Your House Is Not an Asset

My definition of an asset may differ from your banker or financial planner. I am going to say this from the start. I am not a homeowner. I am not a financial planner. Take what I say as my opinion…


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This Is What Happens When You Forest Bathe Everyday

Discovering Shinrin-Yoku: The Art and Science of Japanese Forest Bathing

Photo by Author, London 2020

This year, COVID cast us adrift. After lockdown, I no longer had a job. I lived with my husband in a small one-bedroom flat in central London, where we had moved for our work. Now it felt cramped and claustrophobic. I baked bread, video-called family and friends, read half-finished novels. Anything other than watch the death toll rise on the rolling news.

But one thing alleviated my feeling of loss more than others: I went for a daily lockdown walk in the nearby forest.

In my area of North London, local people have protected open space for centuries. It was my turn to appreciate the city’s lungs. My husband and I decided to walk there every day. We walked over what could have been old plague pits from the bubonic plague in 1665–1666 (that wiped out 15% of London’s population). The city’s history lives on in the forest.

When I sent photos to my mother on the other side of the world, I reassured her with photos of homemade loaves of banana bread. Still, what I wanted to talk about was how I could finally see green shoots on the oak trees in the dark forest.

Bluebell field. Photo by Author, London 2020

I had discovered the beauty of Forest Bathing: a Japanese practice called Shinrin-Yoku. Mindful walking in the woods to immerse yourself with nature.

The Japanese Forest Agency coined the term in 1982. A decade later, it invested $10 million in research. Part of the research is Dr. Qing Li’s book Shinrin-Yoku: The Art and Science of Forest Bathing.

Dr. Li is a scientist with a poet’s heart. Dr Li’s book gives instructions on how to open up our senses and connect with the outside world for health. He then reminisces on his joyful childhood in Japan picking apricots in Autumn.

Forest Bathing is about soaking in the forest atmosphere through simple walking. Bathing is about “bathing in the atmosphere” rather than bathing as in a bath. There’s no need to take off any clothes, although that’s up to you (and your local laws)…

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