Rugged nature

Welcome to this new series that I’m going to make. In this series of blog posts I’m going to research the impact of nature. I realized that I have my perception of nature and I know what it means to me, but I’m really curious how others think about it. I’m hoping to collect many stories. Maybe in the end I have enough material to make some interesting conclusions. But there’s only one way to really find out. So here’s the first person that I’ve interviewed.

I’d like to introduce you to Nathalie.

We’ve been friends since our mid-teens. We met on a family vacation to Austria. She was with her mom and brother, me with my mom, dad, brother and sister. We had so much fun hanging out. After the trip we kept in touch. We wrote letters and a few times a year we would do sleepovers.

Soon it was obvious that we are very different. She is into make up while I was getting my hands dirty during my work outside. Somehow that never mattered. Maybe it’s because we are almost exactly as old. Our birthdays are only 5 days apart. Or maybe we are both very accepting of our differences. Anyway. To this day we’re still in touch, more than 20 years later. She is the perfect person to start this series with. Always open to any crazy idea I have.

Can you define nature?

The definition, to me, of nature is; land, trees, sea, beach, forest. Anything that hasn’t been touched by people. For example when I’m in Croatia the landscape looks wild, that’s nature. Of course there is also nature around my house, but that was created and maintained by man. Planting, mowing, pruning, etc. I think that is also nature, but it doesn’t seem to fit the definition I see for nature. It’s not like I think I live in free nature.

So if I understand correctly you have two definitions for nature. You have the term nature for all things green and you have the term nature for wild and unexplored.

Yes.

How does nature affect your life?

In this phase of my life, a lot. It gives a lot of peace. As a child I used to go to Sonsbeek (a park in Arnhem) with my family, my father, mother and grandmother. We would do a lot of walking in the forest. Mostly on Sundays. My parents always loved hiking. So that has a lot of meaning to me. I like being in nature, but I am more a city dweller. However I like to surround myself with nature. I don’t go on hikes very often or anything. But I like to surround myself with it.

What does nature mean to you?

Rest, relaxation and memories.

How important is nature to you?

I actually just miss rugged nature. The Netherlands is divided into boxes. For example, if you are in Tuscany or Austria, you see nature as it used to be. The mountains have been there for so long. When you arrive in the Netherlands you see that everything is organized. I think that’s a shame. I prefer to go to places where everything is old and has history. I think that’s important, that not everything becomes too structured. I wish that could be changed, but that’s not possible of course.

So you prefer abroad?

Yes, and here I am actually a bit abroad (the south of Limburg). Yes, you see, Arnhem, where I grew up, is fairly flat but it does have some hills called the Veluwe. I wouldn’t be able to live on flat ground, I would go crazy.

What’s your favourite piece of nature?

Here, the very south of Limburg. Yes, I think so. And I think Curaçao is very beautiful. I’ve been there once. They have a lot of cacti, a lot of sea and that is nature for me too. Some define nature as forest and green, but for me the beach, sea and cactus are also nature. Curaçao has that, and that makes it beautiful for me.

What makes that landscape special or beautiful?

A cactus grows the way it wants. It doesn’t need rules. You see, a tree is planted and you end up with a neighborhood with plants and trees that have grown. That’s nice, but I prefer looking at something that is not planned. That was already there.

What activity do you prefer to do in nature?

Cycling, and after that hiking and also going to the beach. I would actually rather put the beach first, but that’s not close to where I live unfortunately.

How about sitting down?

Yes that’s possible here. I often sit on the balcony and look at nature, so that’s nice too. When I have a view, then I can look at nature. When I still lived in houses where I didn’t have nature that close, I didn’t sit outside. But now I do, because it’s so close.

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