About

What this blog is all about

Hi, I’m Rianne. I believe anyone who connects to nature, anyone who truly knows it, will want to protect it.

“People protect what they love.”
– Jacques-Yves Cousteau

I was fortunate enough to experience a couple of trips that opened my eyes to the power of nature and our place within it. Plants provide us with everything we need. They give us beauty, food, wellbeing and stability.

I think the best way to connect with plants is to grow them, understand them and be in awe of their natural intelligence. So I’ve started to study horticulture. I’m learning a lot and my passion to save our ecology is getting fuelled along the way. This blog is a record of my journey and hopefully a source of inspiration for anyone wanting to re-connect with the wild and protect it’s future.

My posts fall into one of the following categories:

  • Plant stories – a moment to reflect on the beauty of plants
  • Community – how plants can unite people
  • Sustainability – protecting our planet and our future
  • Culture – celebrating the diversity of people’s relationships with nature
  • Well-being – the personal benefits of nature
  • Business and innovation – the big thinkers and visionaries

I also have a separate ‘Gardening journal’ section where I document everything I’m learning hands-on from season to season. If I can learn how to garden, anyone can!

The trip where I connected people to earth

We walked up the red dirt path with the heat pouring down and a towering volcano watching over us. She was the mother of the soil that had nourished this small village in Rwanda for years.

The children ran alongside us with their machetes in hand and when we reached the top of the hill a secret garden revealed itself to us. Our guide beamed with pride as he stood in front of his fat cabbages.

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I was with a group of volunteers of the Goboka Rwanda Trust and we were at one of many community projects we’d visited over the past two weeks. As I listened to this proud gardener explain how this piece of land (donated by the charity) provided his village with food and income the connection between people and earth seeped into me. This piece of land provided stability. It provided peace.

The trip changed my life. When I got back to England I looked at everything I consumed very differently. The stories behind the clothes I wore and the food I ate screamed out at me. With every purchase they got louder and louder. I continued going to work but moved back in with my parents to save up, quietly knowing that I needed a big change, but not knowing what.

A year later I was accepted as a team leader with Raleigh International and after a few months of training sessions I was on my way to Nepal in January 2018. We prepared in Kathmandu before starting our projects in rural villages across the country.

The trip where I connected to nature

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Our team lived in the remote village of Archale in the foothills of the Himalayas for two months. We stayed with a local family, slept in their house, ate their food and occasionally danced with them by the fire.

Every day I woke up with the sun at 6am before going to dig with the community. Towering mountains watched over me. Every kind of consumerism had left my life. There was rarely electricity, no road and no shops. I’d even managed to drop my phone down the loo so didn’t have a camera between me and reality either.

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It was just me, the people and the land. My office-moulded body ached from the physical labour but I was more spiritually and physically alive than I had ever been.

When I got back to England I was in culture shock for a long time. I’d been living out of a rucksack for three months and became familiar with the small amount of possessions I really needed. The choices in the supermarket felt overwhelming, they still do.

Finding balance and changing career

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Living with nature had bought me a sense of peace and balance that I wanted to keep. I allowed myself time to think, read, learn and step outside of the digital career I’d had for ten years. I was completely lost but I knew that’s exactly where I needed to be.

Nine months later in January 2019, during a conversation about how lost I was, a term I’d never heard before landed on my lap – permaculture. It was the map I needed to navigate through everything I’d experienced and believed in.

Permaculture is about earth care, people care and fair share. I realised soon into studying this that taking care of our land is what I wanted to do, in a very practical way. I wanted to be outside, I wanted to understand nature, and I wanted to teach people about its magic so that we all want to protect and regenerate it. I wanted to be a gardener.

If this resonates with you in any way, or you have any questions please get in touch at riannemason@gmail.com