I have been getting back into camping and the camping spirit. I have loved camping my whole life from my best friends and I sleeping under the stars out in the cow pasture to camping over at Turner Falls. The majority of my camping was done when I was younger. I miss it. I miss it fiercely.
There are reasons that I like camping. It isn’t the need to donate blood to the mosquito and tick population. It is more of a sensory experience for me. If I am in a forest the smell of the forest. The smells of camping the smoke from the fire. Campfire coffee, though I never drank it while camping I fondly remember the smell of the coffee brewing. Everything about camping that I can remember is good. Even the few bad times were not so bad. Remember the poison ivy and Chiggers and burying my feet in stinging nettle.
The person who took me out camping was my Mom she was the adventurer. We would go down to White Water Sports in New Braunfels Texas and camp at night and go “tubin'” on the Guadalupe River. I distinctly remember spending all day riding the Horseshoe Loop. Going over and over again with my cousin. Then sometime during the stay we would do the long run and float the Sunburn run. I swear it was an all-day float but looking at the map now it says it is only 3 hours. Plenty of time to get a good scorching.
Then night time would come there would be hot dogs and hamburgers and potato and macaroni salad, Chips, and cokes anything that anybody said that was bad for you is very good for you when you are camping.
The after the fire has died down you either called into a tent or if you were my Cousin Robin and I, we would “rough it” and sleep on a cot or a banana lounger under the stars. Only to wake up at the butt crack of dawn ready to do it again.
Connecting with nature
Camping, if you have never gone is wonderful. No matter where you camp whether it is at the Yellow Stone or your backyard, you have the ability to reconnect with nature. Again it is not just the bugs but it is the fresh air. When was the last time you had your bare feet touching soil? How about the last time you laid back and look at the stars? Your stomach would be very happy with a smore or two made by fire.
It is comforting to sit back as you are drifting off to sleep with an owl close by keeping watch. Listen to Coyotes as they sign to Slue-Foot Sue. Dipping your feet into the water as you fish. The excitement as you actually catches a 3-inch perch and you daughter reels in an 8-pound Catfish. Seeing an armadillo scurry through your camp at dusk. Maybe you could talk to the prairie dogs that are next to ya. All of these experiences help to rebalance you from your hectic everyday life. We all work and sadly forget that stopping to connect with nature is something your soul needs from you.Encountering nature often shows you that nature responds in unexpected ways.Click To Tweet
Connecting with your campmates
There are those who like to camp alone. Yet if they have a chance to take someone with them very few would actually say no. Everybody likes to have company when they are camping. Often it involves having a few beers and bestowing each other with bullshit ladened philosophical insights.
This is bonding and reconnecting that everybody wishes they had. Camping is the best medium for connecting with other people. why? Because there are no other distractions around. Cell signal is little to non-existent, or there is no electricity to recharge. So people and kids have to resort to caveman style of communications. Storytelling and BS laden Philosophies. Camping awards you with a stronger bond with your best friends or if you have a new friend this is a good way to test one’s mettle and see if there is a commonality for friendship to grow.
You learn detail about your coworkers or family members you would never have guessed while camping. So, though you can go at it alone, it is better if you drag someone along with you. Even your spouse though she may grumble for a bit will lighten up and enjoy herself while camping.
Camping with kids
This is the element that makes camping fun is when you bring kids along. The age doesn’t really matter. Bring them when they are a year old if you are dedicated camping family. The advantages of camping that I talked about before goes double for children. Especially those in school. As you know kids these days cant be kids. There are too many other issues they have to deal with. You have what everybody thinks of them at school. Which, hasn’t changed since you were in school. Then there is what everybody thinks about them on Social media. Then you have the teachers pushing for college and tests and sports and everything else that kids do these days. Make them take a break. You can force them to slow down and see what it means to smell the roses.
One of the wonders I love seeing with kids is the curiosity that blooms when they go camping. Every child from 4 on up is an inquisitive adventuring explorer. Most of the times they don’t get entertain that explorer in them. That is till they see a fish jump out of the water as the sun is rising. Till they find out there are caves nearby and want to see if there are any bats. Till they are handed a flashlight and they go out past the light of the campfire. That is when the non-caring city kids morph into Daniel Boone. Then anything is possible.Give a child a Flashlight and they will suddenly turn into Daniel BooneClick To Tweet
If you have a boy who is struggling. Take them out fishing for the weekend. Give them plenty of time and they will talk. Camping is magical for boys and the same goes for girls too. The walls start to disappear and the lines of communication mend themselves. Dads if you have been too busy with, whatever, take your kids camping and see then open up and become unrecognizable, and that is for the better
One thing about camping is the connections that are formed. THose connections are shared and enriched with memories. So share memories with your children, nieces, and nephews. Your stories and memories are used to build their own memories of their experiences braving the wilds. They want to share the time they saw that HUGE elk come out from behind a tree. Experiencing life is all these kids want and to have someone who knows their experience was valid and real is the key to bonding and building strong family connections.
Don’t make it perfect
One thing all parents first try to do is to recreate their first camping experience. What inevitably happens is it goes horribly wrong. The tent gets set up under a beehive or you forgot to pack the sleeping bags. Whatever goes wrong these are going to be the funny and most memorable points of your adventure. I remember having my first brush with stinging nettle. I thought my foot was going to detach itself and go home for that hour or so. THen it got better till I sat in it. Even the times you find out you were squatting in poison ivy becomes inside jokes for those who were involved.
So while camping, don’t take anything too serious and get ready to laugh at yourself as much as you laugh at others in your party.
You will run into problems
Now before you get yourself worked up about all the bad. Know and accept that something non-life-threatening will probably happen. whether it is finding every poison ivy, sumac, and oak leaf in the forest or you stumble upon a troop of Skunks and they use you as target practice. They are just that non-life-threatening. They are inconveniences at the worst. Encountering nature often shows you that nature responds in unexpected ways. More often than not shows you that kids are tougher than expected.
So get ready for the camping season. I know I am excited to see what this summer has in store. What are your thoughts? Do you go camping regularly? Have you ever gone camping? If not why? Share with the community what you think of Camping.
I like being able to help people find their “why” and achieve the personal freedom they desire. Besides writing for Relaxed Male I also am a life coach. By helping men find the leader that is found in each and every one of us. I do this by encouraging men to get outdoors and find the balance they are missing. Realize that they need to be in contact with the outside as often as they can. It is not only good for them but for their families and relationships.