The past six weeks or so I’ve weekly blocked time to go out for a walk in the nature. This can be in a nearby park or a bit further off the grid in one of many forest areas around Eindhoven. The reason? To detox from everything that forcefully claims my attention; notifications on my phone, screaming advertisements literally everywhere you look, you know the drill. Yesterday I went out for a random forest walk nearby Heeze, and this walk gave me one of those metaphorical confirmations about the course I’m taking.

A release.

So first of all, I’m in the process of making my first album. And I’m realizing that this process, most of all, is for myself to grow. Regardless of external factors. The world is quite the fuzz these days of notifications, opinions and advertisements, and basically being on stand-by 24/7 for family, friends and acquaintances around the world. As an empath it’s not a healthy space to continuously be part of.

The social media break I currently have is to get rid of this daily dose of, well, distraction. In my first week, my phone screen time alone already reduced by 53%. That’s quite substantial and a lot of time “freed”. That time and energy has to go somewhere, and these walks in nature are a good new habit in balance with album work. I leave my phone at home or in the car, and simply walk, look around and clear my mind. It helps not bringing any electronical devices; there are plenty of road signs to show the way and I don’t have to worry about making cool photos because I get to see everything IRL. Being present is a gift, and I guess that’s where this little story is about.

The lesson.

The Herbertusbossen in Heeze offer a few different types of landscapes. It’s a forest area next to the castle, some meadows / farm fields and on the edge of the Strabrechtse Heide. Plenty to see there.

It was pretty late in the afternoon when I got there. I knew taking the longest route would be a bad idea as that meant I’d have to walk in the dusk, in a dark forest that I don’t know well. At some point halfway the walk, I ran into a couple in their mid-30s. They were a bit loud and continuously on their phones trying to decide via Google Maps which way to go. For perspective, you don’t have many options there.

Anyway, I pursued my walk and noticed they kind of followed me. That couple kept talking quite loud to each other; you could hear their voices echo across the fields. I switched up my pace to get a bit further ahead, since it started to get dark. Eventually I turned this corner from a field area towards the forest, ending up standing eye to eye with a massive deer. Beautiful and timid, it stood in the middle of the pathway and stared at me. I was impressed by seeing it so close. Then the loud voice of the couple’s guy thundered across the fields again, scaring the deer and causing it to run off into the forest.

I highly doubt if that couple had any idea what kind of animals reside in that area, and what sights they’re missing by not being aware of their surroundings.

Homebound.

Walking back into the forest again, I had to navigate using the painted poles on the side of the path. At some point I felt that I needed to take a turn left and go through this leafy area. So I did and shortly later ended up on a bigger sand road. At the end of the road I saw some lights and it felt like that’s where I needed to go.

Alas, the couple started to close in again, their voices becoming louder. At some point our paths crossed. They again were busy navigating on Google Maps, and I asked if they knew where they were going. They weren’t sure, but with their faces glued to their screens, they crossed the road and walked on into another part of the forest.

For a moment I doubted, should I follow in that direction? They were the ones navigating after all. No. I saw light at the end of the dark road where I was walking. The sun had set and it was raining. I wanted to see what I would find at the light, that’s where I needed to be. So I went on ahead. I followed my intuition, and when I reached the light I realized I ended exactly where I wanted to be. At the entrance of the forest where my car was parked. Had I followed that couple and their direction, I would’ve ended up completely wrong.

A little realization that my intuition is stronger than the noise surrounding me. A confirmation that I’m doing exactly what I should be doing.

Go on forest walks. It clears the mind.