At Way of Nature we believe that we can lead better lives by reconnecting to the power of nature. We run retreats and programmes to help people step back from the busyness of everyday life to find whole new perspectives to living life and bring back deeper qualities of purpose and balance. Our experiences range from day-long workshops to long programmes. We are excited to be creating and hosting a new generation of experiences that combine adventure, learning, deep immersions in the wild and wisdom from ancient cultures.
Take a look below at our programmes for 2019. They include short programmes, family camps, men’s’ and women’s expeditions, and two extraordinary programmes related to navigating life and opening up creativity in the 21st century.
A course for men hosted over 4 months – June to September 2020
It’s so easy as men to live in our comfort zones. Even within increasingly hectic lifestyles that cram in too much, there is no time to slow down. Men often neglect creating free time in exchange for the “to do list” aspirationally busy lifestyle, when what they are yearning for is some solitude and space for free thinking and reflection. Our work may challenge us intellectually, but how often as men do we take risks, explore our edge, step outside of what we know, and challenge ourselves emotionally and physically?
During this programme we will support each other to explore where our edges lie and ask ourselves what challenges us about being men, and what do we love about being men. Through inquiry, movement-based work and time in solitude in the wilderness, we can return to our daily lives more centred, with a greater capacity to be confident and relaxed, within ourselves, in every situation.
Join us for an extended 4 month programme that will inspire the courage to tell the truth and dig into how we show up as men. Where we will explore cultivating stillness, reawakening a sense of aliveness, delve into purpose and enjoy the support of community.
Spring 2020: A Retreat About Outer Adventure and Inner Safari Our journey begins with a revitalising soak (traditionally done as a purification ritual) in a natural thermal hot spring. We then begin a 5 day hiking retreat in a sacred valley in Tuscany, well known for it’s stillness, stunning landscapes and abundance of wildlife. Each morning we will begin with a mixture of Qi Gong, an awakening wild workout and Wim Hof breathing. Our days will be filled with scrambling, wild swimming, dialogues around defining our purpose and exploring our shadow. The retreat will focus on developing our sense and embodiment of presence, in preparation for a 24 hour ‘solo’ – time alone camping in the wilderness inspired by the Vision Quest tradition. Spending prolonged time in solitude in nature has been practiced by men for more than 10,000 years as a Rite of Passage or Initiation ritual, where men returned to their communities with a defined sense of meaning and of their role within the tribe.
Summer 2020: Growing Together Over the following four months each participant will belong to an inquiry group that will meet regularly online or physically (if distance allows), to explore themes of meaning, communication, polarity, relationship and more. As a group we will circle up once a month between June and September, to take part in a men’s group together via an online platform. This will be a time to check in and share our challenges and things we want to celebrate with each other. Men’s groups offer participants accountability, clarity, challenge, support and a unique environment to really tell the truth about yourself – something which is often lacking in conversations down the pub or with long-term male friends.
Autumn 2020: Harvesting our Insights We will conclude our journeying together by reviewing and sharing insights we have gained, offer each other honest feedback, discuss the themes of purpose in community or career, and support each other to carry these lessons out into the world.
Please note that the calls are optional concerning attendance.
– Nick (2018 participant)
Please note: This journey will be physically challenging. Expect to learn new practices for living in the wild, and to carry all of the food and shelter you will need over the expedition.
Why Men’s Work
Men’s work is about intentionally moving beyond the ‘macho’ culture that has been pervasive in western culture for so long. It’s about exploring our own vulnerability, shadow, shame and brotherhood that extends beyond pub chat or watching sports together (which is often superficial). Men aren’t taught to ‘share’ their inner world, something that women are more inclined to do. In a consumer culture of greed and power, it’s important that men don’t feel alone with their feelings and their pain. At present men are 8 times more likely than women to take their own lives, rates of depression and mental health are all sharply increasing and 1 in 4 men claim they don’t have anyone to turn to in times of need. Men’s work offers safe environments for men to share what’s really going on for them below the surface and an opportunity to be seen and supported by other men, many of whom can relate with their own similar experiences.
Adrian Kowal – Adrian is the co-founder of Way of Nature UK and is regularly mind-blown by the alchemical reaction of combining men’s work with Rites of Passage nature connection practices. He has trained and assisted in facilitating programmes with John P. Milton, and has been leading and taking part in regular men’s groups for 6 years. Adrian has also been running Evolve, a centre for growth and wellbeing in London, for 8 years and has working knowledge of both urban and nature-based wellness practices.
Jim Morgan – Jim has a deep passion for the protection of our wild places and our relationship with the natural world and it’s therapeutic and health benefit for us all. Through rewilding ourselves, reconnecting to the land and lighting the fires of wildness burning within us, we can begin to explore our shadows in order to see our light.
Jim is a transformational coach with Animas, eco facilitator, natural mindfulness guide and currently on a year long immersion into ecotherapy and 10 Directions program with Tariki Trust. Jim works and volunteers with a few nature connection programs in the South Downs National Park working with vulnerable and challenged young people and adults suffering with mental health and depression.
The first retreat is scheduled 10th June – 14th June 2020. The calls will be scheduled over the the following 4 months.
The retreat will take place in a sacred valley in Tuscany, Italy. The final camp out will take place in South East England, details announced on registration.
*We are able to offer two reduced price bursary places on this retreat. To apply, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a short description of who you are and why you would like to come and be part of the journey.
To book, please complete this registration form, following payment instructions at the end. To find out more about the programme please contact us at email@example.com.
Dart Valley, Devon, UK – 5th to 8th June 2020
“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” – Arundhati Roy
In 2020 we are delighted to host our third Way of Nature Women’s programme: a very special experience to support rest, reconnection, and opening up to the power of the wild feminine.
The journey, guided by two highly experienced and deeply caring guides, will take place in the unspoilt beauty of the Dart Valley. There, over five days, the group will explore capacities for reconnection, relaxation, presence and the cultivation of universal energy. At the heart of the process there will be a 24 hour ‘solo’ – a period of time all alone in Nature. This is a rich and often unforgettable exercise practiced by people throughout time. Around the ‘solo’ there will be space to share stories and wisdom around the fire, and to help each other take magic from the experience back home.
This programme will be set around a camp next to the river Dart in the exquisite Dart valley. The journey will weave in and out of Dartmoor, ancient woodland, enchanted moss-covered boulders, lichen-encrusted tree trunks and pools of crystal clear water to swim and delight in. All the while the journey will be supported by the flow of the river as she twists, turns, rushes and drops into serene stillness.
– Arrival and Welcome
– Awareness training (rooted in relaxation, presence and energy practices)
– 24 hours solitude time in wild nature
– Reintegration training
The programme will include conversations, night journeys, poetry, meditations, nature connection activities and a constant flow of exploration through the woods and the deserted moorland. The group will cook together and sleep under the stars.
Din van Helden
Din brings a wealth of experience, facilitating group processes and learning programmes by working in Nature. Her passion is in supporting to connect – both to self (exploring authenticity, personal strengths and values) and to community (through deep listening, constructive conflicts and transformative innovation). Din has trained and worked with John P. Milton, founder of Way of Nature in the US, for a number of years, and she brings a sound experience of working with core Way of Nature principles.
Motivated by a desire to explore and connect with people and wild places, Israh has travelled and hosted programmes all over the world. Her journeys and programmes have included travelling the Silk Road, trekking in New Zealand, the Middle East, Central America and Europe, and the Pacific Crest Trial (from Mexico to Canada). She is a qualified Mountain Leader and trained in Outdoor Environmental Education, and has lead expeditions worldwide. She has particular interests in Rites of Passage work and runs a Nature Based mentorship outdoor programme for teenage girls. As a trained midwife she has worked with remote tribes in the Afar region of Ethiopia and in Zanzibar’s government and bush hospitals.
The price is £575 including guiding and food.
Early Bird price is £495 for registrations before 31st January 2020.
We are offering two bursary spots for this programme, at £295. To apply, please contact Din via firstname.lastname@example.org with a description of why you would like to come and be part of the journey.
Secret Island, Summer Solstice Quest
Scotland, 19th to 23rd June, 2019
This year our summer programme will take place in a very amazing location – a secret island, off the coast of Scotland, during Summer Solstice.
Secret Island Quest is a core Way of Nature programme, including an introduction to essential Way of Nature practices and a 24-hour Nature Quest looking out to the ocean. Through the journey we also make room for island adventures, sea swims, big fires and relaxing under big summer skies.
The journey begins on the west coast of Scotland, where we will transfer to the island by boat to be the only human visitors. Over the days, we embark on a journey combining Way of Nature practices, an individual quest into the wild, mini-adventures around the island and work to integrate the benefits of experience back into life and work.
The process places emphasis on core Way of Nature principles: the principle of relaxation; the principle of presence; and principles to support connection with the flow of life.
The Nature Quest itself involves finding a spot on the island, marking a circle between nine and eighteen metres in diameter and stepping into that circle to let everyday life fall away and a whole different quality of perception to emerge.
On your Nature Quest you take as little as possible with you. A tent is optional, as is food, but we certainly leave all books, devices and other forms of distraction behind. It’s difficult to explain how special and helpful this space can be. It is like a deep ‘reset’ button for the heart and mind.
After the ‘solo’, we come back as a group to share stories from the experience, and to explore how to take the magic from the experience back into life and work. At a time when people feel so disconnected from nature, this part of the process is more and more important.
We host this journey with great care, dedication and joy. Time and time again people tell us that it has helped them make profound and long-lasting changes in their lives.
The Secret Island sits four kilometres off the mainland of Scotland. It is a mere two kilometres long by a kilometre wide, shaped by rugged cliffs and rock pools on one side and white sand beaches on the other. With no roads, jetty or pier on the island, we will be the only people there – landed on a beach by the family who has spent the last forty years there.
On the island sits a single house, kept company by a ruined fourteenth century chapel, a host of wild animals and the Brounie – the spirit that watches over the place. The island is truly magical and an unheard-of rarity in this packed and packaged modern world.
We are very happy and honoured to be able to use this place, and in this way help the family’s intention to preserve the island as a nature reserve programme.
This is about carving a different quality of space and time.
Some of what we will cover:
– Tools and practices dedicated to relaxation, awareness and connection, supported by nature
– Moving exercises and meditations to support stillness, flow and awareness (inspired by T’ai Chi and Qi Gong (pronounced Chee Gong)
– A personal ‘Nature Quest’ in an extraordinary private place on the island, supported to do so with extra care at this time of year
– Space for personal practice, writing, drawing and more
– Fire-side conversations dedicated to stillness and connection to everyday life
– Plenty of down time and time to be in a personal solo spot on the island
– A later call to keep insights and lessons alive back at home
Andres Roberts is a guide dedicated to a new kind of progress, fit for a positive future for all. His work combines renewed ideas about learning and change, reconnection to Nature, and the wisdom of ancient cultures to help more positive, and more systemic, change happen. Building on twenty years of experience in learning and leadership, Andres has studied with respected elders from across the world, helping to make ancient wisdom and Nature-based practices more accessible in the modern world. Andres is co-founder of Way of Nature UK and founding partner of The Bio-Leadership Project.
The price for the full retreat including all activities, practices, accommodation and food from Wednesday to departure on Sunday is £625 and £550 Early Bird price for registrations before 10th April 2019. As always, we will also offer bursary options by application. Please get in touch to find out more.
All participants are welcomed on this programme as guests of the island, and fees contribute as private donations towards protecting and restoring nature.
To book your place on this programme please complete this registration form, following payment instructions at the end.
For more information please email email@example.com.
Equipment and Camping
We ask that you bring your own camping equipment for this programme. Please check our packing list to ensure you have everything you need.
The meeting point for this programme is on the West Coast of Scotland, three hours drive from Glasgow. We will be looking to depart for the island on the morning of the 19th June, so you may need to travel on the 18th June. We will depart the island to have people back in Glasgow by 3pm on the 23rd June.
The arrive at the secret island we will be met by our hosts at a meeting destination on the west coast of the Kintyre peninsula. The location is accessible by road from Glasgow, and there is a regular bus route.
Forest Family Camp: A magical long weekend of camping under the stars and celebrating nature together
The Quadrangle Trust, Kent – 26th to 28th July 2019
Our camps are a space for you and your children to feel the grass between your toes, to revitalise, replenish and rediscover your wild side.
Join us for an enriching weekend of nature connection, delicious vegetarian food, wild swimming, storytelling, music, movement and campfires hosted at The Quadrangle Trust.
Together we’ll build a community made up of 25 families that offers a safe space to re-wild ourselves and our children. Workshops will be aimed at children aged 4 – 8, but open to all.
Join the tribe, the camp is just the start….
Leading the camp are a team of outdoor living enthusiasts with passion and skills in nature, craft, food, music, well-being and story-telling. They’ll support you and your family to explore and connect with your new environment, community and the art of mindful living.
The Quadrangle is a great space for this gathering with a wild-swimming river, a huge brick barn to use for dining, play and workshops, an orchard and permaculture forest garden. The yurt is a cosy spot for after dinner storytelling or rainy day creativity. The 1970 Airstream caravan is a cool spot to play and read.
The emphasis is on creating together, seeing how much we have to explore and enjoy when we are without our belongings. The days take on a natural rhythm around the weather, the daylight, cooking and communing.
Your day can flow between bushcraft, storytelling, dancing, music, face-painting, fire building. There are sessions to reflect and practical workshops for parents around inspiring activities in nature for the whole family. Lots of time for ‘free play’, which might include snoozing in the meadow, wild swimming or woodland walks.
Packing list and pick up times from Shoreham station to come in the Welcome Pack once you have registered.
Who’s it for?
Parents interested in:
– Forest schooling
– Allowing their children to be ‘free-range’ in a safe environment
– Low-impact living
Not for parents wanting to:
– Drop their kids off and party
The aim of the camp isn’t to just have a fun weekend but to provide parents and children with the inspiration, games and tools to support a lot more time spent outdoors as a family.
We see our children spending more time outdoors as crucial to their education and incredibly supportive of a more whole upbringing.
Why is this important? Read more here about the benefits of being in nature and having freedom to play.
In order to keep the modern distractions of technology at bay we will all enjoy a digital detox and request all participants to leave laptops and iPads at home and have their phones switched off or on silent for the duration of the camp.
Free places & free kit
We rely on the support of our community (you) and your community (neighbours, friends, family, schools, churches) to raise funds to provide free and subsidised places.
If you would like to run a fundraiser please get in touch
If you would like to give us or lend kit….
This is a great opportunity to unravel from unhelpful habits.
We request all participants to leave laptops and iPads at home and have their phones switched off or on silent for the duration of the camp.
We offer a minimal sugar diet.
A Low-Impact Week-end
We’ll be aiming for the weekend to have as low a carbon footprint as possible and our environmental policy includes:
– Vegetarian food
– Food that is locally sourced or home-grown
– Recycling and re-using wherever possible
– Saving water (encouraging people to swim in the river rather than have a bath/shower)
– Organising lift shares and doing pick-ups from the station to discourage driving
The Forest Garden: In 2010 the trustees at the Quadrangle began looking at how the pasture field could be used in a different way, produce food and help to educate people in ecology and low-impact living. The concept of a forest garden using the design principles of permaculture began taking shape. There is now over hundred young trees – apples, pears, plums and autumn olives, and fruit bushes – gooseberries, raspberries, red, black and white currants. Paths take you through the long grasses and around the trees to the camping circles. The river Darent runs gently beside the garden, with steps down to it for swimming and boating.
We will use the Main Barn as our dining space and backup workshop space if we have wet weather.
A Mongolian yurt and a vintage Airstream are on site for play and workshop spaces/dens.
There are 6 toilets and three showers on-site including 2 compost toilets in the Forest Garden camping field.
Arrive between 2 – 3.30pm on Friday
The camp ends between 4-5pm on Sunday
Amy runs the Secret Seed Society encouraging families to grow, cook and eat vegetables through imaginative projects and storybooks. She’s an experienced dancer, cook and urban farmer.
Zoe loves to connect with others through her love of movement, nature, craft and myth. Zoe is an experienced performer and healer, and a facilitator of movers, shakers and makers, big and small.
Founder of Almost Any How is a skilled facilitator and designer of spaces for communities…
Grant can help you heal your body, calm your mind and build things out of wood. Having taught himself everything he knows Grant is a brilliant developer of processes for people to work within and is the facilitator of a number of community art & activism projects.
– Bring your own tent: £150 per adult/£80 per child (for adults this breaks down as £80 for the weekend ticket that includes all the workshops, talks and events and £70 for all the amazing meals)
– We have a few bursary places available – please get in touch if you would like to find out more.
Price includes local transfers from the station, all sessions and vegetarian meals.
To make a booking please follow this link: https://www.tickettailor.com/events/wayofnature/244202/
If you have any questions please email: Adrian Kowal
How do I get there?
Trains run frequently from London Charing Cross to Shoreham. It’s a direct train and only takes about 40 minutes.
If you’re worried about getting the train with all your stuff have a look at our packing list. Last year people said they brought far more than they used. You might be surprised how little you need for a weekend, especially when all your food and activities are catered for. We’re encouraging people to get the train together and we will post out which trains to get a few weeks before the camp. As well as supporting the environmental ethos we’re all working for, the train journey is going to be a super fun way to meet fellow campers (think hogwarts!).
Ditch the car…
If you normally just fall back on your car here’s a chance to be supported in challenging yourself to take a more environmentally friendly way to get about with your family. You might be surprised how achievable it is and you’ll be doing your bit to make the world a better place for your children’s future- by committing to pollute less, and teaching them that sustainable travel is accessible and fun!
What do I need to bring?
Below is a list of recommended equipment to make your family’s time at our camp as comfortable as possible. Please do bring a few additional bits thatyou know you or your children will need – though it is our invitation to pack as light as possible and enjoy minimal living for a few nights.
If you have a guitar that you play or percussion instrument please do bring it along!
What if it rains?
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing” forest school maxim. If you’re wearing good waterproofs and are warm and dry inside your clothes then you and your kids will find playing in the rain is fine, in fact it’s fun!
Can I charge my phone?
Our site is really small so you won’t need your phone to be in touch with friends at the camp. For that reason we encourage you to turn off your phone while here. As well as so you have your eyes and ears open to all the beautiful things you and your family will be doing.
If you need to make an urgent call to someone outside the camp you can do this from the lane where reception is available. Emergency charging is available at the farm house.
iPads, laptops and other electronics such as amplified music/speakers are not allowed at the camp.
What will we eat?
We’ll be turning seasonal ingredients into a variety of delicious and nutritious dishes for each meal. Everything will be vegetarian. There will be fun roles for us all to play in preparing, serving and tidying away from each meal. Our kitchen leader, Amy, is an expert at exciting children (and grown ups) to create and eat colourful plant based food. You’ll no doubt learn some new recipes, flavours and techniques for making food in the wilds. There’ll be some cooking on fire and with big pots!
What if me or my kids are hungry/thirsty between meals?
Teas, coffee and all sorts of healthy snacks are available to help yourself whenever you need.
Are there toilets?
There are flushing toilets at the farmhouse and lovely compost toilets in the camping field. These have the benefit of recycling human waste, and smell like sawdust.
Can I have a shower?
There are 3 warm showers at the farm house. Mostly people find that it’s much more fun to bathe in the little river that runs past the camping field.
What happens if there’s a medical problem?
We will have first aid qualified staff on site. Please ensure you let us know of any specific medical information before you arrive.
The Journey – A Contemporary Rites of Passage Programme for Young People
The programme is currently offered to partnered schools & on a bespoke basis
‘The Journey’ is creating a movement that reconnects young people to nature, successfully transitioning them into adult life. We offer young people from across the country a journey of self-discovery by helping them to find their purpose in society.
Teenage life is such a pivotal time when young people are presented with a wide variety of options in the road and enter a cultural, social and personal period of tremendous transformation. Social media culture, increasing issues with mental health, body image, eating disorders and an overemphasis on external ways of defining success all contribute to an ungrounded arrival into adult life.
With so little being formally taught in contemporary education about how to cultivate successful relationships, hone emotional intelligence, deal with conflict and build self-resilience, many young people arrive into adulthood unsure of themselves and bereft of a sense of purpose. The work of ‘initiation’ – the
symbolic crossing of a threshold – is about helping young people to make the leap to take full responsibility for their lives and how they impact the world; to become active agents.
The Process and the Benefits
Our school pilots are made up of several half day trips, an overnight adventure, and a three day expedition that culminates in a 12 hour ‘solo’ . The solo is where the participants spend 12 hours alone in nature – before returning to make sense of their experiences and share their journey with their communities.
For the bespoke programmes, we strongly recommend that we spend a minimum of 5 contact days together with the young people, as we have found that this is the ‘minimum effective dose for this kind of work to have an impact. These days can either be split into two separate sessions – ie 2 days first that could be an initial weekend, then 3 days later – say in a half term.
During the programme, participants who have previously felt weighed down by their ‘stuff’ – both material and otherwise, reduce down to simple and vital tools. Together we will look to step beyond our current consumerist thread of society and dream about a brighter future. Together we will ask “How do we navigate what is truly crucial?”
Giving participants the chance to slow down for the duration of the programme without gadgets or ‘normal’ routines encourages enquiry into their passions and values, instilling courage and confidence for both connected and independent thinking and being. Simplifying our connection to self offers tools for decision making in the future that have a significant positive effect on self-worth and one’s own sense of value, translating into healthier choices – especially around job, behaviour and lifestyle.
Spending time in nature requires learning new skills as well as taking responsibility for self care and group wellbeing, thus encouraging and inspiring a new sense of self to emerge. This has the potential to support young adults to break free from unhelpful old stories of self whilst also empowering the forming of new, healthier concepts.
6 things teenagers feel when they have finished the programme:
– Engaged and connected to the natural world
– A more intimate knowledge of their inner landscape
– Enhanced self-worth and belonging, and a move away from the need
for external validation
– A toolkit of practices and processes to use to navigate everyday life
– Greater sense of purpose and aspiration to bring about positive social
– Understanding of the gift of stillness
As opposed to the Duke of Edinburgh Award’s focus on goal completion and external validations of success, our programme offers participants a way to get to understand themselves, learn through the experience of other participants and gain a first-hand experiential sense of their intrinsic relationship to nature. An emphasis is placed on harvesting participants’ insights after their immersive time alone in nature, that can then be integrated and brought back into their communities, in turn empowering them to be leaders of change in society.
Phases of the programme include:
Preparation – Becoming engaged
Separation – Naming the things participants want to leave behind
Crossing the threshold – Stepping into new self
Reintegration – Transferring learnings into everyday life
There is a growing body of scientific research that is deducing the positive effect on mental health, immune levels, stress and anxiety – a powerful antidote to the stresses that preparation for exams produce in young people. Here is a summary from a few scientific studies involving the health benefits of spending time in nature:
• Immunology research shows that forest-related activities, even for short periods, can increase human immune function by facilitating the activity of NK cells (which play a major part in the rejection of tumours and infection) and anticancer proteins
• A recent study has indicated that forest walking can improve self-rated health status and tends to decrease psychological stress in healthy individuals
• Negative moods states and anxiety levels decreased in forest walking compared with urban walking.
• A study showed that hostility and depression scores decreased significantly, and liveliness scores increased significantly after time in a forest.
• Stress levels have been shown to be related to the magnitude of the shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) effect; the higher the stress level, the greater the effect.
If you are interested in co-creating a bespoke Rite of Passage programme for any young people in your life, please get in touch and we can answer any questions you may have about what we do. If you believe that a school you have involvement with may be open to running a programme with us, please get in touch.
Our typical scenario is for developing and delivering the whole programme, working with two lead facilitators and a producer. The programme is split into design, planning & production and delivery.
For the bespoke programmes are seeking an investment of £600 per participant to cover time involved, all food, a small contribution to venue hire, transportation & logistics, gear hire and insurance. Payments are able to be made in installments.
Modern Vision Quest
Wild Scotland, 31st August to 8th September, 2019
Our deepest, wildest programme of 2019. This journey honours ancient practices of going into nature alone, to be still, to reconnect, to observe, and to bring a special kind of understanding back to life.
This year Modern Vision Quest will take place in a sensational wild place in Scotland, where each participant will spend four days alone as part of their quest.
About Modern Vision Quest
Throughout time and across cultures, people have gone into nature alone to seek guidance. Some people call these journeys ‘Vision Quests’ – journeys away from the everyday, to make space, to support transitions, and to look for something deeper in life. Modern Vision Quest is just such a journey, made fit for modern times.
Our Modern Vision Quest stays true to time honoured traditions while making it relevant to how we live today. So our journey starts with where you are at – with your questions and intentions, which we work with in the months before the expedition, and we help create the best possible journey from there.
Making base in the remote peninsula of Knoydart, in Scotland, here we strip back from everyday life. To begin, we camp together, in the most extraordinary setting, to prepare for our quests. These days involve working with nature-based practices – tools and techniques from ancient traditions – to support stillness, connection, openness and flow. Over these days we also share stories to support each quest. We do so in the way that our ancestors did before us – around fires, making time to listen deeply, always with the help of nature.
We then move into the Vision Quest. This involves setting off alone to a place in the mountains, marking a circle and stepping into it for four days and three nights. It is hard to describe the insights and feelings that might come from the process; a chance to be alone with your own true self and wild nature all around you. Slowly, you might find yourself more at ease; more aware; more connected with a deeper truth of things. It is something very special to keep with you through life.
Here we place more emphasis on the ‘yin’ – on the art of making space, and letting things be, and the principles of emergence. To support this, we share tools and knowledge from our personal experience, including influences from Taoism, Buddhism, traditional ceremony, myth, story and a range of approaches to transformation and learning.
After the quest, we return to our shared camp, to share stories and insights from the experience, and to explore how to take any lessons back to life and work. We also arrange two calls in the months after the programme, to help keep the experience alive.
We think that this kind of immersion is one of the greatest gifts a person can give themselves. It is a process we host with much care and respect, while doing so with lightness and joy. Here, we also do it in a way more designed for modern times. We don’t believe the world needs more ‘striving’ or ‘pushing’. The emphasis here is on stillness, peace and relaxation – letting nature cast her magic in her own way.
This programme takes place in the far North of Scotland. You will need to arrange travel to be in Mallaig, Scotland, by the evening of the 30th August, to meet as a group on the morning of the 31st. We will finish as a group on the 8th of September, and can work with you to arrange adequate departure times that day.
£1250 including all guiding, meals and local transfers from and to Mallaig. An Early Bird price of £999 is available for bookings before 31st March 2019.
Two bursaries spots are available at £695. To apply, please contact us with a description of why you would like to come and be part of the journey.
To book, please complete this registration form, following payment instructions at the end. For enquiries, please email email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Still Life: Discover Doorways in Downtime
Tuscany, Italy – Dates 15-20th October, 2019
At the heart of this programme lies an invitation to the ‘solo’ – a 24 hour solitary immersion into deep nature, awe and wonder. Inspired by the traditional Vision Quest, the ‘solo’ has been practiced by many people and cultures across time.
Living in a time where we spend increasing amounts of time indoors and online this programme promotes slowing down and creating space in wild nature. The invitation is to connect with a deeper sense of yourself and your place in the world. We practice this through balancing what John P Milton refers to as your ‘three natures’ – outer nature, inner nature, and the deeper nature of life.
Our time together includes wild swimming, awe inspiring landscapes, nature connection practices, meditation and techniques of council and ceremony – ways to communicate from the heart and share stories around a roaring fire. All this is held and contained within a carefully designed programme drawing on lessons from ancient wisdom and Nature as guide.
If you are a looking to make more space in your life, navigate change, go deeper on your path or connect with awe and wonder then this programme may be just right for you.
This retreat is also a great first step for those considering a Way of Nature Full Length Vision Quest.
This immersive experience begins with grounding and opening up the senses; a process about letting go as much as it is about trying to achieve anything. This balance of presence and relaxation, or yin and yang, is at the heart of everything we do and begins with the intelligence of the body.
After the 24 hour solo, we return to our base camp, to share stories and insights from the experience, and to explore how to take any lessons back to home and to work. As part of this integration phase we offer a group call in the months after the programme. Adrian and Natasha also offer 1:1 mentoring sessions as a support to ground these learnings into your everyday life.
Why fast on a 24 hour Solo?
Fasting helps us enter ‘betwixt and between’ state. The shift in perception that emerges can help us to be more present to ourselves and Nature’s messages. Fasting is recommended and optional.
“I would strongly urge you to get involved with Way of Nature. What they are doing is unique and, quite simply, essential.”
I guide individuals and groups through life transitions with nature. With over fifteen years experience leading programmes that connect people back to their true nature I have been moved and honoured to witness countless stories. What I call The Big Listen, listening and attending to what has purchase on your heart and the stories that live underneath whatever work you do in the world.
My approach which can be understood in terms of ecotherapy, nature connection and rites of passage embraces a reciprocal process that sees personal development and therapy as a part of nature as a whole. This way of working weaves together the main threads of my life; creativity, dharma (truth), mythic journeys, the intelligence of the body and nature.
I am a member of the Wilderness Guides Council, an accredited Mindfulness teacher and an ordained Buddhist nun. I have a PGCE, a Masters in Fine Art and am currently training with Stephen Gilligan in generative therapies.
Adrian is a wilderness guide, adventurer and grower of movements. Through his long and deep interest in wellbeing and inquiry, he blends together practices for more balanced living, contemplative tools for self-knowledge and an intimate playful way of experiencing our inner and outer landscapes.
Adrian has been catalyzed by his guide training with John P. Milton and draws on his exposure to hundreds of wellbeing practioners through his wellbeing centre – Evolve in a multitude of healing and thriving modalities. He has been leading Men’s Groups for many years and is passionate about creating safe containers in the groups that he leads to enable a more intimate level of sharing.
What really gets Adrian juiced up is exploring remote rivers, introducing the joys of wild camping to others, ‘up-side-down’ fires and time alone in the wilderness.
Tuesday 15th October – Sunday 20th October, 2019
Location and Travel
The base-camp has a wild-wood, fire-pit, beautiful river running through and is right on the edge of the a dormant volcano and the largest beech forest in Europe.
The programme will take place in a mountainous remote area of Tuscany, Italy. The nearest transport hub is Pisa, from which trains run to the city of Grosseto. Grosseto is where you will be picked up and dropped off.
The cost of the retreat includes: Transfers to and from Grosseto, accommodation which is camping (with your own tent), all guiding and tuition, all meals and a group call three months after the programme has finished to reconnect and share.
The price is £625
Early Bird price is £550 for registrations before 31st March 2019.
*We are able to offer two reduced price bursary places on this retreat. To apply, please email us at email@example.com with a short description of who you are and why you would like to come and be part of the journey.
To book, please complete this registration form, following payment instructions at the end. If you have any questions or would like to explore what is involved by phone please email Natasha who will be happy to help.
Here are some frequently asked questions.
Q: Do I need to prepare anything for the retreat?
A: Nothing but an open mind, and willingness to experience nature in a new perspective.
Q: What equipment do I need?
A: We recommend the list below for each retreat. Of course please do bare in mind the time of year and the location of the retreat. If there is anything special which is not included in the list below, we will let you know.
– Backpack – max 65 litres
– Water containers – minimum 2 litres + 1 litre
– Sleeping Bag – ideally 3 season for most programmes
– Sleeping Mat/Thermarest
– Tent, bivy bag, or tarpaulin (plastic sheeting to tie to trees or lie on to keep dry)
– Head torch with full batteries
– Basic first aid items (pain killers, plasters, bandages etc.)
– Warm clothing and clothing to change into – two layers of everything
– Waterproof layers (jacket & trousers)
– Extra layers for warmth at night
– Hat for warmth / sun
– Hiking, trekking or sports shoes – and spare shoes in case of rain
– Socks to change
– Swimming costume
– Comfortable clothes for stretching/yoga activities
– Sun cream and shades to protect your eyes
– Mosquito repellant
– Notebook & pen
Q: Do I need to know any bush-craft / survival skills?
A: No – it is not necessary to know how to start a fire with a bit of string and a knife, or make your own survival shelter. On some of our retreats you may be instructed in some basic bush-craft techniques however no previous knowledge or experience is required. Even if you don’t know how to put up your own tent, your friendly guides will be on-hand to help you with that.
Q: Can I bring a phone / camera / journal / book on my solo?
A: We encourage participants to only take a phone with them for emergencies at keep it off for the duration of their alone time. We also recommend to not bring a journal and pen on your solo to enable you to focus on presence and experiencing what is unfolding around you.
Q: Where can I review and download your Terms and Conditions?
A: You can review them here: terms-and-conditions-2017
If you have any other questions, please send us a note via our connect page.
“A truly grounding experience that offers the tools and understanding to develop practice into the future” – Edward, Inverness, Scotland
“Life changing – an opportunity to find space and purpose” – Nicole, London, England
“A practical way of finding deep connection and a meaningful way of living through the application of simple practices and principles drawn from universal wisdom” – Jennifer, Texas, USA
‘On the Edge of a Cliff‘: A beautiful blog by Ed Gillespie, co-founder of sustainability communications agency, Futerra.