If you’ve read any of my previous articles, it's clear that I tend to focus on pretty serious current events, however, this time I’m going to be approaching a lighter topic in a more casual tone. This topic is camping. Camping! Upon reading the word many are surely assaulted with visions of mosquitos and black flies, an uncomfortable tent, dirt, campfire smoke and a stinking bottomless pit of a toilet. Disgusting isn’t it? Just hearing the word camping is enough to send me running inside letting out a blood-curdling scream while clutching my phone and laptop, and projectile vomiting profusely all over the walls. Nope! I’m lying, I love camping.
I am going to convince you to go camping this summer. If you finish this article and don’t start planning a camping trip, you’ve failed, and you should probably just stay home… you wouldn’t be much fun anyway. I’m just kidding, it's not the end of the world if you don’t go camping, I’m just gonna lay out some convincing arguments as to why you should (especially after the absolutely horrid year we’ve all had).
ARGUMENT ONE: DIRT
For many, this year has been plagued with depression and isolation: the only way we can learn, talk or interact with anyone outside our close family has been through technology. Doesn’t it all feel so artificial? You’re losing touch with reality: you need to reconnect by disconnecting. Now I am not trying to be some old geezer telling you to put down your phone, I’m telling you to smash it! Literally, launch it into a lake or a rock even a hydraulic press would do; you need to get dirty. Dirt! You’ve been subservient and dull for too long my friend: go into the wilderness and live like a literal animal. Okay, maybe not that extreme, but once you’re surrounded by nature there is a certain primal feeling of being “one” with your environment. You think you’re feeling existential in your bedroom, you should try standing on a rock point at night looking at a massive ever-expanding universe. Maybe you’ll see a comet and say to yourself “wow I am incomprehensibly small, less than a speck… oh well, time to go roast marshmallows”.
ARGUMENT TWO: SELF RELIANCE
There is great satisfaction in being able to provide for oneself, and in a time where our achievements are far less physical and essential than hundreds of years ago, oftentimes we feel unfulfilled. Even simple things like pitching a tent, starting a fire and cooking over an open flame can make us feel really fulfilled. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even go fishing and catch your own dinner. Catching, gutting and filleting your own fish will make you appreciate its life and sacrifice. Plus, you’ll have exerted so much effort catching and preparing it, you will thoroughly enjoy your meal. Or just roast some hotdogs; either way, you’ll have a good time.
ARGUMENT THREE: FRESH AIR
Jimmy sat alone beneath a jackpine at the edge of a clear calm lake watching the sunset, breathing in the fresh air he thought to himself “Man, I really miss inhaling car exhaust and exchanging breaths with strangers, filling my lungs with fumes and germs”. Impossible! This guy’s irrational, I’ll bet any amount of money that with every single breath of fresh air you take while camping you will climb up one step on an infinite staircase towards self-actualization. The sweet taste of fresh air will make you levitate, and you will return to civilization a God Among Men. Prove me wrong.
ARGUMENT FOUR: REALIZE HOW LITTLE YOU CAN LIVE WITH
We live in a time where consumerism dominates and most of us have access to non-essential luxuries. Living in such great comfort, we often forget how little we need to be happy: that perhaps happiness is reached through a feeling of purpose and relationships with nature and other people and honing specific skills or pursuing a passion, rather than through physical consumption. Sometimes keeping it simple reduces stress and allows for new experiences. Minimalism is a growing trend and many swear by it, if you’re wishing to try living a less physical lifestyle, camping is a great place to experiment. Your life starts to revolve less around the acquisition of physical goods and rather the excitement and exposure to new experiences.
ARGUMENT FOUR: THE GOVERNMENT WANTS YOU TO GO CAMPING
Infographic created by Ontario Parks: a blue figure sits on a bench playing the guitar next to a campfire. Next to them, a tent is set up and the sun is shining!
Pictured above is an Ontario Parks graphic detailing a few benefits of camping. Wow, this blue man looks so happy. You could be him someday!
ARGUMENT FIVE: MENTAL HEALTH
Camping is proven to improve focus and cognitive brain function along with reducing anger and stress. Like any other recreational activity, camping boosts your brain's serotonin levels which is often referred to as the “happiness hormone”. Do some research, it's true! I’m hoping to get you hooked and help start a camping addiction epidemic, it’ll be really beneficial actually. So get out there and pitch your tent.
It is my hope that some of this information has been able to penetrate deep inside your brain where it will claw and hiss at you until you reluctantly head over to ontarioparks.com and book camping just to make the noise stop. Then you’ll love it so much, you’ll become a regular camper! Thanks for reading this fever dream of an article, now hopefully you see camping in a new light.