This summer marked our family moving into new territory…camping territory. Not too boldly (in that our campsite was never too far from a paved road) but not completely without boldness (in that taking a toddler camping is not for the faint of heart). “Car camping” was how an uncle described it, and…yeah – that’s no inaccurate.
And it was great. Not easy. Not really a vacation or a refreshing getaway. But a fun, memory-making family time. There are a few reasons for this, I think…
Camping Forces Us to Simplify
While walking into an REI may convince you that massive amounts of gear are needed in order to take your crew camping, the reality is that a night or two in a tent or camper doesn’t require that much stuff. And while it’s tempting to bring a gadget for every situation (and potential situation), even car campers know that there are limits to what can be transported to a campsite. Consequently, simplification is required…and that’s a good thing. In our culture of consumption and comfort, forced simplicity and a stretch of basic living are surprisingly refreshing.
Camping Forces Us to Slow Down
Partly because of the forced simplicity, partly because everything is a little more difficult when you’re not at home, camping forces us to slow down. Getting a drink of water, using the bathroom, making a meal…all the essentials require an extra step or two to accomplish. We’re less efficient than normal and the pace of life quickly feels different…slower. That too is a good thing, encouraging patience and and giving us room to enjoy and reflect.
Camping Reminds Us of Simple Beauty
In the midst of the extra room the slower pace of camping gives us to enjoy and reflect, time in a tent also reminds us of simple beauty. Whatever the setting of your campsite, there’s beauty to appreciate, point out to your kids, and enjoy. If you’re out beyond the “light pollution” of the cities and ‘burbs, the quantity and sharpness of a starry night sky is stunning. If there’s a little evening chill and you’re able to build a campfire, the reward of the glow flames and crackling logs is lovely and peaceful. And – for some reason – we find that camping food tastes better than it should. The best tasting PB&Js, Pop Tarts, and (of course) roast marshmallows come when you’re camping.
- the price is right;
- there’s something refreshing and good about being out of cell signal;
- it’s not bad being away from the demands and responsibilities of normal life and home; and,
- crashing – truly tired – soon after the sky turns dark;
are all good things too.
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