“There on the final day of trip, after packing the last of the supplies into the car, I turned to bask in the awe-inspiring scenery around me for one last time. In that moment, standing amidst the untamed forest…I feel it. My body releases into the flow of the wilderness accepting the salty air, heat, humidity, and constant cacophony of insect chatter as my new reality. I feel contentment, yet my eyes are drawn towards setting sun and I know we must be going soon”Hunter Potts
Of all the things one could do with their time, why is it that every day ordinary and yes even extraordinary Americans decide to lug out their backpacks, tents, and sleeping bags to go camping. Why do we trade in our modern luxuries of air conditioning, beds, and hot showers for a few nights under the stars? What is so appealing about the idea of “getting off the beaten track” that makes us get out and explore time and time again?
The fundamental idea behind camping is that we do it to remove ourselves from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and just unplug for a bit. And it is no wonder. We as humans crave the outdoors and establishing a connection with nature; because to put it simply it’s in our DNA. Our bodies are literally made of the same elements that exist naturally all around us.
For most people, myself included, camping is about tapping into that part of the self which is spiritually and physically grounded to nature. When camping or being out in the nature for any stretch of time you have the ability to disconnect from the earthly pleasures and delights of modern comforts to experience the real essential elements of existence.
The trees, grass, insects, birds and animals become the norm and you begin to get a sense that this at one point in time was how the world was and for some reason the absence of pollution, lights, cars, and high rise hotels is somehow comforting… in an enveloping yourself in a cozy sleeping bag next to a fire under the light of ga’zillion stars kind of way. It can be exhilarating to be in a place where no matter where you cast your gaze there is nothing but life teeming across vast stretches of wilderness.
But do you really need to go camping to tap into this feeling? What camping does so fantastically, is that it helps you to tap into all of these things because you put yourself in a place where these kind of things are readily available to you. However, it is possible to find these same experiences of awe and wonder about the natural world anywhere. You just have to open yourself up to those moments. For instance when was the last time you laid in the grass in a field or even your backyard? Chances are if you look close enough at the ground you will see a whole new world open up before you with all kinds of bugs, insects, and plants that you most likely have no clue what they are called, yet somewhere all these types of grass or animals have names, biographies, and histories all their own but most of time we pass them off as just grass or ants.
When you go camping I think the intended purpose of campers deep down is to somehow connect with this energy; to feel at one with nature. And then to somehow bring that feeling and experience with them from their adventure into their daily lives. The opening line to this blog was from the most recent camping trip my family and I took where we spent a few nights in a state park at the beach along the Florida coastline. We actually stayed in a camper, so I would not consider it real camping more like glamping, yet I was still able to tap into this feeling because I had my mind open.
So in response to my opening question, why go camping? You should go…only if you want to though. But be warned, if you go there is a strong chance that your mind and body will be altered for the better. That you will see and hear and discover things about yourself and the world around you that will enrich your life. And, that you no doubt will appreciate the dial down in stimuli whereupon by chance you were able to tap into that “feeling”. If you do, then you will have an unforgettable memory that lasts a lifetime.
So what are you waiting for, get out there!