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Going bush

September 25, 2010

A professional colleague of mine spends one month of every year with her partner in a part of Australia known as the Kimberley. It is a very remote part of the north west section of Australia. They set up a camp along a track somewhere with all the gear they need and just spend time together. For my friend, it's a way of rebooting an important relationship and recalibrating existence in general.

Some of us try to do this on a weekend away or a holiday somewhere, but I suspect my friend's process is both more successful and more intense. There are few distractions except talking, books, staying cool and doing the necessaries of camp life. In Australia, the term is to 'go bush' and it's a cultural right of passage. Some might claim it's a type of escapism (convicts and criminals), a type of going 'native', getting back to basics, but I think of it more as part of the antipodean identity. There is a kind of harsh beauty about the Australian bush that I am sure is part of my DNA.

'Going bush' is active - walking, finding firewood, avoiding insects, finding shade, fetching water, keeping the dust off everything (generally not successful) but there is always plenty of time left over to look around and to think. As a way to get a new perspective, it can be invaluable for academics, consultants or people in business even if means the being out of contact for a while. It's a good way to stay 'grounded' which I am sure both clients and colleagues appreciate. I am sure every culture has its own variants. It's a family ritual for us, any excuse will do, and so we're off ...I've enjoyed the chance to join the long list of guest bloggers for Cognitive Edge and look forward to some new insights in the next series!

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