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TYPES OF journeys: After so many days of confinement, the desire to walk in the middle of nature is inevitable, especially for those who live in small urban flats.

For this walk to be very profitable in terms of healthy and psychological benefits, the practice of shinrin-yoku, a journey sterm that can be translated as “forest bathing”, is ideal. What does it consist of? On a simple walk through the woods.

Of course journeys, without cell phones, without taking photos, in silence, and above all, focus on the smell of the plants, the noise of the leaves, the textures and colors as if we were part of it.


In short journeys, open up to nature and awaken the senses during the experience. This technique does not require special physical preparation and has been promoted by the Japanese government for three decades in order to reduce the stress levels suffered by urban populations.

And it is not only a magnificent anti-stress. Scientific studies also affirm that its regular practice lowers blood pressure, relieves chronic pain, strengthens the immune system, improves sleep disorders, reduces the risk of a heart attack… and without healthcare costs!

The ideal forest journeys kidz would be a mature one, that is, at least some of the trees are over 100 years old, but any quiet and leafy forest is suitable. Better to opt for those that offer a variety of environments: shadows, clearings, rocks, wetlands…

The routes are circular from 1 to 2 km and can be done alone or in a group. If it has never been practiced before, the help of a certified guide in shinrin-yoku is highly recommended, at least the first time. Some forests that have this service are the Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Parks. The Selvans association carries out this forest therapy in 11 forests scattered throughout Catalonia.

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Contact with nature is one of the best medicines. Walking gains health does not pollute, and loses weight. The latter is the wish of many after confinement journeys! But we must not forget its proven psychological benefits:

it lifts your spirits and relativizes problems. It is as if the open horizon, the vegetation, the streams, and the waterfalls washed away a good part of the worries. Hiking can be a sport or a pleasant walk, depending on the route chosen. If you go on your own, it is best to follow the GR (long-distance trails) marked in white and red, which signpost routes of more than 50 km.

They usually pass through natural and historical spaces of great interest and are throughout Spain.

One of the most attractive is perhaps the GR11, also known as Senda Pirenaica, which crosses the Pyrenees from end to end. From Cape Higuer, in Guipúzcoa, to Cap de Creus, in Girona. They represent 800 km in more than 40 stages. Of course, each one decides the section they want to travel to. In high mountain areas, it is usual to spend the night in shelters, but due to COVID-19, the practice of bivouac (sleeping in the open) or tents is recommended. Although the vast majority of these paths are signposted, it is important to plan ahead, visit the information centers, and bring a guide, map, or Wikiloc.


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Few routes are as revered and followed internationally as the Camino de Santiago, with multiple services that make it easy. The experience of the pilgrimage implies being open to what the day brings, communion with the landscape without leaving any trace other than the footsteps themselves, the value of meeting other pilgrims (keeping their distance), and of course, learning and transformation. in oneself, if done with full attention.

Different Spanish universities are carrying out a study to find out scientifically the psychological effects associated with the pilgrimage. The (provisional) results indicate a reduction between 20% and 50% in stress, anxiety, and depressive symptomatology. Although these effects are diluted over time, the evaluation three months after completing the pilgrimage confirms that they are still significant.

Due to the circumstances, less traveled variants are recommended, such as the English Way or the Portuguese Way, and obviously, sleeping in private hotel rooms or inns.


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With more than 2,800 km of greenways scattered throughout the country, it can be said that anyone has one close to home, and without knowing it! These are disused railway tracks of great scenic beauty with very gentle slopes and are perfect for exploring them in many ways, but with the bicycle, you discover new landscapes with your eyes and nose at a speed just right to appreciate nature.

Or what is the same, mindfulness is practiced almost without realizing it and in a very entertaining way. If one of the concerns of parents is that their children only entertain themselves with digital media, after so many days without leaving the house, the screens have only reinforced this situation.

Bikes info:

That is why a ‘screen detox’ for the whole family is essential! Practicing cycling with the young people in the house is more than just leisure. Not only do they exercise, but they also satisfy their innate curiosity by discovering the world around them.

It also implies the formation of values such as effort and perseverance, respect for nature, responsibility and proper use of the vehicle, as well as the need for attention when driving. It is advisable to bring enough food and water in case the bars and restaurants are not in full activity due to the coronavirus situation. But above all, do not forget the headlamp to go through the tunnels, a great adventure for them!


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Once in a lifetime, you must visit a sanctuary! Perhaps the best known is the Elephant Nature Park, north of Chiang Mai, Thailand, where elephants find refuge from an abusive industry. It is not necessary to travel so far to live this experience. In Spain, unfortunately, there are quite a few farms where different species of animals rescued from a past of abuse, exploitation, or abandonment coexist.

It is about making life easier and more pleasant for these animals with physical journeys and psychological consequences. They are moving stories but with a happy endings. It is wonderful to see horses, goats, calves, etc. camping at your leisure in the middle of nature. Most are friendly and touchable, but this experience goes beyond mere entertainment.

Animal life:

Spending the day with them is also benefiting from the positive energy of these animals that have been able to heal their traumas. Some sanctuaries work with people for therapeutic purposes, especially with vulnerable groups such as battered women or minors with problems. Contact with these animals, usual horses, provides a deep and restorative connection.

After the “confinement trauma”, activities that have to do with animals bring very healing benefits in many aspects.

The Fundació Miranda, a horse sanctuary in Catalonia, carries out all kinds of activities related to equines: retreats, coaching, camps for children, events, etc. Another place that deserves a visit is the Leon Vegano Animal Sanctuary, in the province of León, where its guided tours are very educational and emotional journeys.

The Mino Valley Farm Sanctuary, located in Galicia, is open on the first and third Saturday of the month. Of course, you need a reservation to enjoy this experience.