Note: all the pictures in this post were taken this summer in the Bay of Fundy, Canada.
(As always, click to enlarge.)
Yes, camping is good for you. And when I say camping, I mean CAMPING. The real thing. With a real TENT. Very few amenities. Even better: NONE. As in back country camping.
Because roughing it is the best way to get the most benefits from the outdoors.
Just one detail: If you've never done it, being that close to nature can be scary.
|Bay of Fundy, home of the highest tides in the world.|
Here, low tide.
It's scary to be in the great outdoors because you will say "adios" to your daily comforts. What's true for traveling is even more true for camping: if you're too carry your belongings, you want them to be minimal in size and weight. That means everything will have to be stripped to the bare minimum.
Scary as it is, living frugally, with your attention away from "stuff", becomes a wonderful thing as soon as you embrace it.
|Early morning fog on the cliff|
When I go camping, I bring no electronics, nothing that requires electricity, no makeup, no nothing except for what will provide me simple protection against the elements, and simple sustenance. Entertainment? not needed: how about fauna and flora observation, how about a hike, how about a dip in the lake/the river, how about a nice campfire, how about the starry skies? How about gliding on the water with your kayak or canoe? How about simply listening to the falling rain?
Or how about a nice, musical surprise in the way of camping neighbors who play guitar, ukulele, and the accordion?
Our neighbors played this
while we were putting up the tent
Which version do you like best?
There's only one paradox. Life in the great outdoors may be simple and a great escape from our consumerist world, but it's not necessarily cheap. Not because you need to buy a lot of things, but because the things you buy, you want them to be of good quality. Good quality, when it comes to the outdoors, usually means lightweight AND efficient. Once you've tried technical clothing and equipment, you won't want to go back. Oh! how I love me merino wool! (But please don't let those material matters deter you from enjoying the great outdoors. A lot of things I bring camping cost close to nothing!)
It's scary to be in the great outdoors because it also means you will become very close to the people you are "roughing it with"... and that's not always achieved without a couple of "adjustments". Don't they say if you can put up a tent with someone without it ending in a fight, it's a sign you have a healthy relationship? I could add: if you still are attracted to someone who hasn't shaved/put on makeup in a week, who dons a ball cap right out of bed to hide their perpetual "bad camping hair", and who wears the same ole hiking boots and clothes day in, day out, you two are a definite go!
|We still all get along...|
Guess it's a good sign!
I like the people I meet when I camp deep in the woods, because I like the kind of people the deep woods attract. No later than yesterday we had the most fascinating conversation with another camping neighbor, who in his "real life" is an urbanist. (If you're interested in urbanism, may I suggest this blog?)
The Dreaded Self
It's scary to be in the great outdoors because being so close to nature, with so little other distractions, also means you will feel very close to yourself (unless you drown your existential dread in booze, that is).
|No need for "substances"...|
I'm already high on Mother Nature!
|Happy camper enjoying some alone time|
with oneself in nature...
I love how the great outdoors present you with so many physical challenges: walking long distances uphill on uneven terrain; paddling endlessly; carrying heavy backpacks or water bags; squatting to set up camp, or to cook (or to p...); balancing on one foot to put your socks and shoes on; and, if you're not so young anymore, simply getting up from your sleeping pad in the morning!
|Sometimes on hikes you will need to use your hands as well!|
R and A being real troopers.
I'm usually not too bad with the physical challenges, but I met a new one this summer: a hammer induced arm inflammation. I guess I had been working a little bit too energetically on the tent pegs: as I was hammering down the last one, my right forearm suddenly doubled in size and became hard as a tree log! Interestingly it did not hurt at all, and everything went back to normal within a couple minutes. (Unfortunately I was so busy worrying about my new difformity, I forgot to take a picture for you readers!)
Yes, immersing yourself in the great outdoors might mean getting out of your comfort zone (literally), but once you've gotten accustomed to it... ah, the benefits you will reap!
|Not too bad a place to end up on a sunny morning...|
Freed from all the material stuff, you will explore your surroundings and really see them. You will interact with others and really get to know them. You will be in communion with yourself... for better or for worse!
And when you come back home, like I did today after a wonderful sojourn in the woods with my family, you will fully appreciate the comforts of modern life!
What is your experience of the great outdoors?