Nature's Call: What Drives Us to Explore?

Adventure Camping Hiking Mountain Culture® Travel Wellness By Kühl Editor

The call of the wild.

Most of us feel it at some point in our lives. The desire to leave the city and technology behind and go for a true adventure. But where does that drive come from? What is it about nature that makes us long to explore mountains, bathe in rivers, stare in awe at silent canyons, and sleep under the stars?

It's a primal, deep pull that's different for us all. Still, it leads us to the same place. Nature. Below you'll find a few reasons nature might draw someone in and cause you to yell, as Bilbo did in The Hobbit, "I'm going on an adventure!"

Time Slows Down

We live in a society that's constantly moving.

There's never enough time in the day. Between alarm clocks, meetings, deadlines, lunch dates, and social obligations, life never pauses. And when it does, most spend their time in front of the TV or scrolling through Social Media. There you'll only find others living their lives a million miles an hour.

In truth, there's never a moment of genuine, resting peace. Nature, however, promotes and teaches us harmony and balance. When you're at the top of a mountain, staring out at a forest of trees or a beautiful lake, the world is perfectly still.

At that moment, as you breathe in the fresh air, as the noise of the modern world fades away, you can experience true peace.

In Nature, You Are Enough

There's a lot of pressure in today's society to climb the ladder, make enough money, and look a certain way. Living life with that much weight on your shoulders is stressful and exhausting. Nature provides relief.

When you find yourself surrounded by towering trees and babbling brooks, society's pressure fades away. Beauty isn't found in a mirror; it's found in the starry sky above you or in the clearing filled with flowers. You're not required to dress to impress.

Nature doesn't care what you're wearing (though you should dress in proper outdoor clothing to keep you safe and warm). It doesn't matter how much money is in your bank account; it only matters that you know how to set up a tent.

It's a liberating feeling, and it can actually reduce the stress and anxiety you've built up over the years. Studies have shown that there's a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression.

Natures Call What Drives Us to Explore - Lady walking in KUHL winter hiking clothes.
Cold weather hiking! Have a look at our sneeze-free winter hiking clothing guide.

Nature Reminds Us What's Important

In today's world, it seems like you can never have enough. There's always more money to be made, more items to be bought, more delicious food to try. Not that we think there's anything wrong with delicious food. Everyone loves Taco Tuesday.

But the desire to always have more is dangerous. Nature models "just enough" sustainability. Trees grow to just the right height, tall but not too tall. Rushing rivers are full but don't overflow. And squirrels store just the right amount of food to last them through the winter.

You'll never see two squirrels competing to have the biggest acorn stash. They take what they need and nothing more. Nature, simply by existing in harmony, teaches us to be thankful for the small things and reminds us that what we have is often enough.

That's an important message, and it's one we really only see in nature.

Nature Challenges Us

Modern life can easily become stagnant. It can feel like we are living the same day over and over and over again. After a while, it becomes emotionally and physically exhausting. When this happens, we often find ourselves turning to nature.


Because nature provides us with challenges that ignite our soul and drive us to do our best. Scaling a mountain, hiking to the top of the peak, or even catching a fish are just a few of the challenges nature provides us. Unlike some of the challenges we face in our modern world, these challenges are beneficial and healthy.

They give you a drive and purpose. They challenge both your mind and your body. And when you achieve your goal, you are rewarded with a captivating view or a dinner you can be proud to have provided with your own two hands (and a fishing rod).

A woman covered in a blanket standing in the woods.

It's Human Nature to Long to Explore

Humans are curious by nature.

We like to know how things work and why. It's driven us across continents and even into space. If an uncharted territory exists, we automatically want to know what lies within. Exploration has changed over the years, but it has been part of our collective identity from the beginning. We crave adventure and long to discover hidden truths.

We crave excitement. In a world that has become fairly predictable in our day to day lives, we often turn to nature. Nature used to be all we knew, and cities and technology were the unexplored adventures. But in today's world, where we spend too much time behind a desk, looking at screens, or lying on the couch, nature is the great mystery.

What's waiting at the top of the mountain? What lies within the forest? What is just around the river bend? (Now we're just quoting Pocohantas, but you get the point.) We long to know, to explore, to see for ourselves what awaits us in the great unknown.

Steward Weaver, whose survey of the history of exploration was published by Oxford University Press, puts it this way: "For all the different forms it takes in different historical periods, for all the worthy and unworthy motives that lie behind it, exploration—travel for the sake of discovery and adventure—is it seems a human compulsion, a human obsession even (as the paleontologist Maeve Leakey says); it is a defining element of a distinctly human identity, and it will never rest at any frontier, whether terrestrial or extraterrestrial."

We Get to Explore a New Side of Ourselves

Nature allows us to explore a new side of ourselves. In nature, we leave behind all the luxuries of modern technology and learn to 'fend for ourselves'. It's here that many feel they find their true selves, the core of who they are underneath all the finery. It can be exciting, to see a new side of yourself or revisit who you were when you were a carefree child, running wild and free through fields of grass and scaling trees.

If you have a desire to explore, you're not alone. There are several books and movies dedicated to people's deep desire to find themselves in nature. You can learn more about the amazing benefits of travel and adventure, find outdoor clothing for your trip, and find exciting destinations to explore, by visiting the KÜHL website and their Born in the Mountains Blog.

Natures Call What Drives Us to Explore FI
Kühl Editor