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Image – Courtesy of Trent Haaland on Unsplash


Although I grew up in a somewhat rural area surrounded by lakes and farmhouses, I was not exactly a nature lover. My parents hated the concept of camping life and due to my hay fever allergy as a kid, I preferred to play indoors.

When I was in College, my former boyfriend’s parents invited us for a one-week hiking vacation in Austria. We walked 6 hours straight every day through forests via uneasy mountain paths from cabin to cabin. The wooden cabins were super basic; the beds had no real mattresses and there were no showers. Not used to any of this, I had a hard time keeping up. It was awful. For a long time, I referred to this week as “one week of hell with The Kooistra’s’’ and I promised myself never to repeat this nature experience.

Living in Amsterdam for the past 30 years, I felt myself a true city girl and nature was simply not for me. But then Corona happened. I started doing hikes with my 75-year-old neighbour to keep her company. We walked for hours through nature reserves Het Twiske and the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen. Suddenly my senses were awakened. I closed my eyes and smelt the lakes, the trees, the air. I noticed the amazing colours of the leaves, the sky, and the dancing trees. I felt mesmerized and had a huge smile on my face. Kisa = anti-nature: I was shocked.

Recently I followed a workshop of Shinrin Yoku (Japanese for bathing in the forest) where you accept various challenges and practice silence and meditation. During Slow Walks in the forest, you pay attention to signs in nature and you put your feet firmly (like roots) in the sand to get to the center of the earth to retrieve energy. By touching and hugging trees you feel supported and embraced. Being one with nature takes you out of the daily hecticness of life and even improves mental health.
Did I try to pass by the guide at least 5 times during the Slow Walk as it was difficult for me to keep silent and to observe? Yes. Did I laugh at myself and was I covered in insects when hugging a tree? Definitely! But at the same time, I felt happy, at peace, and empowered. How good is this to know that you can simply stand still, relax, and connect with nature?

A typical Dutch saying -directly translated into English- is: “I can’t see the forest through the trees”. We will leave it up to your imagination to understand this wise one-liner. Kisa will give you her interpretation when setting up your business priorities. One tree at a time.