The modern world is filled to the brim with new technology, which in turn is slowly overwhelming us. Busy streets, as well as all this hustle and bustle of the big city life is something we want to escape from more often than in the past. Life, which is focused solely on work in corporations, big companies or even small businesses is slowly affecting us and causing new diseases of civilization, such as professional burnout. We tend to forget about the fact that we live here and now, and that there are ways to make one’s way in a different manner. Unfortunately, the pace imposed on us by external parties such as employers, celebrities or even our closest family, makes us forget about things which are really important, things which shape us as people. The profits we can achieve from devoting our lives to the rat race are not proportional to possible costs, such as wasted years, health, lost possibilities, as well as pointless existence. Human relationships are getting weaker, and nature which should be a part of our everyday life, is becoming something totally foreign, and for some people even an exotic notion.
There are people who don’t agree to live following their watches or according to the roles imposed on them. There are individuals, who feel the world with their whole bodies and souls. They absorb everything that surrounds them and they derive their strength from it. Such people decide to come back to nature and live off the grid promoting activities which can be done outdoors. Besides this, they are aware of possible threats for both humans and our planet being an effect of overexploitation of what we perceive as our home – our planet Earth. They decide to live in harmony with nature and try to encourage others to such an attitude. Today, I’m really happy to introduce you to Brett Katelynn Hartlin, who lives not only in harmony with nature, but also tries to take pictures to capture this state, the images which depict all shades of her soul filled with the sounds of creaking trees, gusts of wind, the sun warming her shoulders and everyday work in the garden.
Passion Piece: Could you tell my readers a few words about yourself?
Brett Katelynn: I live in Nova Scotia, Canada, in a small rural community. I spend a lot of time outside, I love to hike, canoe, garden or just sit and take in my surroundings. I believe in living in the moment, being grateful and appreciative for life and all of the things that includes. I really try to be kind and caring, to myself and others although I find it much easier to be nice to other people. I’m on a journey of self-discovery and am using my love of nature to help me along the way.
Passion Piece: You take outstanding photos which focus mainly on the nature. How did you find a passion for photography in yourself?
Brett Katelynn: I used to love National Geographic when I was a child and I remember looking at photos from a very young age, thinking how powerful and timeless a photo could be. That was the first time I ever thought photography was for me, but it took me a long time to believe I had any skill in this area.
I’ve only started to really work on my own photography over the last year but my passion for taking photos and love of nature go hand in hand. I can completely lose myself and all sense of time when I am exploring outside and taking photos!
Passion Piece: What amazes you in forests? Why did you decide to present them in your works most often?
Brett Katelynn: I have always had a very deep connection to the forest. Growing up, I spent a lot of time exploring the woods around my house. It was the first place I got lost (in the best sense) and it’s where I go to relax and find balance when I am stressed out. I also think that everyone can benefit from more time in the forest and that we need more forests that are protected from clear-cutting and development. I want everyone to know and love the beauty of a woodland, so I guess I hope to inspire people to get out there and connect to their natural surroundings.
Passion Piece: Besides living in harmony with nature, you also create it around yourself. What’s the main purpose of your gardening?
Brett Katelynn: I garden because homegrown food tastes better! I can have complete control over how it’s grown and what is put in to my soil. I also find something very therapeutic about putting my hands in the dirt and growing the food that will feed my family. Not only is it relaxing and fun, growing a garden saves me a lot of money on the grocery bill. I’m not sure I would be able to afford to eat all of the good food I enjoy if I had to buy it in the store!
Passion Piece: You’ve mentioned that one of your goals is self-sustainability. Are you any close to reach it?
Brett Katelynn: Pretty close! There isn’t enough of everything to last the whole year but many of our vegetables will feed us until the next growing season! It’s not 100% yet, although every year I learn a little bit more and am getting better at planning, growing and storing the veggies from the garden to last us all winter! I bottle or freeze many vegetables and have a root cellar to store the rest and usually get close to ten months of food out of the gardens.
Passion Piece: What are you given by being connected to the earth? How does it affect you as a person?
Brett Katelynn: I can say for certain I wouldn’t be the person I am now without my connection to nature. It is the basis of all other connections in my life. I have learnt patience and acceptance for things outside of my control. It has taught me how to be grateful, playful and feel joy. It has given me the ability to feel empathy and love for all things, which in turn allows me to connect with other people. It has given me a safe place to explore, trust my instincts and live in the now.
Passion Piece: You’re going to set up your own blog. What is it going to be about?
Brett Katelynn: Yes! It will be ready to launch at the end of the month. It’s going to combine my love of nature and love of gardening. I will be sharing my own garden stories and my best tips and tricks for growing vegetables. I will also be talking about nature as therapy and the ways having a connection to the natural world can help with stress, anxiety and overall happiness!
Passion Piece: Why did you decide to share your thoughts with others?
Brett Katelynn: It has actually been quite the internal struggle for me to share my thoughts and feelings with the world. I won’t go in to the whole long story of it, but basically I started to share more because I was scared to, and because there were parts of me I was keeping for myself by hiding them from others. It’s a way for me to be honest and transparent with myself more than anyone else. I want to learn and grow and not hide from who I am.
Passion Piece: What are your other passions besides photography and gardening?
Brett Katelynn: When I am not outside exploring or in the garden I really love to write and have been working on a book of poetry. I enjoy any sort of creative or artsy activity!
Passion Piece: Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
Brett Katelynn: This is a really tough question for me because I have trouble visualizing the things I want. I’m not sure exactly what the future will hold, right now I am just focusing on learning to make decisions that feel right for me. I know that I would like to buy and protect more land, plant an orchard with more fruit trees and berries to help sustain us, build an off-grid retreat on our property for a place to write and get creative, something that I can rent for other people to unwind and reconnect with nature. I want to be working solely for myself, with complete control over my own time and what projects I take on. I want to be in a position to encourage more people to go outside, connect to their surroundings and appreciate the natural world, which will hopefully lead to more people caring about what our impact is and how we can make better decisions for the planet.
Passion Piece: Which motto would you like to share with my readers?
Brett Katelynn: The world is full of wonder. Look for it. Look for beauty and magic in your surroundings everyday. It is there and when you have the ability to see and feel it you will have a better appreciation for everything else in your life.
Passion Piece: Thank you very much for this inspiring conversation and I hope that we will have a chance to read some of your articles on the blog soon.
I don’t know about you, but I’d also like to live in harmony with nature and the things I truly believe in. Surrounding us forests and meadows should remind us of the fact that we are a part of nature, not better or worse, just one of the components of what we call our home – our planet Earth. That’s why, coming back to nature can make us appreciate the worth of work of our own hands and the importance of our decisions which we take here and now, the ones which have a great impact on our planet. And you? What do you derive your strength from?
See you around!
Photos by: Brett Katelynn Hartlin