The Value of Going Camping
July 23, 2018
I am not really an avid outdoors person, but I do value Nature in its many forms: the human contoured backyard gardens that my wife and I have created for our own daily enjoyment, the common spaces further afield such as Provincial Parks where we can all have access to places and geography that are not in our own backyards, and the great spaces set aside by Federal governments for the enjoyment and good of us all on grander scales preserved by visionaries who also appreciated what Nature can bring to the health and enjoyment of all of us.
Although we have daily access to the space we have in our own backyard, and it is a space of calm and beauty for our spirits and minds, there is something worthwhile in the process of planning and managing a camping excursion. Each summer we have planned and enjoyed several excursions to our Provincial Parks in Ontario. Our first forays were to pretty civilized campgrounds with a lot of amenities. It was a good start for us as we learned what we needed to manage a few days away from the comforts of home. We became a little bolder last year and went to a site that was a little more off the beaten path of mainstream campers. We even tried a trek into the wilderness, to see what it might be like to venture even farther into Nature. This year, we returned to a Park with more amenities ;)
We have learned a few things by way of these experiences in planning, preparing, and managing a few days each year away from home:
1. is refreshing and liberating to leave all the business of our normal everyday lives and pack up the car for a few days away from regular routines of phones, computers and accessibility to all that supports our regular existence. Learning to breathe in the newness of each location with fresh eyes and ears makes us alive to the wonder of Nature, and its power to heal and restore our spirits.
2. Preparation is very important to the level of enjoyment we experience. Usually it is simply a case that the more thought and effort we put into the adventure, the more we get out of it when we actually go.
3.Leaving routines at home, and being flexible, making room for being spontaneous, leads to being open to the unexpected joys that inevitably present themselves in the form of unanticipated vistas or experiences on the road less traveled. It is important to put ourselves "out there" once in a while, embracing the unknown with anticipation.
4. Gratitude inevitably follows each camping excursion. Gratitude is present from the moment we book a site, to the moment we organize and purchase equipment for the next camping trip, to the moment we arrive and set up camp and the moment we break camp, packing everything up in the car to return to our regular lives.
* I was a cottager, long before I became a camper and, though there are times I crave a cottage and the power boat, I have learned that camping is, perhaps, more attuned to who I am becoming at this stage in my life. Now where did I put that paddle? ;)