Camping should be a restorative experience. It's a chance to leave the daily routine behind, cut down on distractions, and focus on ourselves and the nature that surrounds us. It's a chance to focus on the little things, like the crackle of the campfire and the twinkling of stars.
But for many, it's difficult to reach that peaceful place. Not because we can't find the campground, but because we all have this need to make ourselves "available" these days. So many of us struggle to disconnect, because we worry that work or family will need us.
If this challenge rings true for you, these three golden rules will help you focus and find your zen while camping.
We know it's difficult to disconnect completely. You should have your phone with you, in case of emergency. But we can distance ourselves from our devices by letting people know that we aren't available while camping. Make sure people know where you're going, and that you won't be reachable, unless it's an emergency.
Your camping trip will be full of scenes and activities you want to capture. But a simple post to social media can quickly spiral into Facebook and Twitter scrolling. By all means, take pictures of your adventures, but wait until you get home to edit or post them.
Protip: If you are really looking to ‘disconnect’, so to speak, choose a park that has spotty or no cell service. Our favorite non-WiFi campground is Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Any seasoned camper knows that your fellow adventurer-in-crime can either make or break your time in the backcountry. If you are looking to ‘get your zen on’, don’t make the mistake of traveling with someone who stresses you out.
Considering a solo camping trip? We love that idea. Solo camping gives you even more space to focus on yourself, and choose who you interact with and when. But solo camping doesn't have to be lonely. Get to know the other campers, guides, or park rangers. It's amazing how many people you can meet when you're out there on your own.
Finding your zen is about being intentional and mindful. That doesn't have to mean quiet and relaxation. If you want to be active, that's great, too! You might find your zen by challenging yourself, both physically and mentally. Pushing your boundaries in the outdoors will force you out of your head and into the moment. Perhaps you'll try hiking, rock climbing, rafting, or trail running. Give yourself the opportunity to try something new--just be sure to follow proper safety protocols and stick with someone more experienced if you're dabbling in something for the first time.
These tips may be easier said than done, but anyone who has achieved a zen-like state knows that sometimes you need to get out of your comfort zone in order to appreciate all that nature has to offer. We wish you luck in your venture into mindful travel. With a little practice and a whole lot of heart, you can have a truly enlightening experience while you sleep under the stars.