Better in the Boreal


Better in the Boreal

by Rhea Thiessen

“I thought we could go on a camping trip to the boreal forest this summer,” Jane said to her husband Nick. He immediately looked ill. “Oh dear, what’s the matter?” Jane asked her husband.

“I'm sorry Jane, but even the thought of the wilderness makes me sick. I’ve only been once in my life, and it was horrible. I got nauseous the minute I left the city! I was only 10, and my parents had to take me home right away.”

“Oh dear,” said Jane. “The wilderness is supposed to make people feel good, not bad. We better go see the doctor about this.”

So, Jane and Nick went to the medical clinic.

“Excuse me, we’re here because my husband, after going to the wilderness once, got sick!” Jane told the doctor. “Oh my, well we’ll have to run some tests then,” the doctor replied. After a thorough examination, the doctor came to a conclusion.

“I’m afraid you have a case of obsessive urban syndrome,” said the doctor. “Evil scientists secretly induced serum into the bodies of 100 people in the year 1985 that causes illness when exposed to wild lands and waters. Looks like you’re one of the victims. We still don’t know why the scientists did that. The way to cure it is to go to the wilderness for one week. You will become ill, but you’ll be better by the end of the week.” Nick gulped.

“Wow, I never knew that could happen,” said Jane.

“Does it really matter if I get sick from the wilderness?” Nick asked his wife as they were on the way home. “I mean I could just stay away from it for the rest of my life, and I’ll be perfectly fine.”
“No Nick, said Jane. “You’ll be feeling much healthier in the forest once the week is over with. We have to do it, and you can handle it.”

So, they packed their stuff, and off they went. After a short trip, they arrived at a campsite in Whiteshell provincial park. Nick looked pale.

“I don’t feel too good,” said Nick.

“Don’t worry, you go for a hike while I set up camp,” Jane replied.
So, Nick went for a walk. He felt very uneasy and thought he was going to vomit. When he got back, his wife had just finished cooking burgers over the fire.

“Hi Nick, perfect timing,” said Jane. “To reward you on hiking out into the boreal forest, I cooked your favorite food.” Although it was a challenge for Nick, he ate dinner, relaxed, and slept in the tent. In the morning, Nick woke up feeling slightly better.

Jane made pancakes with sausage, one of Nick’s favorite breakfasts, and then convinced him to go for a swim in the lake with her. Each day, they tried different outdoor activities, and each day Nick felt a little bit better. By the end of the week, he felt perfectly fine. And not only that, he felt happy!

“Jane, can we stay here for another week? I really like it here now that I feel so good,” asked Nick. “Of course,” replied Jane. So, they stayed for another week, and they both loved it in the boreal forest. They felt restored and rejuvenated after being in the wilderness for two weeks.

From that day on, Jane and Nick made regular trips out of the city, and they ended up much happier because of it.

This, of course, is a tale of fiction and I know there’s no serum that makes people sick in the wilderness, but people can lose appreciation for all the healthy benefits of being in nature if they stay away from it for too long. So, get out into the wilderness, and you’ll love it! It will improve your health and well-being.


Rhea Thiessen, age 11, resides in Winnipeg, Manitoba and enjoys our province’s boreal forest mostly in the summer.