Claudio Vasquez lives in Valdivia city, in the south of Chile, one of the most beautiful and exotic landscapes in the world, where the Valdivian jungle or Andean-Patagonian forest in mountains of dense green vegetation co-exist with many rivers that join the Pacific Ocean. Is in those landscapes that he owns the only “Well-being Forest” in the region.
His life is printed by nature for as long as he can remember, thanks to the wisdom and respect his grandfather transmitted to him every time they went to the woods to find some “medicine from trees” together. His later studies led him to Forestry Engineering and Forest Bathing. He is also a Risk Prevention and Environmental Engineer and an Organisational Leadership Coach – plus a future Ontological Coach.
I chose to be part of this team for the reliability of its trainers and professionals. I met them in 2018 in Spain, where I travelled to train as a Forest Therapy Practitioner. We have created and developed a strong bond ever since. I appreciate the fluid communication and the serious work based on scientific evidence, the support and respect that trust builds among people of diverse countries.
What I enjoy the most when guiding a Forest Bathing walk is seeing how you can support people. I enjoy connecting with the forest and that it tells me where to go and what to say in each one of the nature connection activities. I really feel the forest whispers to my ear the work I develop with people. And when the Forest Bathing journey is over, I feel satisfied seeing the change in people, that they look different (better) than as they started.
If I had to say how I got to be a Forest Bathing Guide, I would say it is a new step in my career. My Forestry background started when I was a child and developed a strong relationship with forests thanks to my grandfather, a man from the countryside that raised me. I learnt how to find the medicine in trees on leaves, barks and roots. He taught me the first steps to obtain therapeutic benefits from the forest.
As I grew older, my studies were linked to the bush and the trees, to understand the forest with an ecosystem approach from Forestry Engineering. I continued studying Risk Prevention and dedicated myself to improving workers’ occupational health through the forest. So being a Forest Bathing Guide and a Forest Therapy Practitioner allows me to unite and enjoy all of my vocations. I am also an Organisational Leadership Coach now.
I created a Well-being Forest, through which I offer a way to improve people’s lives, after buying land with 300-year-old trees of big diameters. This quest started in 2016, in a self-taught way, downloading information from the internet. That’s how I found Forest Bathing, and there was almost no information in Spanish.
We soon guided what was the first Forest Bathing session in the country and the region. Two years later I decided to invest in the Forest Therapy Practitioner training and to develop this project in Chile, where nobody knew it. So, during those times everything was about knocking on doors and showing what we were offering.
In 2019 we developed in our Well-being Forest a one-mile well-being trail with different characteristics and purposes: contemplation areas, Forest Therapy development areas, connection trails for slow walking, search trails for finding our ancestral roots, and a trail that ends in the riverbank, where you can watch and hear many different kinds of birds. We are near the Forest Bathing Trail Certification and although our work continues, we reached a precious dream, for both people and Forest Bathing itself.