Why Camping In The Wild Will Be The Best Thing To Ever Happen To You
There are people who love their spa retreats, staying in 5-star hotels, eating gourmet food, and relieving their tension in a jacuzzi; then there are those who find joy in hot springs, find a home in the mountains, eating local delicacies, and forget their worries by looking at the sunset by the river. And no guesses there, I am from the latter clan.
However fascinating a luxury vacation sounds(and sure, I’ll probably grab it with both hands, if given a chance), I would also never, ever exchange it over an overnight getaway with a tent, bonfire, and nature.
Camping has become a trend, a social media achievement, an excuse to grab ’em eyeballs, but you know what, there is so much more to it and I’m lucky enough to have experienced it with people who feel the same way.
It Really Isn’t That Difficult.
If you’ve been shying away from taking that camping trip just because you are afraid of being bitten by insects or are scared that a wild animal will make you its meal, then you’ve been living in this giant bubble that needs to burst, ASAP.
It can be challenging, especially if you are camping post a trek or in temperatures you’re not used to, but you can also find a gorgeous spot, next to a lake, surrounded by hills, to which you can literally stroll, and just relax. Slowly but surely, you can venture out into the more intense terrains and trust me, once you do, you won’t want to stop. It is the good kind of addiction.
Yes, you’ll have to poop in the open, you may not bathe for days, you’ll be sleeping on rocky surfaces, and more often than not, you won’t be able to check your Instagram feed (oh, the horror) — I’m not even going to try to sugarcoat it.
On one such trip, on our way back to the city, my friend wanted to check into a hotel, and book a room just to shower. Sometimes, I question my choices — in my friends.
But once you have taken the first plunge, you will think, ‘hey, what the hell was I running away from?’. Take baby steps, no problem, but move and do it. And that moment when you pitch a tent on your own will be unforgettable. My best friend thinks it’s her greatest achievement till date. She isn’t wrong.
Jump into that random river, climb the first peak you see, go trekking at midnight, stand on the edge of the cliff if you want to, and just pause. Because no matter how many people call you insane, a friend told me, “Nobody wants to die; they know, deep inside, what they can and can’t do, so they will be safe. So if you think you can do this, you really can.”
And this is a friend who swam in the Ganges in minus degrees and climbed mountains when he was dehydrated AF.
Once you are out in the open fending for yourself, a major comet of realisation will hit you — that you’re probably pretty spoilt. Cooking basic staples over a fire that you will have to make yourself, from the wood that you will have to find too, and God forbid, it’s a windy or rainy night, you might just have to be strong and survive the cold.
All of this will make you feel bare, exposed.
And ultimately, you will meet the real you. Above those amenities, beyond the materialistic benefits, away from the fake interactions, you will meet your soul. That feeling is worth everything…and I mean everything.
Sure, there is the constant fear of some danger awaiting you. In fact, one of my friends makes it a point to text his mum before every trip, stating that he may not come back (he is, in fact, still alive). So, in a way, you become a more realistic person who starts appreciating life.
The hours of frustration, the scorching heat, the muscle pain…everything will disappear once you look at nature in all its glory. Someone once asked me what the best moment of my life was, and pat came the answer: 17 shooting stars, on a starry night, in a village in Kutch. That’s the day I fell in love with the rugged.
I am thankful for the little joys now and something as small as a smiling emoji makes me feel warm inside. Even though camping and travelling will become addictive, and you won’t be able to wait for your next trip, the hug you get from your family once you return makes it even more special.
Not Just A Holiday.
It is an experience of a lifetime and you may have heard this several times now, but I cannot stress on it enough — camping will give you memories that will help you shape your life. You will meet people (and furry cuties) who will become your friends for life, fellow campers who will make you feel at home, miles away from it. Then again, you have no option but to get along with them.
I found some gems, who took me to unknown islands, taught me how to build a fire in the rain, gave me the courage to go beyond the ‘no entry’ sign and, basically made me realise that Maggi is bae.
You cannot carry your whole wardrobe and you will learn how prioritise. You’ll be surprised when you manage to survive a week with just 2 t-shirts and a pair of shorts — happened to me when I returned from an overnight trip to Bhandardhara (2 hours away from Mumbai); I felt like I had conquered the Everest.
Once you are used to this style of holidaying, staying at hotels will feel weird. Another friend told me, “I don’t know how to behave when others do things for me. Room service? Woah!”.
Please, Just Go.
You don’t even have to save up for months and years to go camping. That’s the thing, you spend less and come back richer. And even if you don’t have enough time, a weekend trip is just as enriching. What’s more? Nowadays, there are so many camping companies that regularly organise such trips, every now and then. So even if your friends ditch you at the last minute, you’re sorted. You see what I’m doing here? Crossing off all the excuses on your list.
Plus, imagine how awesome your Instagram feed will look with all those #WanderlustGoals photos?
After every trip, even if it’s an overnight one, I’m tired, my limbs ache, I sometimes have rashes, I smell, and suffer from indigestion, but you know what…this is a one-night stand I’ll gladly have over and over again.