1. We need to see new things.
We need to breathe new air, walk on new ground, and feel the awe of seeing something we’d only seen in books, or not at all. In busy lives that can become entrenched with monotony, we need to remind ourselves of the big, wild world that lies just beyond our familiar routes. We need to see misty waterfalls, sun-drenched deserts, deep blue mountains, fragrant wildflower fields, bounding foxes, and green trees as big as giants—forever part of our story—in order to grow and expand our view our the world. And seeing these things with someone you love? A bond that never expires.
2. We need to disconnect.
We’ve got to let our minds quiet and settle every once in a while. To fall asleep to a book instead of the glow of our phones. To look out over a mountain range and meditate on its beauty and majesty instead of adding to our Snapchat story. To walk long a long distance without music, to sit around a fire and talk happily and laugh easily. A weekend without comparing our lives to a stranger’s on the internet. As someone who loves the connection that social media brings, I still feel the tug towards a weekend without the hundreds of voices we let in our lives. And such a weekend always brings a renewed sense of gratitude for the people and ways we are connected, and a reminder of how good it feels to let those go sometimes.
3. We need to enjoy the road.
We need the freedom and ability to wander that comes with no hotel reservations, no time frame, and no exact destination. When the endpoint is not known, we can take our time. We can stop whenever something is beautiful or new, and we can take the mountain roads that wind in and out instead of straight through. We can play music loudly or talk about the future or not hear a thing at all besides the wind in the trees or waves on the rocks below. If the rest of your life feels constantly scheduled, camping may bring a welcome break from the regimen and a freedom that only comes from the open road.
4. We need to wake up in nature.
There is truly nothing like waking up in a softly glowing tent with the first noises of morning beginning to rustle and stir. I have magical memories of mornings in camp, when my mother would get up early and start the fire, already having water boiling so she could hand me a mug of hot cocoa the moment I stumbled out of the tent, eyes still full of sleep. Or of last summer, waking up in the great Redwoods and being insanely excited to step out of the tent after driving in pitch black darkness and never seeing the giant trees before. Starting the day in the world is a softly energizing, inspirational and communal.
5. We need to enjoy meals together.
I love cooking while camping. To put so much thought into every item you pack, to assemble it so precisely and carefully on the wooden picnic table, and then to smell your dinner cook over the fire after a day of adventuring is a level of care and passion for our meals that we often just don’t have time for. Waiting for water to boil for coffee in the morning, staring sleepily into the fire, and then walking through the woods or down to the lake as you sip it slowly; or eating dinner from your laps around the fire and telling stories from the day…we need this genuine time in community, over a meal that matters.
We need to laugh, and run, and clamber over and wade in and climb up. We need to see more stars and hear more of each other stories. We need to get outside and stay there for a while.
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