Why Do We Camp?

WP_20140718_010Unless you work for NASA, you need more air and space.  Being outdoors for even a brief time revives the senses and re-establishes mental focus.  Spending a couple of nights sleeping with nature is nearly a religious experience; truly life changing.  All living creatures benefit from occasional changes in routine and camping gets you out of your dwelling and into a different kind of “comfort zone”.  Take your dog camping with you and give your cats some much needed time alone; you wanted a new couch anyway.  After a few days in the wild, you’ll be rested up and recharged and, when you get home, that old mattress you were going to replace will feel like a pillow-top at the Ritz-Carlton.

Camping is a culinary delight and a boost to the olfaction   Coffee smells better when cooked outdoors; heck – everything smells better when cooked outdoors.  Hot dogs are difficult to burn at home and smores made in a microwave are just wrong.  Sorry backyard glampers.  Frank’s Red Hot makes anything taste good; even those pancakes you dropped on the ground.  You get to smell like Deep Woods Off for several days, which is a good thing considering 40-degree showers will keep you from getting one until you get home.  Speaking of bathrooms, you get plenty of exercise because you must walk farther to the bathroom.  Once you get to the bathroom, you realize you didn’t really have to go.  On the plus side, you learn to determine where the “upwind” side of a place is.  Unfortunately, you realize your tent is “downwind” of the bathrooms.

Camping teaches us about non-domesticated animals.  You get to see different varieties of spiders.  Is it possible mosquitoes actually like citronella?  Bears like perfume and will follow you for a chance to find out what kind you’re wearing.   Bald Eagles on the picnic table are allowed to eat whatever they want.   Racoons teach you to put things away, and ants can transport an entire weekend’s worth of groceries better and faster than your minivan can.

Camping builds life skills.  If camped far enough away from a cell tower, people learn to actually look at each other when speaking to one another.  Packing for camp improves Jenga and Rubik’s Cube skills.  You learn to pack enough stuff into your vehicle to be able to survive for least an additional 72 hours should the apocalypse come.  After setting up your tent, building your next bicycle will be easy.  You learn fire prevention – especially as it pertains to firewood.  Camp games are fun but remember strip poker is generally frowned upon and, in the game of horseshoes, you lose all your points if your horseshoe goes through a neighboring camper’s car windshield, although that might result in learning how to box or wrestle.

Ultimately though, camping plugs us back into the natural world surrounding us.  Camping gives us confidence in knowing we can survive, even thrive with much less than previously believed.  Camping is communal; it asks us to share with each other and care about each other. Camping challenges us to try new things.  Camping causes us to look up and out rather than just down.  And finally, camping is better than being at work.  That’s why we camp.

© 2018 Curt Savage Media                                                                   curtsavagemedia.com

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