Modern society has a dehumanising effect. Our lives are dictated by alarm clocks, traffic jams, constant multi-tasking and countless distractions. The result being that many feel a penetrating sense of alienation from our surroundings and ourselves. We have seemingly unlimited options and yet we feel as though we are missing something. To alleviate this feeling we often feel as though we must flee into a world where the trappings of modern society are conspicuously minimised. It is as though the wilderness, the one place we have yet to fully control, is where many of us feel the most human; it’s an irony that is so thoroughly exemplified during the bushwalk experience.

On a bushwalk we become part of the natural landscape whether that is our intention or not. Stepping off the vehicle, everything comes alive. With a slew of potential dangers lurking, it’s essential that to be aware of the surroundings and how we fit in with them. Those lacking in education regarding the bush cannot but help feel vulnerable as it becomes all too obvious that the environs care little about our general well-being and will not hesitate to do harm. As with any experience that reminds us of the fragility of life, walking in the bush inspires awe and appreciation.

While we may indeed fall victim to the bush, it will also undoubtedly be the source of tremendous pleasures. It’s out on foot that we can bask in the aromas, feel the satisfying ache of your muscles as you ascend a termite mound, listen to cacophony of sounds as animals go about their day. There are thousands of scenes, elephant sized to minuscule, that embody the complexity and efficiency of nature.

All the bush requires of us is our attention; once that is established it has everything necessary to repair our humanity. Whereas modern society all but forces people into a mould, the wilderness encourages us to be that which we are. It encourages the slowing of thoughts and the putting aside of distractions in favour of the present moment. A bushwalk may be dangerous and unpredictable, but it is also profoundly humbling for reconnects us to the place that first taught us how to be human.