Get Your Camp On

We often hear that spending time in nature is very nourishing, and I could not agree more. I’d also like to take this a step further. Consider that we people, we’re all part of nature and always have been. You can take the perspective that humans are humans living in human society and that nature is out there, separate from us. Or you can take the perspective that we are a fully integrated part of nature. Even in our big cities with skyscrapers and subway systems and WiFi everywhere you go, are we really that different from the other animals? We live in condos that we made from wood (from trees) and metal (mined from the earth) and plastic (made from oil found around the world). A cardinal makes a nest from twigs she finds. We’re all here living off the resources that are here for us. As people, we can disconnect from this reality, but if you look at our days, we’re doing things to eat, secure shelter, and take care of one another through our work and in our relationships. Because nature is so much a part of our nature, connecting with this part of ourselves can be really nourishing. One awesome way I’ve been connecting more with nature recently is camping. I was not a camper growing up, so camping kind of intimidated me until recently. But it’s quickly become a blast. If you’re not a big camper yet, give it a try. Here are my favorite things about camping so far and my top tips for a fun camping experience:

1. Sleeping outside is so cool. I sleep great outside. With simple gear (a tent long with a good camping pad, sleeping bag, and maybe an extra blanket for each person is all you need), you can be totally comfortable. I always thought sleeping outside would not be the same as sleeping in my comfortable bed. It’s not the same, but it’s at least as good. It’s really fun to sleep in the open air. Setting up a tent is really easy. Once you do it once, you’ll have it down. I recommend a headlamp (better than a flashlight since it leaves both hands free) to help you in the dark and a hammer to drive in the tent stakes (this is not always necessary, but I find it helpful much of the time).
2. You experience a level of darkness that you don’t ever get it most cities and towns. It’s really cool to go for a walk or sit by a fire and look up in the sky and see the vast darkness free of artificial light.
3. You experience a vast quietness. If you ever feel like you want to step away from computers and tablets and smart phones and all, you can really do it while camping. Nothing beeping at you. No one honking their horn. The deep, profound quiet is really nice.
4. The air is so fresh when you’re out camping. It’s the breathing equivalent of the getting fresh vegetables right from your own garden. It feels like the best air you’ve ever breathed.
5. On the day(s) before and after you camp, there are so many opportunities to do fun stuff. You can hike, of course, as campgrounds are often nestled at the base of beautiful mountains. You can go fishing if you like. You can do other, less outdoorsy things too. On my most recent camping trip, I went to an international documentary film festival. I watched all these cool films and went to a fun party, then with a 10-minute drive at was at this awesome campground at the base of a mountain and with a view of the ocean. The next morning, I was back in town watching another film.
6. Many campgrounds have showers! Yes, I know some of you have been wondering this. That last campground I was at (which was $11 a night by the way), had great, hot showers. You can be just as clean as you are at home.
7. Food tastes so good when you’re camping. I can’t fully explain this. I’ve had food cooked over a campfire, food cooked by adding boiled water to it (like instant oatmeal), and leftover food I brought in a cooler. When I’m eating it at a campsite with my family and friends, it just tastes so good. If you’ve camped, you may know what I mean. If you have not, you’ll see what I mean if you give camping a try.
8. Speaking of camping food, one of the best things I’ve had was yams cooked over a campfire. Simply wrap a few yams in aluminum foil and cook them over a campfire until they’re soft. Delicious! You can bring food with you and, unless you’re truly in the middle of nowhere, you can usually drive to a food store to get more food if you are on an extended camping trip.

Photo 45--Family in a Tent



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