Our family loves camping. As soon as we get home from one excursion, we start looking forward to the next. But why?
It’s tons of work.
The packing takes ages. There’s lots of specific (and bulky) equipment needed, and there are complicated logistics like cooking without a kitchen. Even with all the equipment, it’s still uncomfortable. Air mattresses are nice, but the nights are still cold, the walls are still thin, the showers and toilets are far away, and somehow the bugs seem to prefer being inside the tent to anywhere else in the world. I guess they don’t mind the fact that we all smell like the fire.
We have a good, warm house and comfortable beds. Why would we do this to ourselves?
Maybe because there’s more to life than making ourselves as comfortable as possible at all times. Camping gets us out of our cozy nest and reminds us that there’s a whole world outside our front door, a world that is wild, brimming with life, and bursting with beauty. A world that reminds us that we are small and fragile (and sometimes cold), but also that we are living our lives inside the frame of the most stunning masterpiece ever produced.
It’s a reminder I need, a detox from the slow poison of constant exposure to social media arguments and horror-headlines. It’s a break from the useful things we’ve accumulated around the house, things that serve us and demand our service in return. It’s a reprieve from the constant to-do list, growing like a weed on my phone screen, a screen I don’t even need to look at while I’m camping.
Camping gives us space to connect with each other, good books, and old trees. I know these things are possible at home, but camping removes the normal distractions of life and narrows our focus down like a good pair of binoculars, cutting out the edges and zooming us in on the good stuff.
For us, that will always be worth a bit of discomfort.