By Amy K. Andrews
With summer ticking by, now is the time to take a journey to the campground to see why everything you ever needed to know about life can be learned while camping.
Here are my top five essentials for life, learned while camping.
Keep It Simple: Whether you prefer a tent or an Airstream, the camping life is a simple one. You possess only what you need, and all of it fits within the confines of a small suitcase or Igloo cooler. The camping life reminds us to pare down what we own, in favor of living the life we have. Filling your days wandering along trails with your family or making coffee with an old-school percolator while sitting by the fire supersedes staying inside all day cleaning and doing laundry. Camping, at its essence, is keeping it simple.
Be Grateful: Never do I find myself more grateful for life’s modern conveniences than when I return from using a less-than-ideal-hole-in-the-ground restroom for weeks on end. Yes, the showers are often cooler in a campground and the loo may be a quarter of a mile away. I love that camping reminds me to be grateful for the little things.
Look up at the stars: This is one of my favorite camping activities. Sitting around a campfire, with nothing to do other than look at the night sky, helps me keep life in perspective. Seeing the grandeur of the sky, all lit up with twinkling lights that have existed for billions of years, reminds me of my smallness. Situations in life that I think are huge, are likely not. And the things that are most important, namely people, are as quiet and beautiful as tiny, twinkling bits of stardust.
Move: Camping makes us use our bodies more than we often do in our daily lives. We hike. We trek to the shower. We build a fire to cook our food. We get around on foot, or we ride our bike, or we kayak, to see and experience things we wouldn’t normally. This is a good reminder of how to live. To play. To be active. To live a life where sedentariness is not an option. Moving keeps us young.
Eat Together: At the end of the day most everyone sits down in the campground, at their picnic table, and breaks bread together. Families and friends eat at the same time, sharing stories, listening and laughing. No one is running off to take that phone call or run some errands. It is old-school, sit around the table and discuss your day, wonder about the world, share and share-alike type dining. Yes, a rarity in our modern world, but another great gift of a reminder we receive while camping.
Amy is a woman of wellness, a writer, and the winner of Seattle’s Ultimate Housewife contest. As a liberated Texan, she has lived on both coasts, and on the high streets of London. Most days you can find her teaching Pilates to her beloved clients, editing her memoir, An Expat’s Wife, swiffering her home, or writing thank-you notes. At this very moment she is undoubtedly cuddling with her wife and cat.