A World Of Distraction
We are beginning to live much more of our lives in urban environments, the worlds' cities are continually growing and this has made it harder to connect with nature. Being outdoors is where we originated and it's only been in recent years that we have been living and working in fully sealed dwellings which are shut off from the outside world. Indoor worlds revolve around comfort, technology and ease of living, which in many ways is nice but Mark and I are increasingly choosing to reject these norms because they had made our lives too easy. There are multiple distractions in the home which can leave the mind unsettled: technology grabbing our attention, too much physical clutter, everything we want at a click of a button. It can be difficult to know how to escape this way of life.
If anyone knows about the urban lifestyle it's us. We have lived in London for 10 years now, working and commuting everyday through the busy city, surrounded by concrete and with sound of traffic never far away. Getting to the outdoors is essential to helping us live a healthy balanced lifestyle, mentally and physically, which in the city is important because without a connection to nature we'd feel completely drained. Whether that be taking an evening stroll along the canal, or heading out to the countryside on weekends. We have found that one of the best ways of getting connected to nature is to grab our tent and go camping. It doesn't even have to be far away, but one night spent out in the fresh air can solve a world of problems. We honestly think that camping is one of the best things you can do to relax, get a good nights sleep, connect with nature, have fun with friends and generally enhance your life.
Read on to find out how camping can benefit you...
Connection To Nature
We spend so much of our lives indoors. In offices, in houses, in shops, restaurants and cars. For those of you that live in cities, you will be used to the hustle and bustle of day to day life, the noise, the busy roads, the concrete everything. Nature can be hard to come by, and even a couple of hours spent in a green space is often followed by busy roads to get back home. For those that live in the countryside or towns, I bet you often jump in the car to go to the store, or spend a lot of time indoors in your spacious homes. Sometimes we lose contact with the outdoor world around us and find it hard to reconnect.
We are avid supporters of camping, it’s the perfect way of getting out in the fresh air and to exploring nature. Spending time in green spaces relaxes our minds and dissolves stress. It makes us ever more present in the world around us which makes us happy people. Camping is a slow paced activity, we like it because it gives us time to focus on the details of the natural world: the weather, the wildlife, the plants, the smells and sounds of the outdoors. Perhaps we wouldn’t make time to notice these things at home, but when we are camping the outdoors is our home, so it’s natural to become aware of our surroundings. You can’t beat waking up to the sound of birds, or the pitter patter of rain on your tent whilst you’re snuggled up inside!
Not everything about camping is easy. A lot of people are put off by the inconvenience of it all: having to set up a tent in the rain, walking to the toilet block in the middle of the night when desperate for a wee, sleeping on the hard ground. It would be much easier just to stay in our homes and sleep in a warm comfy bed and know that you will get a good nights sleep. That is all very true, but not the point! Everything in our lives is so easy these days. We turn on a tap and have hot water, we go to sleep and there’s a big fluffy cloud bed to wrap us up in.
In our experience true satisfaction comes from having to work a bit harder to get something, having to cook food on a camping stove for 20 minutes longer than it would normally taken, having to carry all our heavy stuff to the campsite, setting up your house for the night. Once you overcome the hardships of camping you find satisfaction in your achievements and appreciate what you do have. That dinner would have been so easy to make at home in the oven, but the fact that you made it here using only a limited amount of kit (and a twig to stir it) makes it taste so much better! Camping is about problem solving, working that little bit harder and appreciating what you have made for yourself.
Back To Basics
We live in a world where we can have anything at any time. Companies like Amazon have made it so easy to order products online at the click of a button and without even typing in our card details. Our houses are full of fancy things like coffee machines, serving dishes and luxury bath products. We have gadgets to make things quicker, and gadgets to make things easier... potato peelers, electric mixers, 5 types of moisturiser. Do we really need all this stuff? Having so many belongings can sometimes be confusing, overwhelming and can actually make our minds feel cluttered.
Camping is a great way of stripping things back to the bear essentials and forcing us to think about survival. What items do we really need for a weekend away? And what is just going to be extra weight? Will we have enough warm clothing? Will we have enough food? These are questions that it’s good to ask ourselves once in a while, to understand what’s essential in life and what’s a luxury. Living with just the basics can be incredibly cleansing and can help put things into perspective. It makes us appreciate what we do have that we may normally take for granted, and also helps us to see what we don’t need.
We have seen over and over again in places we’ve visited around the world, many people living with very little and they are happy for it. After travelling for 5 months, our happiest nights are those spent in our 2 man tent under the stars.
There can be a lot of distractions at home that jeopardise a good nights sleep: watching tv, checking work emails on your phone, pruning in the bathroom, chatting with housemates and generally pottering about. Camping is a great way of bringing our focus back to sleeping. Firstly, detaching ourselves from our home lives will mean thinking less about stressful things like work before bedtime. Camping is like being on holiday and we like to leave our worries at home when we’re on holiday. Secondly we generally don’t have as much tech in our tents as at home (other than a torch and a phone) and so we won’t be kept as awake by bright screens and adrenaline inducing movies. Evening entertainment when camping tends to be sitting round a campfire and chatting with fellow campers. Who wouldn’t sleep well after that? A good additional step to take to help detach from technology would be to put your phone onto aeroplane mode. You’ll feel better for it!
When camping you tend to sleep when it gets dark, synchronising your routine with Mother Nature. Many nights we have retired to our tent at 8pm because it’s just to cold or too dark to stay outside. We tend to wake up naturally when the sun comes up early morning, the cockerels crow and we’ve had enough sleep. Waking up in the fresh air has to be one of the best things to clear your head. We always find that after a few beers on a cool night, there’s no sign of a fuzzy head the next morning. It must be that fresh camping air!
Not sold? Then why not try a night away from home and head to your nearest campsite. Camping is generally cheap, especially if you sleep in a small 2 man tent without a car. We would recommend planning a meal to cook on your gas hob or even on a fire if you are feeling ambitious! If you want an easy entry into camping, with minimal risk, then why not setup camp in a garden, if you're luckily enough to have one. Otherwise Im sure you can find a friend who might let you stay in theirs, why not invite them along too?
The beauty about camping is that you can make it as easy or as difficult as you want. You can have a blow up mattress as thick as your bed at home, or sleep with nothing but a sleeping bag. You can cook with a double gas hob and have a cool bag to keep the leftovers in, or you could cook straight onto a wood-burning fire with nothing but a stick.
If you are looking for somewhere easy to camp then why not take a look online. There are loads of websites that can help find the right campsite for you. In the past we have used the Camping Key Europe phone app to help us find sites across the U.K. and Europe because they have a handy map system where you can search via location. Each campsite is then rated by campers and you can see what facilities they have.
For those more adventurous, backpacking and wild camping really ticks the satisfaction box, and gives the opportunity to problem solve and be physically challenged. Wild camping is full of adventure and strips us of all the un-necessaries of day to day life. The outdoors is your loo, the river is your sink, and the trees are your shelter. It really doesn’t get much better than that!
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