Part nine in my interview series. In this series of blog posts I’m researching 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.
This time I’d like to introduce you to Kaja.
Kaja was just like me, traveling solo through Romania. We met on a campground at the entrance of this stunning gorge where we climbed a lot together. She just graduated from a mathematics study and is now taking a gap year to figure out what her next steps in life are going to be. I was impressed with her daring and cunning, traveling around with a heavy backpack. Planning to do some multi day hikes across the mountains. It was a pleasure getting to know Kaja.
Can you define nature?
Interesting question. So I would say the definition of nature for me is that there are a lot of plants, at least it’s one of my first thoughts. There’s wild nature and humans have no influence on it, but it’s very hard to find. Then you have gardens, that’s not really nature. It’s like in the fields and forests, where the people are taking the trees out, that’s also nature for me. We have in Germany a lot of this kind of forest. I guess it is space for animals to live in. So I think nature for me has to be green, it gives animals a chance to live kind. I think people cannot live that close. I mean, that’s important.
But there are also animals who live in the cities. How do you look at that?
That’s what I want to say, like gardens are also not really nature. I mean, it’s also nature. And there are probably a lot of insects. It doesn’t give me the feeling of being in nature. One really important thing is that there’s not so much concrete. So the water has to get the chance to do whatever it wants; that there is no canalization. Though it is funny, when I was a child I thought; “so good that we have cities now because now there are so many pigeons that can live there and so many other small animals.” And then when I was older, I mean, really late, like 16, 17 only then I realized they have less space. Of course, there are animals living in cities. But there would be much, much, much, much more animals living when there wouldn’t be a city.
How does nature affect your life?
It makes me happy. It makes me much more calm, much more happy, and I try to be as much as possible in nature. I mean, I’m a city girl from Berlin, but when somebody is asking me; where should I go? I’m always just talking about parks. Nice areas around the city which are beautiful. And I think we should try again to live closer. I want to try to live as close as possible to nature. Because it makes it easier to understand what’s really important in life. You forget all the problems that society brings you. So I think I want to live in a natural way, it’s important for me.
What does nature mean to you?
It means a lot. It’s important to protect it. I think I don’t really protect it with my lifestyle. I’ve protected maybe more than other people in the society. Maybe it starts with not listening to music loud when you are in nature, don’t disturb animals. Don’t pick plants just because you want to do it. Take your rubbish out. Also things like what products are you using in your daily life. But I think in the end, it’s like a small drop on a hot stone. I think it’s good, at least now, to protect it well. Our lifestyle is too much separated from nature. I take all the time, I take from nature, of the resources, but I don’t give something back in any kind of a way.
Is that something that you feel that you should do more?
Yes, but on the other hand I’m also a natural living being. And it’s important to have your society around you. I think I would be really, really sad if I would like living as a hermit. It would not be possible for me to live like this. Up to now I have the feeling I have to step out of the society. And when I live with a lot of people together I don’t think I could do it.
So you feel that you can only make a difference one when you leave society?
Yeah. How we live now, this is too much. I think that I feel stressed. It’s just me. Because when I lived in the countryside just for a few months, I felt like the stress went away.When I go back to the city, I notice it’s so stressful to live with so many people together.
What’s your favourite piece of nature?
I think of the forest. Forest with rocks.
And is that also the landscape that you grew up in?
I grew up in the city, so not, really. But close to the city. I think forest is the part of nature I spend most of my time in. But just not the real forest. Just the forest where the trees are standing in a row, production forest. But I mean, I like the mountains too. So I was thinking, okay, mountains are the perfect type of nature. But in the end, especially in the high mountains, you have just snow, rocks and some smaller plants. In the end trees can be so beautiful and the lights and they are various and different. It’s perfect when there are rocks inside the forest.
What activity do you prefer to do in nature?
I really like all kinds of mountaineering, from hiking to climbing. Skiing in the winter, especially cross-country skiing. So sport, sporty activities. But I also like to just go into nature and sleep for one night there. Cooking in nature, I really enjoy cooking in nature. Something that I do quite often when I’m in Berlin. Just going outside, take some things, and cook a meal there.