The concrete jungles of our creation can be very overwhelming and hard to live at times. The pace of life in our cities going at breakneck speed is often frustrating and tiring. The noise of urban traffic, the glare of the incandescent street lights, the hustle and bustle of our everyday routine, the immense pressure of the upward mobility and the corporate rat race, these can fatigue our minds and we often long to escape. We do escape to the countryside, to the rural areas and wilderness closer to nature, looking for some often elusive calm and peace. We yearn for a few tranquil moments which can be extremely hard to find in our everyday lives. Fed up of being confined to four walls, we find excuses and somehow gather courage to escape our rushed and boring city lives to the magical world of the great outdoors. And we have been doing this since time immemorial but we are doing this more often now, with more and more millennials trying to find solace in the great outdoors. One of the most common and accessible outdoor activities that provides respite from our city lives, is Camping. It is perhaps the most common outdoor recreational activity we as humans do to enjoy nature.
Camping is a very popular outdoor activity and especially now more and more people are camping out in the nature as a group or even solo. But what actually is camping and what does it entail? Oxford Dictionary defines a ‘camp’ a “place with temporary accommodation of huts, tents, or other structures, typically used by soldiers, refugees, or travelling people.” Here what we are referring to is a ‘camp’ which is specifically for travelling purposes and regarded as a recreational activity. Camping is nothing but spending nights generally away from urban areas in temporary accommodation options such as a tent. It is therefore an outdoor activity involving overnight stays away from our homes in a shelter. Campers leave urban developed areas and move towards the backcountry areas in order to spend their time amidst nature in more natural settings than what our everyday lives could allow. Camping is generally done as a form of recreational activity and in pursuit of leisurely activities that provide enjoyment. It can be combined with other outdoor activities like hiking, canoeing or other adventure activities. As opposed to a day-trip or a picnic, Camping requires us to spend at least one night in the outdoors, preferably under the stars.
Now that we know what actually is meant by camping, let’s talk about why camping should be done by everybody more often and what myriad of benefits it offers. Research has shown that camping in natural settings is good for both our mental and physical well-being. Sleeping away from artificial light and waking up with natural sunlight can reset our circadian rhythm which will help us feel reinvigorated after a good night’s sleep. It will also revitalize our tired and fatigued minds. Doctor say the camping lifestyle of getting up early, then getting ready to set off for the next campsite if on a hike and then sleeping early is best for us. In our cities most of us tend to have very late sleeping habits hooked on to our mobiles and laptops.
Going for a camping trip with our loved ones, family and/or friends provides perfect bonding time. Cozily gathering around a campfire, sitting with marshmallows in our hands and talking for hours without distractions is a great way to connect. It is also an excellent opportunity for a digital detox. Although many developed countries have national parks with cell coverage, it is best to go to a camping spot with no or intermittent signals. It thus provides a wonderful opportunity to disconnect from the world. Getting away from constant pinging notifications on Facebook and other social media, frequent meeting invites or business emails, camping can provides the much needed break both for our tired eyes and minds. It perfectly enables for more green time than screen time.
Camping out is also an excellent way to get active. Our city lives full of modern technology have made us extremely lazy and camping provides the perfect solution. It is a great way to stay fit and enjoy nature. If a camping trip is combines with hiking, as a solo traveller or in a group, we need to ferry our camping gear and equipment to the camping spot or campsite. Clearing the site, pitching the tents, setting up the campsite, fetching water for drinking and washing up, walking up to the washrooms, building campfire etc. camping entails a lot of physical activities and makes us very active. This extra activity keeps our heart and lungs healthy!
Apart from its many positive impacts on our physical and mental health, the best and my favorite part of camping is pitching the tents under the open skies and sleeping under the stars. On clear nights, as we look up in awe, we get a chance to marvel at the breathtaking celestial display of the billion stars and the Milky Way. Camping is an amazing way to do stargazing which unfortunately our city pollution does not allow us from the comfort of our homes. In cold areas, camping also provides the opportunity to curl up in our tents, and snuggle inside our cozy, fluffy sleeping bags. As we wake up to the chirping of birds in the midst of nature surrounded by a lovely forest overlooking a lazily flowing stream perhaps, we feel rejuvenated when opening our tent doors to welcome the first rays of the sun. The cool breeze of the refreshing air hits our face and that priceless moment is perhaps the ultimate prize of camping.