Over the weekend I went on a camping trip in Canmore with my extended family and it was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had. Despite my initial skepticism at the idea of living in a tent and cooking outdoors, it was a unique experience that was both stimulating and relaxing.
In today’s fast-paced and technology-driven world, it’s easy to become disconnected from the natural world. I find even indoor greenery alluring, simply because many times of the day I am staring at a screen or working in the fluorescent lights at the office. However, taking the time to go camping, even just once, can offer profound benefits for our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Reconnecting with Nature:
Camping provides an opportunity to escape the city and immerse ourselves in the beauty of the great outdoors. Around the campground there were some simple trails for my family to explore. I had some of my younger cousins with me and we enjoyed the time just breathing in the mountain air. There’s also a number of wildlife species such as chipmunks and robins that can be spotted near the campground. This reconnection with nature can foster a sense of awe, gratitude, and humility. It also reminds me of how insignificant our busy, bustling lives can be in the greater scheme of things.
Disconnecting from Technology:
Every day, we are constantly bombarded with screens, notifications, and the pressures of constant connectivity. Even at the campsite, I admit it was difficult to stop engaging with my phone. However, midway through the evening, I decided to turn off my phone completely. I realized that I wasn’t fully taking in the abundance of nature when I had my phone on. Even without internet, I would be fumbling through the gmail inbox or looking up old photos I took. Camping provides a much-needed respite from this digital overload. By leaving behind wifi and embracing a simpler way of life, we can experience a sense of freedom and liberation. Disconnecting from technology allowed me to be present in the moment, engage in meaningful conversations, and truly connect with my surroundings and the people I came camping with.
Restoring Physical and Mental Well-being:
For AU students who have busy schedules split between work, classes and personal responsibilities, camping can be restorative to the mind. I found that when I was able to step away, even for less than 48 hours, it really dawned on me just how tired my mind was: it was always racing and anxious before. When we’re away from our regular schedules, the mind can fully slow down, allowing for better sleep quality and increased energy levels. Despite initially believing that I couldn’t sleep outdoors, our air mattress was quite tolerable and, ironically, my sleep was better outdoors than it was indoors.
Bonding and Building Relationships:
Camping provides a unique environment for fostering deeper connections and building stronger relationships. I had not seen my extended family from Edmonton for almost half a year, and connecting with them was refreshing. Whether you’re camping with family, friends, or even strangers, the shared experience of setting up camp, cooking meals together, and engaging in outdoor activities creates opportunities for bonding and creating lasting memories. Rarely do I get to hang out with my younger cousins and siblings. I found I had much more patience with my younger family members when I was away from the bustle of the city. I felt that I had all the time in the world to learn about their hobbies and interests.