I recently spent almost a month camping in the Redwoods and on an organic farm. I hadn't been camping since I was a young child with my parents. I'm a girlie-girl who prefers indoor plumbing, hot showers, clean sheets and fluffy beds. Camping never would have been my first choice, but I love my friends and family, so off we went. I'm so glad I did because I've always wanted to see the giant Redwoods and this camping trip changed me forever. Here's what I learned:
1. I don't need much to make me happy.
What do I need? Just the basics: roof (or a tent) over my head, some clothing, food and water. I was perfectly happy without a television, air conditioning, or stores.
2. I can live without cell service or WiFi. Really!
At first, I didn't like this one bit ... What if something happened? What if I missed an important call or text? But after simply letting go, it was actually nice not having my phone in my hand, checking emails and Facebook. It felt so good to take a break and be 100% there where I was without any distractions.
3. My extrasensory perception became stronger.
When I finally got phone service, I could guess who was texting and calling me. I'd think of them and a few minutes later, I'd receive a text or call from them. This happens to me often normally but even more so when I was away from electronics for awhile.
4. I belong outside.
My body loves being outside in the sunshine, in the dirt, around the trees, in the mountains and under the starry skies. This is natural for us. Hearing the roosters, frogs, birds, horses, coyotes was music to my ears.
5. I need a break from artificial lighting.
There weren't lights to turn on or off except for flashlights. The sky slowly grew dim, and I didn't have my laptop light glaring into my eyes. I slept and woke naturally without an alarm except for the rooster on the farm.
6. I'm not afraid of spiders or bugs anymore.
Almost every day in my tent I'd spot a spider crawling near my sleeping bag. After awhile I didn't care. I knew the spider didn't want to hurt me and had every right to be there as much as I did.
7. Being around trees makes us feel better.
When we're out in the woods or forest and we breathe phytoncides, which make us feel good. They help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and cortisol, and boost our immune system. These effects can last as long as 30 days.
8. I don't need to spend lots of time getting ready.
I need to spend that time in nature, barefoot, getting dirty and hugging the trees, smelling flowers and "being" instead of doing.
9. I experienced more joy than ever. I must go camping more often.
One time I was looking at the painted purple sky after the sunset and I started laughing so hard and saying to myself "Oh my God, that's so beautiful!" I looked so different after camping that even my friends said I looked like my soul was refreshed and it was! I felt like a new person. And when I returned to the city, I felt slower than everyone else, but not in a bad way. I was more calm, relaxed and centered than ever before.
If you get a chance to go camping, do it! Spend some time outside in nature, by yourself or with friends. Your mind, body and soul will love it.