Where Do You Find Your "Waldeinsamkeit"?



I’m with mgraf68: You’re going to have to find these places on your own, because I am terrified of them becoming more over run with people than they are. And some remain startlingly and breathtakingly isolated from human intrusion. I think it’s rude and destructive, intrusive, to ask people to identify and list these sacred places. Perhaps it is better to spur conversation about how individuals find those places, what they mean… and how they can be protected.

Michigan’s, and the Great Lakes’ in general, secret places are special for that very reason: they are secret, often hard to get to… or are on the cusp of being ruined in much the same way the remoteness of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore was ruined when they paved H48… now you can hear the whine of motorcycles in places where once the only thing you could hear was Lake Superior, wind and birds. I keep them close to my chest and am terrified that one might appear on a list like this one.

One secret of secret places is to go when no one else does… or to walk away from a parking lot or paved trail, often no more than a half mile. There’s a state park not far from where I live that is inundated by people for two months of the year, but delightfully abandoned for much of the rest. I’ve also worked hard to make my own backyard one of those sacred regenerative places.

I think museums also serve that function.


There are several central and northern California beaches I like to go to. It doesn’t matter if there are other people around, I can sit on the sand and watch the waves crashing on the shore, and still be totally alone and calm. The sound of waves always brings me peace.


West of Mill Valley, on the Panoramic highway, is a California State Park (Alice Eastwood camp ground). Here you will find many places to escape the madness amongst the trees and creeks…
In particular, our family spot is a place in the middle of the creek on a large rock, near the campsites, where we as a family go each time we’re there. On this rock, I asked my children to close their eyes, feel the suns’ warmth, hear the creek gurgling, the birds and insects going about their ybusiness, the smell of the redwoods and the soils, and the plants, and the water. Then, I asked them to place this place in their permanent memory along with each of the sensations they felt (for each these sensations are different…).
Now years later, we still have this place and those feelings of peace and tranquility to go to any time we NEED peace and escape from the madness.
I think all humans regardless of who they are or what they do, need a place like this to go to in their minds. Learning to capture the essence of a place is really important to me. I try to do it everywhere I go, where I find these jewels. Keeps me sane.


Somewhat predictably and appropriately :wink: I found “waldeinsamkeit” in the hills and mountain forests surrounding the Bavarian village of Oberammergau.
I lived there for 4 years from the age of 11 to almost 16, and I would OFTEN hike into the mountain forests by myself , with a canteen of water and perhaps a honey sandwich (and occasionally a compass!).
These are almost totally pine tree forests surrounding a basically rural village so the forests are VERY quiet… a carpet of feet-deep carpet pine needles, no leaves rustling in the wind, the lack of really any birds except the occasional crow or raven, and the ease of finding a spot untrod by anyone possibly in millennia create the perfect “waldeinsamkeit”. Over time, I found my very own, personal locations in those forests.
I have gone back to Oberammergau many times, and when I am walking there, in close proximity to the forests, all my cares and stress (what little I have, thank God) float away. And when I am somewhere other than “O’gau”, temporarily stressed and in need of a short mental and physical break, I take my mind to those forest locations and I can feel the peace just soak into my total being. The stress just melts away.


along the coastal paths at Sea Ranch, California.


My favourite place to experience waldeinsamkeit, here in Tasmania is on the Highland Plateau, Dixon’s Kingdom, a beautiful native pine forest. On two consecutive trips to Walls of Jerusalem National Park with larger groups I have stayed behind in the forest while they undertook the 3-4hour return trip to the mountain. Being in that forest with dappled light, the melancholy wail of the currawong and the shivering sound of the wind in pines (or was that a tigersnake)

at Dixon’s was easily some of the best waldeinsamkeit i have experienced and despite much of Tasmania being like that, it’s often risky to go too far on your own.


Wow, I love this painting!


Thanks, an oldy but a goody…one of 6 or so I painted while in The Kingdom on the first of my trips. The second time I took several disks of fresh clay and made impressions of the textures and they became ceramic coasters. Haven’t been there lately(just many other places) but it has a special hold on my imagination. The second trip i also experienced aurora australis, so you can imagine how amazing it is! Luckily it has, so far, escaped bushfires currently on the plateau…that would be devastating as the pines would probably not grow back in my lifetime.


HAving lived in the country for 25 years I have been spoilt for choice of places to be alone and in nature. Now that I am living in a city, I too have discovered it’s possible to sit by the bay with joggers and walkers and dogs all whizzing past yet be completely at peace and both within and connected without to the beauty around me. My first years in the city saw me needing to find those rare places I could be alone in bushland or at night but there was also an element of danger with that. Now I can feel safe in the crowd but still at peace :slight_smile: The bay in question is Wattamolla on the shores of a Sydney suburb.


That’s really sad to hear Gretchen , I really hate all the barriers that prevent people from enjoying the natural world around us. I think its ultimately our birthright as humans and as a species of animal to enjoy such places.

I have to agree with Paul’s comment below , learning an art of self defense is definitely a very useful life-skill and could really improve things with regards to enjoying and exploring places. Personally I would really reccomend taking some classes of good old boxing as it offers the primary forms of self defense on which pretty much any martial art is comprised of and with some application can be learned pretty quickly.

Also , I dont know where abouts in the world you are located or the laws surrounding carrying objects there, but again I agree with Paul that carrying something to use in self defense would also be a good idea.

There are lots of options to choose from , pepperspray / mace is legal in a lot of countries and from what I’ve heard from friends who have unfortunately had to use it , its a pretty good deterent. There are a lot of “tactical torches” on the market that are made out of aircraft grade steel and can double as blunt weapons should the occasion arise that you need to defend yourself. On a lot of these flashlights they have these flickering strobe modes which can be easily triggered and used to disorientate a potential attacker. I had a Fenix LD20 torch for many years and while I fortunately never had to use it on a human attacker I did carry it around with me if I was going around cities at night and used both functions of it successfully on a really aggressive stray dog.

Then there are some really old school self defense every-day-carry gear like keeping a sharpened steel comb, sharpie pen or even just a well sharpened pencil close to hand.

Hope this helps and you are soon able to enjoy exploring nature without the fear of being attacked.


Really beautiful painting Persey ! I bet the Tasmanian forests are out of this world


They are, in their own special way, beautiful as well. Attenborough even did an episode. There’s a sense that you are so close here to geological time, ancient and patient, which we are in such a hurry to destroy, if not through climate change then certainly through habitat destruction. Tasmania! Famous for fresh roadkill, rendering the thylacine extinct, and in the time we’ve lived here the Tasmanian devil population has diminished by 80%, & gorgeous tiger quolls are going the same way. Of course Tasmania, among islands, is not alone in that outcome, unfortunately, but it sure makes you appreciate what is just beyond your daily travails. I love some of the other waldeinsamkeit spaces people have posted, hold them dear and be first in line to champion them and their creatures for those still to discover them.


I’ve never really ‘got’ hammocks…despite coming from a country populated with venomous snakes…but this photo is great! Cherish.


I have lived between two wild rivers in the country at the beach in the Redwood Forest for 5 years (reminds me my anniversary is in a few days). Yes, all of the above. I take my lunch a top a 5 story seastack out past the waves, past noise, except a few barking sea lions.

Other days I might take lunch on a footbridge in the forest trails. Alone time is gratitude time for the most beautiful planet of them all, for Teddy Roosevelt preserving the Nat’l Parks for all of us. These are not secret spots, but all mapped out for tourism. However, there is that one moment in time, that the animals, sky, sun and shadows will never be repeated, and those are just mine.


About 10 miles south of Boston is an area known as the Blue Hills Reservation, it’s a 6,000-acre state park in Norfolk County, Massachusetts. As a young man back in the 70s and 80s I would hike in an area known as Rattlesnake Hill for hours at a time and sometimes not see another person. I did see a huge snake there once but I think the Rattlesnakes have died out pretty much. I had one favorite rock where I would sit and contemplate life, with Boston off in the distance and just trees and birds around me. Sometimes it got so quiet deep in the woods I would be completely at peace.


There is a shabby little dirt road next to the lagoon in Velddrif, West Coast in South Africa, called ‘Bokkomlaan’, where the pelicans hang out - not sure whether we watch them or they watch us …! My favourite spot on earth!


For serious inner work, I like an empty desert landscape where I am completely alone. I found my spot in the San Rafael Swell in southern Utah, where I have returned many times to sit in a sacred circle and drum and meditate, calming my mind and opening my creativity, surrounded by clean desert sands and a red and purple vista of mountains and canyons.


I completely empathise Gretchen and no, Paul Maccain, I don’t want to learn jujitsu or carry a weapon when I go for a walk. I’m fortunate to have lived in some places where I felt safe enough to walk alone, even at night, but shit happens even in the most tranquil places and my nature has been to take risks and not be confined despite always having a frisson of fear, which is not what anyone should have to feel when wanting to be peaceful and connect with nature. I have had some scary encounters but even that has not stopped me as yet. It has certainly honed my skills of observation and awareness of my surroundings, much like a wild animal. I hope that one day soon all women and children and anyone vulnerable will be able to be on their own in complete confidence and serenity.


No matter the time of year, nor the number of people around, reclining in a chair with my feet buried in warm sand and ocean waves in my ears, is by far the most wonderful place of solitude for me. The minute my feet touch the sand, my heart rate slows down and my blood pressure drops. I can tune everything out. And my favorite beaches of all time are in the Florida panhandle.


hey hayestrent!
I think this comment probably belongs in our conversation about waldeinsamkeit here:

I’ve moved it over at this time!