It's that time of the year again: Summer Holidays! After months of hard work, stress, anxiety, and bad sleep, it's now time to relax! But, is it really? I look at my agenda, and it's still full of stuff I need to do, like; washing the car, paying bills (or sending complaints to companies that overcharge me), cleaning the whole place thoroughly (luckily I live in a small apartment), tidying up and deciding whether to recycle unwanted items or give it away, and the list goes on. When will I ever find time to relax and do the things I like (and I don't even have kids yet)?
All I want is to not have an endless to do list, so I can just breathe and spend time on things that matter to me. I have another list of "things that I want to do", but never find time it. It can be the simplest of things, such as reading a book, learning to play the guitar or just try making a huge camp fire. This cannot be too hard to ask for, right? That's when I go: F*ck everything, I need to get away, I'll go camping!
As of now, I've been camping for about a month, together with my cat, and I realized everyone can benefit from some summer camping. Here's why:
You save money and (a little bit of) the planet At home I consume electricity using so many house appliances: lighting, refrigerator, oven, toaster, vacuum cleaner, etc.. In my camping spot, I cook with fire, I clean with a broom, I wake up when the sun comes up and go to sleep when it gets dark (around 11PM). Here, I can dramatically reduce my water and electricity consumption. If all 7 billion of us would start doing this - even just - for one week, it would change the world.
Being in contact with nature, reduces stress and boosts energy levels Birds that sing, wind that whispers, fire that crisps. it's all so peaceful. Very much unlike that voice in my head always telling me the million things I still haven't done. The sounds of nature don't tell you to do, but just to be. It helps me to quiet that anxious voice down. It's scientifically proven that we have a physical need to be among nature. In Japan they have a word for it: "forest bathing", in South Korea they call it "a healing trip".
You learn to live with less
Living for a month in a tent means, it's unpractical to take a lot of stuff along. The things I brought are: an air mattress, books, some clothes, two pairs of shoes, cooking utilities, a mini table, phone, money to buy food and -an absolute must - mate (Argentinian tea). I know it's hard to believe, but you really don't need much more. This is good for the wallet and for the mind. The mind loves to solve problems and be creative. Whenever you do find something lacking, your mind will have a chance to resourceful. It will to figure out a creative solution re-using what you already have.
You live in the moment Surrounding myself with only 1% of the stuff in my house, I save so much more TIME. Finally, I don't have to rush or even look at my watch (fortunately, because I left it at home). I can get bored again. I can meditate. I can spend time having breakfast as long as I like. I can do yoga. I can write. I can do everything I choose to in one day. Remember what Mujica, nicknamed "the poorest President of the world", said: "Freedom is having time to live".
You eat and feel healthier Not having a fridge means buying food every day or every other day. This means food is fresher when you eat it. Another plus is walking to the market. It's especially good to tone the body and refresh the mind.
Your pet is happy If you have a pet dog, this is not news to you. But if you have a cat, try taking it camping. I had no idea how my cat would react, but she loves it! I have never seen her so happy. She used to be grumpy and asocial, but now she lets me pet her belly. She learned to hunt. She follows me around when washing the dishes, to the car, to the shower. She's become a whole different - much happier - cat!
It puts things into perspective. Going camping also means going out of my comfort zone. Getting out of the daily routines, the habits, thoughts, and emotions. It opens up my mind to see my life and worries in a different way. It changes the way I think about life in general. To quote Michael Singer "Everything will be okay, as soon as you are okay with everything."
So, if you still have one week free in your holiday schedule, consider going camping in a tent. I promise you will not regret it. Your pet and our planet will also be grateful to you.
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