Strawberry Hill Farm

Written by Jacques Marais
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“And into the Forest I go
To lose my Mind
and find my Soul”

John Muir

Trip back in time to approximately 50 000 years ago – to a period when our homo sapiens forebears roamed Planet Earth as free-ranging hunter-gatherer clans – and imagine a world still utterly wild. No roads, no cities, no power lines, no pollution, or man-made structures of any kind, and sans the muted roar of planes, trains and automobiles.

Vast forests stretched way beyond the range of the human eye, but the spread of #savannah grassland had seen us gradually descend from our arboreal life as human apes living mostly in trees. Opportunist dashes in search of small mammals morphed into our contemporary bipedal gait, but we slowly got the hang of this walking thing as we hunted for the protein fix necessary to feed the energy demands of our large and ever-growing brains.

Surprisingly, our anatomy has not evolved in huge leaps and bounds since this #paleolithic Period of the Stone Age, although the same cannot be said of our lifestyle. Instead of the constant walking, squatting and clambering which kept our #paleo ancestors in shape, we have instead succumbed to sedentary torpor … This means sitting in an office chair, couch or school desk for up to 14hrs every day and then sleeping for another third of your day, leaving precious little time to move around. (Exercise tracking shows that your average American moves less than 600m per day).

This lack of #naturalmovement – or concurrent exposure to the #greatoutdoors – has become a major contributing factor to backache, obesity, depression and other maladies plaguing our contemporary state of health. Yet, it can be so easily cured: all you need to do is release your ‘inner animal’ and reconnect with #nature. Get outside and lope like a chimpanzee, hang or clamber like a monkey, lumber like a bear, just like our forefathers did many millennia ago … Or you could just lie back and lose yourself amidst the trees as you treat yourself to a rejuvenating #forestbathing session 🍃🌲💙

If you do this regularly, it will surely benefit your life in untold ways, and this is one of many reasons why I like to regularly escape into the forests of Grootvadersbosch Conservancy with Karyn Marais and the family. This privately owned #conservancy is not only a sanctuary from the rush of city life for us, but also rates as our favourite #junglegym by far! It is a pristine place where you can #rewild to your heart’s content amidst gnarled tree trunks and moss-covered rocks to return to your caveman roots. Hang, hike, climb, ride, meditate, do a #wimhoff immersion in an icy pond … all while revelling within a world where you can get back to #barefoot basics while connecting with the essence of #PlanetEarth 🌎

What a privilege to play on the #trails and see Aileen Anderson, Luke Cocksedge and Emma Prain for fireside chats and Baleia Wines & Olive Oil here on the incredible Hessequa – The Explorer’s Garden Route. This is a trailrun, mtb, hiking and birdwatching paradise, and arguably the perfect way to escape all the #COVID19 negativity out there. And thanks for getting us there safely, Isuzu South Africa 💙👌🚲

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