If you were to ask me about my favourite place on earth, I would struggle to come up with an answer. I have seen so many places of exceptional beauty with unique memories they created. However, there is one of them, which holds a special place in my heart.
It was 7 years ago, when I first set foot on this island in the Indian Ocean. I was 19 years old and I just had finished high school. Regardless of the fact that I passed 12 years of education, I felt like I knew absolutely nothing about life. People around me seemed like well-functioning puppets doing things they did not really like. It did not look tempting to me, to become one of them without questioning.
With that in mind, I decided to take a look at the world for myself. I had been traveling for a few months already when I came to Tasmania. Driving around in an old van I had seen snow white beaches, wonderful night skies and warming bonfires before I reached Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park. I only had a few days left, so I decided to just go for a small hike. Yet still this hike would become very exceptional to me.
I started early. A wooden boardwalk led me through large swamp meadows, where morning dew was gleaming in the sleepy sunrays. All around me: a sea of colours. The grass showed mixtures of verdant green and burning red. And here and there was a silvery shine from one of the endemic Giant Grass Trees, which look exactly like what you would expect by the name.
It was a quiet walk. I still had tired bones from a cold night in the cramped Van. While I wandered, inhaling the fresh air, I observed the world around me, which was stuffed with all shapes of life. Between lush ferns on the ground, small trees grew from the rich dark soil. There were tiny lichens on moist rocks and the air was filled with shiny butterflies and the smell of rain.
After a while the canopy thinned and I stepped out on a small beach on the lakeside. The lake’s water showed an extraordinary red colour and white stones, which framed the shoreline, created a beautiful contrast. I had never seen anything like it before. Around the water’s edge, there were tiny flowers blooming, while in the background, Cradle Mountain majestically framed the perfect picture by no other means than just resting there, as it had done for millions of years.
I remember this moment very clearly. For the first time in life, I felt my inferiority to nature. I was overwhelmed and humbled by its perfection. When I sat down on a moss-covered trunk, I thought about how humankind had lost connection to nature. All the different life-forms around me were as strange to me, as I was to them. Sadly, I felt like I did not know my own family and that this alienation was the reason for all the problems in the world.
While sitting there, I stared at the water, smooth as glass, and realized I had two options now to fulfil my strong desire to become closer to nature again.
Firstly, I could stay here forever and try to live in the woods. I have heard about people doing it before. And maybe I would be lucky enough to be picked up by a tribe of Native Australians who would take care of me.
Or secondly, I could go back to the life I knew, and use my 12 years of prior education to enrol in Environmental Science at a University.
Now, I was never good at decision-making but since all I had in my pockets was a floppy muesli bar, I decided that option No. 2 seemed – at least for the moment – more reasonable to me. And that was it: the very moment I found my path.
Today I have graduated in Ecosystem-Management. My current master programme has just begun. When I look back to that moment now, I realize that the untouched beauty of nature made me understand a lot about life and its purpose. Since I had grown up in a country where “nature” is degraded to human-formed landscapes, I had never seen unaffected wilderness before. Its forms transported a message of ancient wisdom to me, which made me feel at home in this world.
Eventually, I know it was traveling which made this experience possible for me. A practice which can be so very harmful for our environment. That is the reason why I am trying to find a way to make sustainable travel possible, and why I keep on writing stories to raise awareness on how to protect our mother nature and therefore, ourselves.
- Meike Becker
- : I was born and raised in northern Germany but I feel at home in many places. I am 26 years old and I have a degree in Ecosystem management. When I am travelling I write about people and places I meet on the way and about sustainable projects which are already been done all over the globe. For the future I want to combine my passion for travelling and the passion for creating a sustainable world. Let's see what 2020 holds for me.
- : https://meikeunterwegs.wordpress.com/
- : https://www.facebook.com/meikeunterwegs/?ref=bookmarks
- : https://www.instagram.com/meikeunterwegs/
- : On my website you can find a mixture of nature philosophy, travel-adventures and helpful hints and tricks for travelling in a more sustainable way. I am also working on a collection of articles about sustainable projects I have visited worldwide. People who favor visiual impressions can browse through my gallery of the best shots I made on the way.
- : adult_(19_and_over_as_of_31st_december_2019)
- : This is the first time this story has been published.