The modern world, flush with technological advances and opportunities galore for entertainment in every avenue rarely offers us the opportunity to reflect on ourselves, or our own inherent capabilities. We cannot imagine venturing out of our comfort zones and always have a million reasons for behaving as such. We blame our lack of time, busy schedules, hectic lifestyles for not spending more time exploring; within ourselves and in the world around us. Taking a camping trip can give you all this and much more. Throughout my life, I took multiple camping trips, went through thick and thin and I grew a lot as a person. Camping turned out to be a great teacher and this article is about some of the most important life lessons camping taught me.
Most of us turn into adults without having an idea about life without what we consider to be basic amenities, such as our plush beds, heaters, and air-conditioning systems, the household and office staple that is a microwave oven, refrigerators, constant supply of electricity, internet and running water. We tend to become anxious and agitated if we don’t have access to any/all of them on a daily basis. Human beings have survived for centuries without any of these so-called basic needs. They were luxuries when they first became available and yet, now, we cannot seem to function without them…
There’s life beyond technology
Camping allows you to take a break from your smartphones and laptops; the constantly buzzing contraptions of modern society that keep us in touch with things that more-often-than-not lead to more stress. Being in the thick of nature, away from the internet is one of the biggest perks of camping. You can unplug from everything and dive into being one with your surroundings. Just try to stop relying on Google to solve every problem. Concentrate more on the most fundamental things around you. The grass, mountains, trees, bushes, and try to live amongst them; you’ll have no choice but to experience the bounties of nature that you might miss regularly. As a result, you may realize the benefit of turning your phone off from time to time, of not checking social media or replying to every email that you receive after work hours. Your brain will thank you for it.
Camping builds and strengthens bonds
Think about the last time you actually went out and talked to people, your friends and family learned more about them/their experiences and returned enriched. In this hyper-connected world, we tend to use social media to keep up with our peers. We text, skype, and facetime to catch up while losing out on the intimacy offered by a face-to-face conversation. We are bogged down by stress, hectic schedules, constantly pinging devices, and remain distracted while trying to lend an ear, or a few words of comfort to a loved one.
Camping takes you away from a technologically ensconced environment and helps you bond with your companions. You have the opportunity of digging deep, learning about their desires, secrets, and vulnerabilities, their mishaps, and the events that sparked joy in them. Moreover, you can also share your own stories and in turn, learn from their life lessons or rebuild lost connections and fading intimacies that you never could rekindle while being entrenched in the humdrum of city life. After all…
Nothing beats conversations next to the campfire
I can’t quite put my fingers on it, but there’s something special about the campfire. The campfire is one of the rare things on our planet that can inspire conversations about fears, hope, the meaning of life… There’s something mysterious, yet fulfilling about the campfire. Something that makes you tell stories about you that not even your closest friends and relatives know. All conversations next to the campfire have a deeper and more soulful timbre. Perhaps because we’re not distracted by our smartphones, TV, and other banalities that bring more stress into our lives and we can focus on the things that really count; nature, good company, and reconnecting with your gut feeling.
Not to take anything for granted
This was one of the first camping lessons I learned. I remember my first camping trip like it was yesterday. We were in the middle of nowhere when the weather flipped dramatically. Out of nowhere, it started raining and all of our gear got soaking wet. I felt soreness in spots I didn’t even know existed and it was very hard to maintain reasonable body temperature. We finally found a good spot to set-up our camp and we started preparing our dinner. It was a simple instant-prepare meal but I think we took an entire eternity to prepare it. However, after 15 kilometers of trekking in horrible weather, it felt like a Micheline-star dining experience.
My point here is that we take a lot of things for granted and we don’t appreciate the things we have even more. Our world is structured in a way that we expect certain things that our ancestors could only dream of to be given to us by default. The more often we see the things around us – the more they become invisible to us. And camping serves as a great reminder that one must not take anything in life for granted because…
Our time on Earth is limited
Unlike its ancestors, modern humans are severely vulnerable in the wilderness. And this is something most people don’t realize until they take their first camping trip. In addition, this makes you think about a lot of other things as well. One of them is the realization that our time on this planet is not endless. No one can guarantee your future. Heck, no one can even guarantee we’ll wake up tomorrow. And this powerful realization makes us appreciate life more and ask yourself do you want to be the person that wonders where all the time went as they’re lying on their deathbed or do you want to be the person that lives in the now and creates memories that will make you look back on with a smile on your face? That’s why camping is…
A great reminder of just how good living in the moment feels
One of the most important lessons camping taught me is that time is a fickle and fleeting thing and the time you spend, the memories you make with your companions while camping is sure to last lifetime. The opportunity to run down muddy trails, hike on rocky hills, traipse down bubbling streams, get dirty and smelly, deal with cuts and scrapes, relieve yourselves in bushes, make instant decisions about mere survival, all result in moments that you can cherish or learn from. Without the constraints of work, deadlines, and social commitments, you have the luxury of not just looking at, but truly experiencing nature and living in the moment. This is where you’ll learn that…
Feeling uncomfortable is good for you
It seems like the more technology advances, the more sensitive we become to discomfort. Modern people don’t like the slightest pebble in their shoe and we run away from potential boredom and discomfort faster than Usain Bolt and hide under the umbrella of our smartphones and the internet. However, what we don’t realize is that discomfort helps us grow and ultimately turns us into a better version of ourselves. That’s why every next camping trip teaches you a new lesson and makes you stronger. Just accept the tiny discomforts with gratitude, open your mind, and allow your camping trip to reward you with some of the happiest memories of your life, but also teach you some useful lessons, like…
Surviving with the simplest of means
It’s tempting for novice campers to carry as much of their world with them as possible on a camping trip. And even though there are some essentials that you should bring along, the purpose of camping should be to thrive under the most basic conditions. What you need to take with you are only the things that will keep you comfortable in the wilderness. Leave your gadgets behind. All you require beyond meeting your rudimentary needs are only a blanket, a few books, and an open mind.
Do things the way our ancestors did; forage for fruits, go fishing, hunt for mushrooms, and other vegetables in your surroundings. You’ll discover that you can survive without fancy, gourmet meals regularly and you’ll see just how important a simple fire can be. However, if you are a camping newbie and don’t want to hazard a forest fire or is phobic to flames, consider taking a portable generator with you.
Understanding the importance of self-care
After day-long activities that keep you physically alert, being resourceful in adjusting to the camping lifestyle and learning to adapt in nature, without the distractions offered by television, internet, or social media sites, you are bound to be tired by nightfall. Your body will start to adapt to natural cycles of light and darkness, and after a few nights, your circadian rhythm will be more in sync with your bio-physical needs.
As you start turning in after dusk and waking at dawn, you will realize how your body was meant to function in tune with nature. You will feel fresher, more productive, and healthier as your sleep cycle improves. The exhaustion offered by a day of camping will also allow you to sleep more deeply, hence you will awaken having had restful slumber. Through camping, you can learn the importance of many understated habits- mindfulness; sleeping and awakening on a schedule, living in the moment and overall, the many advantages of being more attuned to your own needs, in mind and body, so you can be healthier and happier with yourself.
1+1 doesn’t always equal 2
If you ever went camping alone, you’ll know how difficult it is to do everything by yourself. Setting a camp, collecting firewood, starting a fire, and preparing meals is too much of work for one person and you know how much of a difference it makes when you have more people with you. Sure, we all know about synergy and how powerful it can be but we rarely see the effects of it in our everyday life. Having great teamwork is a formula for success in the real world too and camping serves as a great reminder of this. Seeing outdoors people work together and support each other taught me that our own vulnerability is what (oftentimes) elevates our relationships to a whole new level…
Helpful resources for campers
If you need hiking equipment, use this Camelbak discount code to get 15% off on your first order.
For some cool camping knives, my discount code can get you 15% off on all orders.
If you’re concerned about what kind of food to pack for your camping trip, check out this selection of dried food for camping by Wise Food Storage.
Finally, if you need to rent an RV for your next camping trip, get 10% off on all RV rentals from Outdoorsy.
Camping proves to you how much more life has to offer, beyond just your materialistic needs. It opens your eyes to possibilities in yourself that you were not even aware of and provides many valuable lessons that if you chose to incorporate into your daily life, would help in your personal growth and progress.
Did you ever take a camping trip? What are some life lessons camping taught you? Would you agree with the points you read in this article? Feel free to share your camping experiences in the comments!
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