Guest contribution by Michiel de Koning.

The mountains at dawn, snow on the glaciers flowing into a river, the sun slowly passing over the mountain top, reflecting our faces in the KantoorKaravaan. With three friends I travel throughout Europe searching for a lifestyle that helps me thrive.

In the early morning I have questions about what thriving actually means. After some thinking, and with support of internet, I learn that synonyms are to bloom, to prosper, to flourish, and to grow or develop well. While digesting our breakfast we start our climb without an idea how high or far the top is, but it looks beautiful and not so far away. We charge the mountain like a dog running after a stick, but after a few minutes, and a heartbeat of 160 BPM, we take our first break.

Looking around, we see that we are closer to the glaciers, the flowers blossom and the trees grow on a steep hill. We decide to continue walking and slowly reach the top of the mountain. After five hours we finally reach the top and with an epic view over the Mont Blanc and the glacier right next to us, we order some soup at the restaurant. After a short break we decide to walk on a glacier, are we the last generation to walk on this icy spectacle?

Only now, after six hours on the mountain, I become aware of the complexity, beauty and harshness of nature. The mountain peaks are all around me, the ice sheets are far stretched, and sometimes with nasty deep holes. We jump over them as children would do, completely in the present moment. While being aware of the steps I take and the surroundings I feel a sense of being grounded and connected. This is not a typical feeling I get when I am in the city and my first learning of this trip comes from an experience in nature.

This learning is the experience that being connected to nature gives a feeling that is hard to describe but it comes close to the emotions of being in awe, satisfaction, affection, admiration, and enjoyment. All of them are positive emotions that make me feel that I’m thriving.

Stay tuned for more insights @KantoorKaravaan and @MichieltheKing

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