Camping is about fun AND learning
Camping is a great way to break from your normal routine, get some fresh air, and to expand your appreciation for the natural world. And it’s a lot more than s’mores and campfires (although those are really great parts of camping, too!). When you take a trip out into the wild with your tent and supplies, you’ll find that there are many lessons to be learned from the experience. Here are a few of our favorite camping takeaways we hope our past and future travelers glean from camping excursions.
1. You don’t need a lot of “stuff.”
When it comes down to it, all we need for survival is food, clothing, and shelter. Going camping reminds us that our material possessions aren’t quite as important as we might think they are. Plus, when you have to carry everything you need on your back, the desire for a lot of “stuff” quickly decreases.
2. A sense of direction.
Out in the wilderness, having a strong sense of direction is important. It helps you know where you are, where you’re going, in what direction you’ll find water, the camp site, etc. And really, it’s two-fold. Taking a break from technology and the constant bombardment of media is a great way for student travelers to gain a sense of direction for their future as well.
3. An appreciation of nature’s beauty.
Have you ever seen a nighttime sky full of stars undimmed by city lights? Ever smelled the woody scent of crisp pine needles as they crush under your hiking boots? While camping, all five senses are activated to take in the beauty of the outdoors. Too often we’re stuck indoors missing the magnificent scenery that’s right outside.
4. The importance of hard work.
Camping can be pretty grueling—there’s setting up the tent, starting and tending to the fire, getting water, cleaning the campsite, and so much more. But without that work, a campsite can become a dangerous environment that invites unwelcome animal guests to your sleeping area. The hard work involved is character-building and makes us appreciate the luxuries of our modern world.
5. How good food tastes after a long day outdoors.
When you’re busy at the camp site all day gathering firewood, carrying heavy buckets of water, hiking, fishing, and exploring, by the time dinner rolls around, your stomach is really growling. Your body is tired, and all you can think about is a nice, warm meal and your comfy sleeping bag. Sure, we eat good food from time to time. But after a long day of hard work, even the most unappealing freeze-dried dinner tastes like a gourmet feast.
6. Respect for the wilderness.
It’s not really until you’re part of the environment that you start to realize the importance of respecting the area around you. That means picking up trash, leaving as small of an impact as possible, and keeping nature…well…natural. You’ll also quickly learn to respect Mother Nature’s omnipotence if you happen to weather a storm while camping—but it helps give perspective, too.
7. How to get comfortable with uncomfortable.
Stepping outside your normal routine and breaking away from everyday life means getting outside your comfort zone. But it also means not being afraid to try something new, learning new skills, and taking risks to expand your realm of experiences. Yes, camping might be a little intimidating at first, but it’s a good practice to take a break from “normal” every now and then.
8. How to fall asleep to an outdoor symphony.
When it’s finally time to crawl inside your tent and zip up the door flap, you’ll close your eyes to a cacophony of insect and animal songs and breeze shifting through the trees. Falling asleep to the sounds of nature is very different than the quiet darkness of a bedroom or the whirr of a ceiling fan. It’s the real deal.
9. Unplugging from technology.
On a camping trip, it’s a good time to separate from the ever-buzzing cell phone. There’s no television, no billboards, and no e-mails. It’s not very often we get a true opportunity to completely disconnect from technology, but going out in nature allows us to appreciate good conversation and face-to-face connections.
Out in nature, you really have to depend on yourself to problem-solve. There’s no You-Tubing how to start a fire or identify a plant. It’s a great way to learn from your gut instincts without leaning on technology for simple solutions. And from that experience, you learn to better trust yourself and build confidence in your abilities.
What are you waiting for? It’s time for you to pack up and go camping with the Road Less Traveled. Let’s go explore the outdoors. Find our Summer Travel Programs here.