Travelling As a Way To Reconnect With Nature

Travelling As a Way To Reconnect With Nature

Yes, we all wait the whole year for our work or school break, to plan just one simple week of holiday. Depending on our wishes and tastes, some of us prefer a relaxing hotel holiday, while others prepare different travel plans such as camping in nature.

Travelling, which is the focus of this article, is basically moving from one location to another; however, it transcends being merely a physical act and creates unforgettable memories since different senses, experiences, and excitements are involved. 

But where does it come from? Why do we need it? To what extent does it help us? Let’s dive deeper and explore.

The Evolutionary Roots of Travelling

From an evolutionary perspective, the origin of travelling can be traced back to hunter-gatherers. Their reason for travel was quite basic: Survival. 

In a nomadic system where agriculture was not yet adopted, the depletion of limited resources in a region pushed them to discover more suitable places. They needed to find food and drink. In addition, difficult environmental conditions as a result of seasonal changes were one of the reasons why they were often "on the road." 

Voyagers representing ancient nomads
Illustration from Grand voyages (1596) by Theodor de Bry (1528-1598) on

Although their consistent movement came from their necessities, there is a big possibility that those compulsory travels activated their curiosity. During this period, they gained experience, explored, and learned. All of these became important parts of their lives. Well, can travelling be one of the hunter-gatherers’ cultural behaviours that persist in our modern days? 

We don't have to search for food and water anymore. Yet, we still find ourselves drawn to new adventures. So, what are the new motivations behind these trips nowadays?

Our Travel Motivation 

Different psychological theories explain “our motivation to do something,” but self-determination theory can give one of the best explanations for our “travel motivation.” Based on the theory, there are two types of motivation for action, which are called intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Here, intrinsic motivation stands out as an important approach to explain why we travel. We do an activity for its inherent satisfaction and joy without expecting any external reward. The motivation comes from the pure interest to learn and explore; therefore, the reward is considered the activity itself. When we travel, we explore brand-new places and people, open a new world, and broaden our horizons. While we are doing it, we even share our time, energy, and money and somehow compromise ourselves. 

Awesome luggage
Photo by Ralph on

Considering all, travelling can be one of the greatest fully intrinsically motivated activities we can think of.

Travelling also provides us with numerous advantages. We move away from our daily routines and burdens. We primarily focus on ourselves and experience the "here and now." All of them help us feel relief and discharge. When we are back in our daily lives, we become more active, productive, and satisfied with our activities.  

Alternative Travel Ideas to Reconnect with Nature

Generally speaking, travelling encompasses going to new places, seeing landmarks, experiencing new cultures, being a part of the visiting places, meeting with locals, and so on. They are all valuable and incredible aspects of travelling. However, we can make it much more valuable with alternative travel experiences. 

Planning a journey with a map
Photo by lil artsy on

Time Travel

Unfortunately, as far as we know, travelling in time is not possible, at least for now, but the idea enriches many literary works and science-fiction movies, and many of us love them.

It would be really interesting, but it is not the topic of this article. We will now mention some "possible" travel options, which are also fun, interesting, fulfilling, and may connect us to nature. 

Let's have a look at them.

Reconnect with Nature Through Rural Tourism

According to UN Tourism, rural tourism includes a series of nature-based activities within rural life, where life is experienced and the culture is learned. As people living in urban areas, we do not have enough knowledge about life in rural areas. We do not know its economy, livelihood, culture, tradition, and reality. Gaining an insight from the rural lifestyle can shed light on and improve our urban way of life. 

Rural areas can also be shelters when we want to get away from the chaos of the city, as it will create space for us to breathe. In an internet search of the term “rural tourism”, encountering various activities that are linked to animals and plants is inevitable. However, some of these activities involve using or harming animals, which we should avoid due to their undesirable impacts. Instead, complete immersion is the ideal approach when engaging with nature.

Attention! Protect the Nature

Nature-based tourism or wildlife tourism activities might seem within the same category of travel options we mentioned above; however, they may cause environmental and wildlife damage. It is crucial to be careful with our actions and activities and never forget our primary responsibility to protect nature, whatever activity we do. Reconnecting with nature means also respecting it. Remember that the ultimate goal is environmentally friendly travel! We can arrange our trips in a way that minimizes our negative impact on the environment while maximizing our benefit to a healthy environment. Our preferences, including means of transportation, products we use during preparation and within the process, accommodations, and more, can significantly enhance the eco-friendliness of our journeys.

Nature from a different perspective
Photo from

For more information on this subject, you can check our article: Green Journeys: Enjoying Sustainable Adventures.


Although it may seem similar to rural tourism, ecotourism offers a broader understanding. The International Ecotourism Society explains ecotourism with three pillars that are strongly connected: conservation, communities, and interpretation. 

While this responsible trip offers people the opportunity to be in nature and get to know it more closely, it also aims to contribute to the local people's economy by keeping them in the experience. We must emphasize the importance of the protection and development of local areas. Therefore, environmental education and awareness are also a big part of this travel experience for those who are travelling or working.

Various companies offer ecotourism options to travellers. When we plan our next travel, we can quickly search for them and find the best option for our destination of interest. The concept of ethics, woven into many areas of our lives, can also be applied to how we travel. It can be a great investment both for the environment and ourselves.


The ecomuseum is not a new concept; it descended in France in the 1970’s. There are now around 300 ecomuseums worldwide, but most of them are located in Europe. Ecomuseums are different from traditional museums that we regularly visit on our trips. We do not only observe and learn about the piece of art or the cultural background of an object in offered closed areas. We become a part of the culture and directly experience it. Ecomuseum visitors can learn about the cultural heritage of a community and support its development and protection!

The free e-book “Ecomuseums and Climate Change” provides valuable information about the significance of ecomuseums to combat climate crises and their contributions to Sustainable Development Goals. How does this idea sound? On our next trip, let's find a nearby ecomuseum, explore its cultural heritage, and enjoy the time.

Hunter-gatherers lived purely depending on nature, which provided them with significant skills to interact with their environment properly. They showed us “the possibility of living in nature without destroying it.” This is exactly what we should re-learn and adopt in our lifestyle.

Although we sometimes forget about it, we still depend on the environment. Our healthy lives depend on a healthy nature. With conscious and responsible travelling, we can connect with nature and transform ourselves together with nature. 

Nature Connectedness

Nature connectedness is a subject frequently explored in psychology, with scholars identifying its various positive aspects. TThe best way to connect with nature is through contact. Nature contact may include spending time in green areas, observing nature, and listening to its sounds, including animals, water, wind, and other related activities.

According to the study, nature contact in real or virtual settings, for instance, being in the natural environment or watching relevant videos, can enhance our bonding with nature, improve our attentional capacity, and help us better reflect on a life problem. However, these benefits are stronger in real environmental exposure than in indirect exposure. Moreover, when we connect with nature, we gain more benefits from our time engaging with it.

Girl reconnecting with nature
Photo from

Mental Health Benefits of Reconnecting with Nature

One of the most important benefits when we connect with nature is its positive impact on our well-being. By saying well-being, it does not only mean our positive emotions and life satisfaction but also other aspects of well-being related to better functioning, such as personal growth. When we connect with nature, we experience increased well-being on multiple levels. This bond with nature and everything it contains can improve us. The peace and beauty of nature provide us with self-exploration and help us to gain new insights that contribute to our overall well-being. 

Nature Helping to Manage Anxiety

Individuals with a greater connection with nature might exhibit lower levels of anxiety. Anxiety is an emotion that we cannot escape in the course of life, often related to work, relationships, study, and even our personality. The potential for nature connection to lower our anxiety levels should motivate us to spend more time in natural settings. On the contrary, a positive association was found between nature connection and climate anxiety.

Climate change is an important global issue, and more connection with nature can make us more conscious of its severity, potentially intensifying our climate-related negative emotions. Yet, we also know that the optimum level of anxiety protects us from threats and helps us to take action. As with any type of anxiety, learning how to manage climate anxiety is the most crucial aspect in this regard.

Environmental Benefits

So, are we the only ones who see the positive effects of nature's connectedness? Actually, not. Nature itself can also benefit from our connection. The link between nature connection and participation in climate action shows that when we connect with nature, we also become more concerned about its protection. We become more aware of its beauty, sensitivity, strength, and the aliveness of various creatures, including human beings. We see the mutual relationships between us and our nature.

While there are numerous benefits to connecting with nature, and we have the opportunity to establish or reinforce this connection through enjoyable experiences such as travelling, it would be a fantastic idea to think of planning a trip near nature as the holiday season approaches.




Article by Merve Kuloglu.I love nature and its vibrant colors. My goal is to understand and embrace all life, present and future, beyond just humanity. Guided by the principle of sustainability, I aim to integrate it with my background in psychology to foster a more harmonious world.

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Article also published in our founder's blog: My Shade of Green