For a brief moment, let's call to mind what social media was originally intended for: Networking people. Clearly this seems to be working perfectly on YouTube's video platform, since it was there that we discovered a group of very special people: The Wildlings live in abandoned regions in the heart of Portugal, renaturalizing them and bringing them back to life. When we saw their wonderful landscape photographs and started to learn more and more about the commitment of this community, it didn't take long for us to realize: We have to contact them!
We‘ve done a lot together since then, and Wildling has even been granted a place in the Portugal Wildlings’ book. One very special highlight of this friendship was the planting of trees. For this purpose, a part of our Wildling team set off for Portugal in December of 2019 to see where the Wildlings live and to actively support them in reforesting an area that had been affected by forest fire. In this article, we talk about the project and describe the impressions the team members took away from this experience.
Today, however, we are chatting with Lynn since we still want to learn a little more about the people and the philosophy behind Wildlings Portugal.
A new way of living together
Who are you and what do you love about what you do?
I am Lynn, part of the Wildlings collective, and I currently call the mountains of Central Portugal my home. To me, the most pressing issue in today’s world is that we need a fundamental system change in all aspects of our lives. As a system innovation designer, I look at the big picture and rethink our current linear models into circular closed-loop ones. I am personally most passionate about redesigning the systems for our basic needs such as food, housing, energy, fashion and finding ways in which humans can establish a new model where they live in harmony with our natural environment rather than destroying and exploiting it.
With Wildlings, we want to establish a 1500 ha pilot and demonstration model based on 4Returns, rather than the outdated model that focuses solely on profit maximization and exponential growth. Although we do perceive money as a valuable resource, generating high returns on Nature, Social Capital and Inspiration are equally important.
Since I left my comfortable city life and career behind and replaced it with life and career in nature, I love to follow the natural cycles, wake up with the birds, move with the tides of the moon, and connect with all life around me. I also love to go on adventures here and visit the many hidden paradise pools and waterfalls, go for hikes in the mountains, and surround myself with the vastness of nothingness.
From the urban jungle into untamed nature
What was the wildest thing you ever did? When was the last time you felt wild and free?
To be honest my entire life has been quite a wild rollercoaster ride, taking many unusual turns and visiting hundreds of countries all over the planet. Where my previous life was more wild in terms of exciting trips, the adrenaline of large urban environments and meeting interesting people from all walks of life, today I find my wildness more in the connection with myself and nature.
Sleeping under the stars at a beautiful nature place always makes me feel free and very rich, which I do quite often. Two weeks ago we were blessed with a heavenly experience high up in the mountains where nature painted a beautiful and colorful show during sunset, where the low hanging clouds gave us this surreal "on top of the world' sensation and the reflection of the billion stars in the lake next to us gave everything that extra sparkle of magic.
When I arrived here in Portugal I started to redefine luxury and I came to a point where true luxury and happiness doesn’t come from any material good or financial wealth, but is found at that precious place within one self.
Of harmony and wild adventures
What kind of childlike qualities have you kept until today? What has been accompanying you since your childhood?
As a little child, me and my brother always played in a little deciduous forest behind our house. I could spend hours there and although between my 20s-30s I lived in large metropoles, I am back now among the trees. I was also very connected to our two dogs when I was young and now I have four, who are my very best friends.
What is your wish for a sustainable future?
I wish that the human species evolves out of the old paradigm dictated by exploitation, violence, cruelty and destruction and that we let go of the ego-based tendencies of power, greed, control, separation and abuse towards a species that follows the principles of harmony, non-violence, oneness and unconditional love.
What experiences do you have with/in Wildlings? When was your first time in Wildlings?
I wore them for the first time on my land, which was lovely because it was summer and the soil is too hot in certain places. But then I took them out for one of my favorite adventures: Hiking through the rivers towards secret waterfalls. The rivers are full of stones so it's important to wear protection and have some grip on the slippery surfaces, and the Tanukis are perfect for that.
Thank you for this inspiring interview, Lynn!
If you would like to learn more about the Wildlings and their project in Portugal, you can find all of the information as well as some fantastic images of wild nature on their website, on YouTube, and on Instagram.