Camping is about more than just getting away for the weekend. It’s a chance to reconnect with ourselves, our families and the outdoors. When the world around us is opened up to the outdoors and closed off to normal daily pressures and obligations, magical things happen. We relax. We learn to appreciate the simple things. We reset ourselves for our busy lives at home (think Ctrl+Alt+Delete), and we establish deeper bonds with the people we are with. If all that wasn’t enough to get you in the camping mood, here’s four great reasons why families the world over should head outdoors this summer for a weekend camping adventure.
Learn to Unplug – In a world where most all of us are plugged in constantly, it can be a bit difficult to go without a device of some sort for very long. Camping, especially in a rural area, can help to shift our focus from our devices to the world around us. Plus, if you’re in a remote area and don’t have reception or electricity, then you will literally be “unplugged”. At first, it may be painful, but before you know it, you’ll find the family visiting more, laughing more, interacting more, and paying much closer attention to the world around them.
I once spent eight days whitewater rafting through the Grand Canyon. There were no devices, electricity, or modern conveniences for a hundred miles in either direction. At first I worried about missing work emails or important phone calls. After 24 hours, I forgot all about them. After eight days, I dreaded having to go back and check any of them. For the first time in my adult life, I was able to fully immerse myself in my surroundings and live fully in the moment. It affected me deeply, and to this day I long for that feeling again. This is coming from a girl who has practically every device Apple ever sold, so when I write about the importance of unplugging, I write about it from experience.
Learn Some Basic Outdoor Survival Skills – Ok let’s be honest here. Most kids (and adults) today don’t know how to find their way with a compass, light a fire, or build a shelter. And that’s fine. We don’t really need to. That being said, none of those things are bad skills to have, and a weekend camping is the perfect time to practice some of them. After all, you can’t make s’mores without the fire, so take some time to teach the kids some basic outdoor skills. They’ll have fun, they’ll learn something, and they’ll feel a sense of accomplishment.
Learn to Communicate – I don’t mean proper english sentence structure here. I mean talk, visit, and just plain old communicate. When we’re home during our busy everyday lives, we get caught up in the details of the day. Removing ourselves from our everyday lives gives us the chance to talk about other things. Evening campfires and afternoon hikes are a great time to do this. Visit about family history, cool stories from when you were young, or their dreams and goals when they grown up. Whatever it is, try to steer the conversation away from everyday tasks and burdens of home life. Those details will be waiting when you get home. You can talk about them then.
Learn Personal Responsibility – When we are camping, we usually have limited resources. This forces us to be aware of what we consume and what we throw away. We also have to deal with all of our trash and mess. We can’t leave our campsite messy and full of garbage when we are done. This forces us to be learn to respect our surroundings and keep our area clean. We also can’t leave food out (think bears) and our tents or camper doors wide open (think bugs). This forces everyone to immediately clean up after ourselves and take some personal responsibility. It’s a small thing, but if we carefully mention it and talk about it with our children, it can have a big impact on their behavior that can carry through to everyday home life.
Article written by Trisha Riutta