The evidence is clear that when we’re connected to nature, connected to our inner selves and connected to other people, we live healthier and happier lives.
Today I would like to introduce you to Kathryn Walton. I met Kathryn in 2019 when we were both presenters at the Goondiwindi Queensland Rural, Regional and Remote Women's Network Conference and we hit it off straight away. I really enjoyed talking to Kathryn about her hiking trips and her passion for living a simple, intentional life. It is also her desire to encourage people to benefit from the healing properties of the great outdoors.
Thanks Kathryn for being my guest today!
Living simply looks different for different people. What does living simply look like for you?
Living simply for me means:
Do you have a specific interest that you like to focus on in the area of simple living?
My practice towards living simply focuses on using fresh, home-prepared foods as much as possible including home-grown herbs, vegetables, fruit (when the possums leave some for us and when there is water in the dam!) and eggs.
I also love to reuse and re-purpose instead of buying new things such as clothing, packaging and craft items.
Going on regular multi-day walks carrying everything I need on my back serves to keep things in perspective.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey toward living a simple life. Was there a catalyst that led you to follow this path?
As a child my parents grew a lot of our own fruit, vegetables and eggs. We grew up on home baking, home-made clothes and hand-knitted jumpers. It was normal to re-use and re-purpose all sorts of things to make items for the house or for play such as little tables and pot plant holders. I loved reading Grass Roots magazines and became interested in permaculture and self-sufficient lifestyles when I left home and had a place of my own to care for. It’s been a blessing to live on a bush block for the past 25 years and watch my own children develop a love for nature and a passion for the sustainability of our world.
Although I had this wonderful foundation in my life, I’ve also pursued a busy lifestyle with lots of projects, volunteering and activities on the go. I think I’ve tried to fit ‘all the things’ into my life and to do them perfectly. But in more recent years I’ve felt the effects of being constantly on the go and striving. Even when you love your busy life, your physiology gets stuck in a stress response which can contribute to chronic health conditions. Being intentional about slowing down, connecting with nature in meaningful ways and living more simply has made a huge difference to how I feel and keeps me inspired to continue my journey and share healthy lifestyle information with others.
What do you find challenging about trying to live simply?
When life gets busy, I find it more challenging to maintain a lifestyle that is calm and nurturing. Each year I choose a word as my guide and this year I have two words – ‘spaciousness’ and ‘lightness’. If something doesn’t actively contribute to my sense of spaciousness or lightness, then I’m working on letting it go and keeping things simple. It’s not always easy to manage the inner stories about what you ‘should’ be doing.
A practical challenge I find tricky to navigate is the issue of packaging on purchased goods that can’t be re-used or recycled.
What are some of the benefits of this way of life for you?
The benefits keep showing up as I move towards greater simplicity in living:
What simple pleasures bring you joy and help you to slow down?
I get so much joy in so many things that help me slow down!
Are there any podcasts, books, documentaries or websites that you have found helpful?
I love podcasts! Here are some that have helped me on my journey towards simpler living:
Some books I love:
A documentary that is very informative and motivating:
What is something new that you have done or learnt about in the last year?
Over the past year I’ve made some tweaks to my food shopping. I’ve been buying fruit and vegetables as often as I can from a store that resells local fresh farm produce rather than purchasing through the larger supermarkets.
I also enjoy taking my own containers in to be filled with a wide range of consumable products at another local family-owned business which is also a drop-off point for several different recycling programs.
I’m pretty excited to have just set off on my most recent learning adventures - soft cheese-making at home!
What would you like to learn about or do in the future?
I want to learn so many things but in the spirit of keeping things simple and living more richly I’d like to add value to what I already know rather than learning something completely new.
I’d like to have the knowledge, skills and resources to continue to grow food plants through severe drought and very hot summers like we’ve had for the past few years.
It would be wonderful if I could learn to improve my sourdough making too!
And re-learn and practice playing the guitar.
If money or time were no option what would you like to do?
I’d spend way more time on multi-day walks and bike packing adventures with my husband, discovering and immersing ourselves in amazing natural landscapes, travelling to cooler places during the hot summers at home or visiting family and friends afar.
I’d run the majority of my business online so I could continue to guide women towards improved mental health through connection with the outdoors.
When I’m not travelling on adventures I’d love to be at home nurturing my permaculture garden, re-sewing old jeans and clothes into new useful garments and homeware, creating with wood, painting and sitting on my verandah in gratitude as I breathe deeply and watch my gorgeous free range chooks scratch around the yard.
If people would like to learn more about you and what you do, how can people follow you online or get in contact with you?
My website is: https://www.kathrynwalton.com.au/ where you can send me a message, follow my blog and subscribe to my Grounded Inspiration newsletter which comes out about twice a month delivering inspiration and information to help you get connected with nature, with your inner self and with useful resources that up-level your health and well-being.
Outdoors is my Therapy Podcast: Listen via my website
https://www.kathrynwalton.com.au/wp1/podcast/ or using your favourite podcast app or player.
Outdoors is my Therapy Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OutdoorsIsMyTherapy