The 1, 2, 3 of Camping
Countless blogs and threads talk about camping. The gear, the setup, the people, the goals and success in achieving them.
Today I want to talk to you about camping from a different perspective.
Every year, four musketeers go for a week of camping in one of the most mesmerizing beaches in the Mediterranean located on the Southern beach strip of Haifa, Israel. Sometimes other people join too, to stay or just to visit. But the core of the camping-four is always there no matter what. One of the musketeers comes especially every year from the UK, this time even with his wife and his one year old son (You gotta get them wild from an early age).
The setup is prepared from months before: the gear, meal planning, to-bring lists and so on. The style is simple: camp on a naked beach, almost untouched by humans for one week or more. Do nothing in particular other than sit, chat, swim, watch the sunset and gaze at the stars. If we’re lucky, we get a peak from a full moonrise too. This is what we got this year:
This time I also decided to add a twist, as I have been gradually learning and practicing meditation, so why not making room for it in what is no less than a perfect setup? I am, after all, in a vacation mode. So I went ahead and started meditating every morning at Sunrise, and every evening at Sunset.
As this is not a spiritual blog, I won’t bore you with my meditation experiences. But I do want to shed some light on an important insight I learned about myself, with regards of taking the time to be face to face with raw nature.
Long term camping has three phases: phase one is getting used to the surrounding. This phase lasts a couple of days and basically lets you realize that you’re away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. You still think about what you have to do right after you get home, you still check your phone from time to time for new messages, missed calls and social media, you still talk relatively a lot about events, chores and tasks. Until the continuous sound of waves crushing on a bed of shells and the spoiling sunshine grows on you to move on to… Phase two.
Phase two gets you to a place where you’re used to the wild nature around you. Showering becomes optional, battery life does not hold as a critical matter anymore, and time takes a slower, relaxed pace. This phase lasts for longer than phase one, and can stretch for three to four days.
If you’re lucky though, you get to phase three.
Phase three is when your body and mind blend with the nature around you. You get the feeling of being in your natural environment as an animal. Thoughts about driving a car, talking on the phone, paying bills and making money feel so remote from your reality. This, is when you become one with the camping setup. You become one with the universe. The highlight of the day turns into events like Sunrise, Sunset, Moon and Tide movements. Everything starts ticking according to the nature around you, and you start noticing the inevitable changes in your body, mind and mood influenced by these natural events.
Phase three got me thinking of an often overlooked added value of camping.
While camping can be most enjoyable, it is not only about the fun of it. Camping can be an accessible, available to all (even 1 year olds), surefire track to connect with who we truly are: beings of nature who share the same building blocks as the Sea, Sand, Waves and the sound of sea birds.
Camping plugs you in.
You don’t have to meditate In order to get to phase three though. It happens naturally if you let it. And here is the punch line: IF YOU LET IT.
There is something very healing about uniting with nature in this way. We all have all kinds of stuff to heal from. Sometimes it takes more than a week on the beach to heal but allowing ourselves to unite with nature can sure soothe some pain or stress, whatever you need to heal from is.
Camping can be a remedy, a natural one that surely works. It brings the body-mind to an instinctive state of safety, where what you see, hear, smell, touch and even taste (if you know what you’re doing) feels natural and pure, without the countless filters, masks and additives of civilization.
And the best part? It is, relatively, free and accessible to most of us.
Next time you camp, consider staying for longer. That’s all what I'm saying in a nutshell… Phase three is just around the corner.
And who knows… maybe you get to realize phase four. If you do, let me know how it goes!
Enjoy the outdoors,