Authors: Hildegunn Marie T. Seip & Johana Houskova
This study explores the significance of experiences in nature for people’s ability to cope with challenges. The purpose of the study is to shed light on how experiences in nature (friluftsliv) may bring about long-lasting impact that transfer to other contexts. To explore these connections, a grounded theory approach was applied. The data collection consisted of in-depth interviews with a strategic selection of participants with extensive outdoor experience. The analysis develops five central concepts: The outdoors, the concrete, change, challenges and relating. Experiences in nature make room for activating a different mode of presence, where people can perceive reality with their senses and respond with the body in practical ways. Outside in nature, the complexities of life shift from the cognitive domain to the physical, allowing an embodied approach. The developmental opportunities therein are discussed in relation to learning, coping and identity, within an ecological approach.