In June it was time for my solo quest at Vrijleven ( translated Free life, how good is that company name!! ) The Solo Quest is based on the ancient ritual where boys on their way to adulthood were sent into the wilderness to come back as men. And because everything boys can do, girls can do better ; ), there I went. 

I went into my quest feeling all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Who doesn’t want that? 24 hours with plants around you, making a fire, cooking, walking, sleeping under the stars. I’m someone who really enjoys trying new things. The restlessness, the discomfort that I feel when I try something new makes me happy. I believe in the one-liner: life begins at the end of your comfort zone. And I enjoy spending time with myself, consider myself good company. So no matter what happened I believed that it would turn out great.

I arrived in good spirits. With my hammock and mosquito net under my arm, I was allowed to find a spot that I wanted to call my home for the next 24 hours. I found a lovely spot between the trees with a nice view of the sunset later that day. I spent my day walking, looking around, and tinkering with plants. The highlight was cooking on the campfire. That is not unexpected of course, since food is my jam.  I regularly spend a day in nature. That’s why I wasn’t surprised that I could easily fill my day. What did surprise me was my slight preoccupation with time. After all, I was alone and time didn’t matter.

Time is an interesting topic. What is time? Somewhere in history someone determined that man needed more structure than sunrise and sunset. And now our awareness of time regularly leads to problems in our current society. There is never enough time, or it takes too much time, many people are always late, and there are many more examples related to time. What would happen if we really started listening to our nature again?

In the past few years I have gradually moved closer to my inner clock. For example, I learnt more and more to listen to when I’m hungry, and not just eat because it ‘time’ for breakfast, lunch or dinner. My body will also tell me what it needs in terms of sweet, salty, fat, carbohydrates, proteins. In short, I am listening to my body, my inner clock and acting on it. 

Before my quest, I hadn’t really considered my bedtime seriously. I had noticed in the past few weeks that early in the evening I got a signal from my body that it wanted to sleep, but I chose to ignore it. After all, I had been telling myself for years that I was a night owl. I did find myself meditating earlier in the evening, but instead of surrendering to sleep after, I would just start a new part of the day. 

During my quest I couldn’t get around it. It is not allowed to bring any input (no music, books, Netflix, telephone), so when the sun started to set, well, there wasn’t much else to do but sleep in the hammock and I quickly fell into a peaceful and deep sleep. 

This completely disproved my belief. And when I examined this experience in myself, it soon dawned on me that, in day to day life, I fill the time after sunset with unnecessary things. And why? If I go to the core, this has everything to do with surrendering to what is. Of course I thought I was pretty good at that, surrendering myself to life. But unsurprisingly, a new door opens to take it one step further all the time. With this insight I hope to be able to let go of time a little bit more, to live in the present and go with the flow of it.

Spending time alone in nature brought me closer to my own wisdom, the confidence I have in myself and the realization that I am part of a greater whole. All I have to do is listen and act on what I hear and feel. 

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