Lessons from the Daintree Rainforest


This place has given me a lot to think about. It’s given me a lot to write about, too, but finding the words that even begin to scratch the surface of doing it justice has intimidated me from putting my pen to paper (or finger to keys when it’s typed up later. I’m an old-fashioned soul who loves a good journal. Anyway, I digress.).

It’s been quite the roller coaster of trying to leave the rainforest, only to have the heart strings of my soul pull me back. Unfortunately, there’s no more room for procrastination because I will have had to catch a plane by the time you read this. The thought of having to leave this undiscovered paradise brings on a feeling I can only compare to nostalgia, even though I haven’t even left yet. Sometimes you just know that the present moment will be an unparalleled, unforgettable one. When I leave, I’m sure that a piece of my heart will stay here.

While I continue on with my travels around the world, the memories and friendships will fondly stay with me forever. So too will the lessons I’ve learned here.

blue shell on sand

Live simply.

Coming from the East Coast hustle and bustle of places like New York City and Philadelphia, it felt like there were a lot of things in life that I had to acquire in order to achieve happiness: a car, a nice house, trendy clothes, up-to-date tech gadgets. I took a step back from all of that in the rainforest and realized that I could be just as happy, if not happier, without all of the extra ‘stuff.’

In the Daintree I was surrounded by nature, good people, and good energy. We spent the days outside, ate fresh food, and just enjoyed the company of friends. Sure, the expensive stuff is a nice luxury to have sometimes, but keeping life simple made me realize that sometimes less is more.

There is no right or wrong way to do life. We are all on our own journey.

This is something I’ve thought a lot about on this trip, and my time in the Daintree has definitely helped reinforce this lesson.

Before I left home, and even at points while traveling, I would look at posts and Facebook statuses of friends about their new jobs, new homes and big moves. People who have been such a huge part of my life are now starting new chapters in theirs, and I am genuinely so excited for them. But at the same time, part of me wondered if my choice to delay starting a job, and travel instead, was ‘wrong’ because it was different to what everyone else is doing.

On the other hand, I saw so many different ways of life when I was in the Daintree. Some people were living in vans, some traveling around in tents, some lived in normal homes. Some worked every day, some worked every few weeks, some just lived off the land. All of the people I met and all of the lifestyles I saw confirmed that I’ve made the best decision of my life. The best decision for me might not be the best for someone else, but that’s the beauty of choice.

Big home or small home, kids or not, desert or ocean, college degree or without, it all comes down to what works best for you. I realized I should never feel like I’m doing life in a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way, because that in itself is an invalid statement. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to move build my life. Do what’s good for your head, heart, health, and soul because no one else can tell you what that is.

bright red sunrise on beach

Watch more sunrises.

This sounds so simple but I genuinely think it is a life changing piece of advice. I started waking up for the sunrise just about every morning and it is one of the best habits I’ve ever created. Not only does the sunrise get my day started early, but there’s something about sitting in the warmth of morning light that feels so rejuvenating. It might just be the Vitamin D talking, but my whole body seemed to be thanking me. I would close my eyes and listen to the ocean as the sun kissed my skin. I can still remember it now as I write this sentence.

Even my mind felt more at ease and clear for the rest of the day. The sunrise just puts you in a good head space. Wake up with nature, start your day early, and enjoy the light.

Find your connection.

We are often so connected on our phones, but not to what’s around us. Have you asked the person next to you how their day is going? Did you notice how beautiful the weather is today? What kind of animals and plants are native to your town?

Being surrounded by the lush rainforest helped me get back in touch with nature, as well as myself and those around me. I learned that all life in the rainforest is so intricately and beautifully intertwined in a balance that only mother nature is capable of perfecting. As humans, we too are reliant on each other. We are social creatures. We need to interact with one another, even your grumpy neighbor who always yells at the kids to get off your lawn.

Being mindful of the connections around me, from people to nature, made me appreciate life so much more.

man climbing coconut tree on beach

When you travel, get to know the locals.

I can’t emphasize this one enough. Getting to know the locals will teach you what a place is really like, which I promise is much more interesting than those top 5 things you found to do on Trip Advisor. It will also give you a look into what the lifestyle and culture are really like.

The Daintree I knew while working at a lodge was entirely different to the one I knew while staying with the locals. By no means am I saying that one is better than the other, because the rainforest is absolutely phenomenal is every way possible regardless, but they are certainly two different ways of life. I count myself very lucky to have experienced both.

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