Over the past month, we’ve been on two camping trips, each for two nights. It’s not much but the amazing thing for me is how little time I need to forget everything that’s going on and to refresh. Each time we came back to our house, I thought that I really needed to check the mail (there wasn’t any because it was only two days, both of them on the weekend) and both times I checked all the food in the fridge to see if it had gone bad (again, in two days…). In short, I felt like an enormous amount of time had passed from us leaving the house to our return. But it really hadn’t.
Every time this happens I’m amazed by how little time I need to refresh. And there are a few lessons to be shared about why that is.
Whenever we go camping, we have an unpowered side somewhere far away. We tend to turn our phones off, mostly because we have no reception.There’s no TV or screen time of any sort during the time we’re camping. We are completely unplugged from the world.
This unplugging is not always easy, I admit. I still feel the urge to check Facebook, my feeds, and all the other sources of communication with the world. I have gotten good at resisting this urge although I’m far from perfect.
Unplugging from the world also means for me to not think about what’s going on outside but look inward. It gives us, as a family, time to reflect. We focus on the immediate tasks and spend time together.
The immediate tasks are very different when we’re out and about than what they are at home. It’s back to the basics: setting up shelter and maintaining that, getting a fire going, cooking food with limit kitchen utensils, handwashing the dishes, brushing teeth and using the bathroom while sharing it with others, and the list goes on. There is a sense of nothing comes easy when you’re camping.
For me, it’s the unknown, the different workload that recharges my batteries. The need to orientate myself in a new space stimulates my senses and allows me to refocus. And a weekend trip has proven the perfect length of time, just long enough to be worth it and short enough so the tasks are still exciting.
Observing the surrounds and being active
Being on a campsite also comes with a close observation of our surroundings. We have seen kangaroos hopping past when we were having dinner, possums getting into our food while we were staring at the fire, and ducks coming for a visit. All these experiences are just as great for us as they are for the kids. It creates shared experiences for us as a family.
One of the best things about camping for me is also being active outside. As a camper, I sleep in a tent, wake with the birds, walk a few minutes to the bathroom, and generally move around a lot more than I do at home. My favourite holidays have also always been active holidays: biking, canoeing, hiking. I love working my muscles. It’s a workout with a purpose, one I can’t get at home (or at a gym).
Experiences have no price tag
Staying active can come with a price tag though. There are plenty of organised activity you can pay a lot of money for. As a family, we aim to spend as little money as possible on our adventures and experiences. Sure, the odd entrance fee and parking ticket occur but we try to explore without paying much (if anything).
For us as a family, our shared experience is our number one goal for a good holiday. Spending time together while seeing something new, exploring new territory and learning about each other, is what makes a good holiday for us.