Walls and Wanderings

Do you ever ask yourself about the earliest motivations in life for where you are now?

We all know we are who we are because of all the experiences we have had in our lives, the people that helped us figure out who we are, the circumstances we lived through that formed our priorities and aspirations in life.

I often think back like that.

But especially today, on the 9th November, I think back and wonder what that one big Berlin Wall coming down 30 years ago has to do with my wanderings, particularly WanderWomen.

1989 Demonstrations in Halle, East Germany

First of all, had that wall not come down, had the system not weakened and broken under the pressure of the people, I wouldn’t be here, in the UK, in Scotland. I have lived here for over half my life now! Imagine! Before the wall came down, we were only allowed to a select few countries in the East of Europe!

Growing up in a system with little freedom and lots of political pressure and suppression, my family often took holidays in the wild, spending weeks kayaking wild rivers, nudist bathing, spending summer holidays in the mountains, sleeping in the hay of a remote farm high up in the mountains, or leaving everything behind at Christmas time to spend time in a hut in the snowy woods without electricity or running water. Seeking the ultimate escape and freedom from restricted system and screwed politics, in nature.

Many months before the wall actually came down, and the system of the GDR, the German Democratic Republic, broke down, people took to the streets. Every Monday. It became part of my routine as a 9 year old: on Mondays after music school it was time to meet in the market square, light candles, hold hands with strangers, our neighbours, standing united, building human chains reaching through the whole of East Germany’s citys, demanding change from the government. It was a risky thing to do, but the masses encouraged each other. Community made us stronger. We were all a little scared, but something needed to change. Together we made the change happen. Together we chanted: “Wir bleiben hier” – We are staying. We are not going to secretly disappear in the middle of the night, like my neighbour friends Peter and Paul did, whose parents decided in the dark of night, without having told anyone, to leave, to seek freedom in West Germany, to pack bags, and go. Via the embassy in Hungary. Many people chose that route. Some chose to escape via lilo on the Baltic Sea.

My brother and me

We were to stay. We just wanted the system to change. It’s worth fighting for change. I do remember that now, and let my past empower me, when we go and take to the streets with Greta Thunberg, fighting for the governments of the world to change laws, behaviours and thinking in favour of our planet! We can do it – I know it! There is no escape route out of this world. We have no choice but to live on this beautiful planet of ours. We are staying!

What these young years of mine have also taught me is to question things, to look at things from a different perspective, to not take the status quo for granted. There are different ways of doing things. The education system is there to support us and our children, but there are ways where we can take control and make a difference.

I flexischooled my children during their primary school years, because I believed they needed to learn about the outdoors more, experience that being at one with nature is an essential skill that we have un-learned in this modern society. Reconnecting with the elements, rather than being afraid of them, making fires, climbing trees.

With WanderWomen, and seeing such beautiful variety of women, I find that so much is wrong in our lives, we are stationary too often, we don’t move enough, we aren’t comfortable with the uncomfortable, we let weather discourage us from going out, which leads us to being disconnected from nature. As a result we take our depression to the doctors, who prescribe us drugs. Really? I have yet to see nature prescription in action, apparently it’s happening in Scotland already.

I want WanderWomen to be the change. Keen to connect more women to nature, swim in the sea, breathe the fresh air, and let mother nature help us heal.

I want the WanderWomen community to grow into a healthy community that gets people out, together, away from screens, and social media, and make believe social interaction.

Don’t feel you are ever stuck, don’t feel you are alone. You can be the change. We can be the change, together.

Grateful for my upbringing in a suppressed country and all the learning it has brought me.

Grateful to now be able to call Scotland my home, together with my husband and 2 boys.

Grateful for the easy access to beautiful nature.

Grateful for the growing WanderWomen community – we are getting better together, every day.

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