are many studies that talk how nature can reduce stress, boost your mood, and make a difference in your overall well-being.

I thought about that in relation to travel, and quite often trips involve exploring new countries and cities, and that tends to involve culture, architecture, museums and awesome food. If you plan well, it also can include the way nature has been incorporated into the destination. I thought of some ways where nature has enhanced my experience on a trip.

I think Japan is an excellent example of incorporating nature in their culture, with Japanese gardens as such a central part of their life. When my son Johnny and I went to Japan a few years ago, some of our favorite days included visiting Japanese gardens.

The design and textures of those spaces create such a sense of peace and calm. What’s really interesting is that Japanese gardens are not built around flowers, but rather are designed more around the trees and plants, stones and water elements, to create a year round experience with changing aspects of the seasons. The feeling of being surrounded by nature in the midst of the city totally transports you.

Another tremendous encounter with nature is in England, where I traveled to Cornwall and visited Minack Theatre. This is literally near a place called Land’s End, but it is an open-air theatre built on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. This woman had a vision of creating an outdoor theater in England in the 1930’s – think of how crazy that is when you consider English weather of cold winters and raining days.

Over the years she led the building of this amazing outdoor theater, which now beckons performing groups from all over the world to try to earn a slot to stage a play there for a week or two during the performance season. The entire area is made from rocks and natural materials to create a tiered theatre overlooking the water. It was astounding to see this use of nature which creates a feeling of beauty and inspiration.

One of the most beautiful ways to enjoy nature is on the water, and one of my favorite places to do that is in Santorini Greece. When I have clients visiting this area I like to arrange a catamaran sailing tour, where they can view the cliffs of the island from the water, and also visit the hot springs and swim in those warm waters, and then sail on to snorkel while looking up at the iconic city of Oia. It’s one of the best ways to experience the beauty of Greece.

As you plan various trips on your bucket list, consider ways you can incorporate that destination’s connection to nature.