Six lessons Emily has been slowly learning about the wild; a poetic and somewhat metaphorical reflection on the intersection of emotional wellbeing and outdoor adventures.


Sometimes I go to the sea to see its expanse. To feel it expanding my own mind. I get that same feeling looking across mountain ranges or a widening desert, or even a city skyline. When expansive visuals expand my mind. Like things are diluted, in a bloody good way, like when you finally find perspective. Like the expansiveness of the world expands your mind and in turn, your body. Things relax, like I don’t know I’m clenching, and I just let go, it’s like my body and mind somehow soften and melt. Just like how the horizon does across the sea or desert or mountains.

Lesson one, go to the sea, to see its expanse and feel yourself unclench.

Where is the Wild Really?, Emilly Scott, film, water, headland


I’ve always liked touching the surface of things, and I’m good at it. Touching the surface of snow, of flat water, of new hobbies, of relating with people.

Delving in I do sometimes too but never hang around in there for too long. I’m trying to change this. I did a free diving course to try to sit at the bottom of depth for a little longer.

But what I really need is to sit with myself a little longer, and explore the depths of my own ocean.

Lesson two, sit with self to find depth. 


I’ve never felt much courage, perhaps because I haven’t felt fear, out there that is. In here, in the day-to-day mundanity of life, that’s a whole other thing. Social anxiety, nervousness, low self-esteem, constant second guessing, with an ego that screams ‘what about me?’.

Day to day in the wild of me, in my world, requires a whole lot of courage.

Learning that the wild is within and going there requires a hell of a lot more of this courage than going to wild places, but going to wild spaces helped elicit going into my own wildness.



I started escaping the world to stop escaping myself. To slow my mind down, to both come home to myself and step outside of myself. To step into the depths of my own ocean.

Lesson three, go within.

I fell once, fracturing bones from my nose, neck and down to my toes. Adding a complex layer to my purpose for visiting the wilds of the world and the wild within me.

Ironically though, it was the physiological response to near-death that allowed me to see such purpose.

If you’ve ever felt an earthquake, you’d know it feels like the ground is a skateboard and you’re swivelling side to side, and if you’ve ever walked along a cliff top edge and felt vertigo, you’d know it feels like there’s an earthquake happening inside you.

I feel courageous now, witnessing my soul navigate such an earthquake of body and mind. And I tell myself to be bare foot and brave.

Step onto the edge of the cliff where you once fell and breathe in the air that suffocates you. Breathe it in and breathe it out.

Lesson four, be courageous.

Where is the Wild Really?, Emilly Scott, film, mountains, sunrise


Sometimes, I go bike riding, all the gear and no idea I’d say nervously.

I’d read somewhere that if you gathered all the nerves in your body, stretched them out in a line to see how far they’d go, they’d reach about 60km long.

That’s about how far we rode our bikes one weekend, up the freeway, into the hills, onto gravel roads and into the full moon.

We didn’t start riding until the afternoon in the unusual heat of an autumn day, and as we rode there were hills of feeling, and I thought these 60km of trail, these 60km of nerves, they can speak really loudly, if you listen.

Letting me know they’re alive and moving, not always in the direction expected. And I’m alive and moving with them.

The nerves that are damaged speak quietly, hidden and are the cause for altered sensation on my lower back after a few fractured vertebrae. The nerves loud at the beginning of the hill climb screamed ‘Emily you can’t do this!’. The nerves of the bad drivers added on a few extra kilometres of trail. The nerves attached to my fingertips told me I was gripping too hard on my handlebars.

I read online that if you stretched out all your nerves you’d ride a bike 60km uphill in the middle of the day without having changed a tube before, but I couldn’t figure out how far you’d go if you swallowed up and let go all the times you felt nervous and remembered to unclench your hands.

The next day we rode 100km, we rode so far that nervousness was swallowed up by the trail.



I read somewhere online that when nerves are damaged your brain makes new trails, and these days I’m teaching the nerves that hold me back some, that we can create new paths to ride along each weekend.

Lesson five, gather your nerves, create a new trail.

Sometimes I run, I run, on the edge of the looped track, on the edge of the day, on the edge of my mind. I run. The running groups run around me or run around my glary eyes and I challenge them to give space. I run to make space.

‘Be quiet, as to not disturb yourself’, my yoga teacher says.

And I run to create quietness. I run and forget to glare at the glaring men as I focus inwards. I run and my breath is loud.



My breath becomes louder and my eyes gentle as I turn inside myself. I run through the edge of the day and into that breath space of quietness. I run to escape into myself, to be with myself. I run through peak hour traffic and wave at unwavering gazes, glazed over with so many layers.

I run to uncover my own layers. Some days I run and the traffic seems so offensive, so loud and intrusive. I run to smooth my mind from the inside out, smother the grind with kindness, smother my mind with kindness. Road bumps and noises, all part of life’s course. I run to unravel my thoughts and reinforce that kindness.

Lesson six, be kind to yourself.


I’ve been slowly learning some things in the wild. Being alone, I’ve found where wildness is really, where courage sits, where demons lie, where kindness heals, where nerves unravel to freedom. I’ve been learning that I go outdoors to go inside myself.