I wished so badly I was seeing something else—instead of a white closet door. So I closed my eyes again, my head still on the pillow in my bedroom. The closet door disappeared, and I saw soaring sandstone cliffs lit pink by sunrise instead. I knew the cliffs, and the breeze and birdsong that rose in my imagination, would all disappear when my alarm beeped in five minutes—that I’d get up in my city apartment, make breakfast and sit down to a day of laptop work. But in those couple of minutes, I realized something important: If we can’t always be out in wild, beautiful places, we need to bring a little of it back with us, in our hearts.

We’ve all been there: unpacking from a trip and dreading work the next day, struggling to feel balanced during endless weeks of busyness, longing for the release of our time out in the backcountry. We go to wild places to reconnect with our souls, to reconnect with each other and to remember our place in the universe. But most of us can’t live in those wild places full time. We come back home, back to work. And that might actually be the most important reason to go “out there” in the first place.

Those nights under the stars, those moments of fear and trembling on cliff faces, those victorious days with our friends on the trail—those are what humble us, strengthen us and connect us. And those very experiences are even more important when we leave those canyons and mountains behind and dive back into the sea of “real life.” Our experiences in wild places buoy us when things get difficult. They give us perspective on life. Perspective that’s necessary when the world seems to tilt crazily off balance.

While most of us don’t have days on end of vacation, we can sneak those moments, or those days or weeks in here and there. We can shake off the weight of the modern world and find ourselves free and wild again, even if it’s just for an afternoon. And even if it’s just a sliver of time before heading back to our hectic daily life, it’s exactly what we need. A little reminder: There’s still something wild and free in all of us.