Over five weeks, we’ve featured the story of Matthew Cicanese, a CochlearTM Baha® recipient, National Geographic Young Explorer and photographer, who went on an expedition in August 2016 to Iceland with the National Geographic Young Explorer program. Matthew shares the sounds and sights of his amazing experience with us. Read parts one, two, three and four of the blog; the final blog is below:

“Well my time writing here has come to a close. I hope I’ve shared a glimpse into what it was like for me to experience Iceland for the first time, and that I inspired you to get outside and look a little closer at the world around you.

My time in Iceland was the experience of a lifetime, and I have plans already to return in summer 2017. On my trip I took around 25,000 pictures (many of which I’m still going through), and I look forward to telling more stories from my journey in the future.

My Baha never left my side on that expedition, and it really enriched my experience there. Iceland really is like another planet right here on Earth, and if you ever get the opportunity to go, I highly recommend it.

Next time you’re out in nature, stop walking, take a seat, and listen… listen for the sounds of birds, the rustle of trees, the buzzing of insects and all the little things in between. Smell the soil, taste the air, feel the water of a creek run through your fingers… flip a log or two!

There are so many magnificent things in the world around us that so often go completely unnoticed. Something I’d like to start is a sensory journal, where I keep audio diaries of my experiences and feelings when I’m out in nature. You should start one too! Whether it’s writing, an audio diary with your phone recorder, photography, drawing, painting… you name it! Whatever you do, just get outside and experience the sights, feelings and definitely the sounds of the natural world! There’s nothing else like it.

As far as macro photography goes, if you want to get started in it I would recommend getting some close-up filter attachments for your iPhone® or existing camera lens. Don’t jump into buying an expensive ‘dedicated macro lens’ until you know you really want to take a lot of macro pictures.

If you’re not into photography, I would highly recommend getting a jeweler’s loupe or magnifying glass from a craft store (the ones with the built in LED lights are great), then just go outside and start poking around! Look at tree trunks for lichens and ants, fallen logs for beetles and mushrooms, rocks for moss and even just the ground! You’ll be astounded how much you can hear, see, smell and feel if you just pick one spot, sit there for ten minutes or more and explore around with your magnifying glass.

This year has some really neat experiences in store for me. I’m planning to visit Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, Africa, Sri Lanka (off the coast of India), the Bahamas and more!

I’d like to invite you to follow my adventures on Instagram at @BoyOfTheForest and Facebook (facebook.com/boyoftheforest/) where I’ll be updating you as often as I can! I try my best to connect with people, so if you have thoughts on the blogs or questions for me, reach out. You can see more of my work over at my website too: www.MatthewCicanese.com.

Remember, if you can dream it, you can do it!”

To learn more about the Baha System and other hearing loss solutions for you or a loved one, click here.

Renee Oehlerking
Renee Oehlerking is the Public Relations Manager at Cochlear Americas where she is responsible for the region’s public relations and consumer marketing social media. Renee enjoys uncovering, telling and showcasing the inspiring stories of hearing implant recipients. As a recent transplant to Denver, Colorado, Renee enjoys exploring all that the state has to offer outdoors.