Last weekend as I was driving up the Kern River late at night, I began to wonder, why do we put ourselves through so much, all in the name of camping. I remember my girlfriend asking me what drew me to camping and it got me thinking late into the night.
Comparing motives for camping is like comparing tastes in music. We don’t really know why we do it, we just go with it because it feels good. For most of us, it’s an escape from the daily To-Do list or routine, but for others it’s a necessity for our personal emotional well being.
I’ve been camping since I was a kid, and whether I was with my family or scouts, the outdoors is a irrevocable element in my life.
As human beings, we are naturally drawn to fire, to water, and to the earth. Camping is to homemaking, as BBQing is to cooking. It’s not that a rack of ribs can’t be made indoors, but it tastes so much better outside.
This same principle applies to camping, hiking and backpacking. Jogging through our home neighborhood would give us the same cardiovascular benefits as hike, but that added element of curiosity into the unknown, wanderlust, or thrill of leaving one’s sense of security is what keeps us human.
But whether we’re backpacking or luxury camping (aka ‘Glamping’), there comes a point after the first meal has been consumed, or after somebody finally figured out how to start the fire, that we realize there’s nothing left to do but sit and do nothing.
I’d like to argue with you, that this moment is the most important part of camping. The tent stakes that you left behind, those have already left your mind. Your cell phone has already died. The fact that you didn’t buy the -30 degrees mummy bag, and opted to go with a cheaper bag, this no longer matters.
But when all the travelling has ceased, we’re forced to live in the moment, and this is why you should be adventuring in the outdoors.