I just got back from a wonderfully peaceful, yet invigorating, weekend of camping. Beach, bonfires, beer. Sailing, tanning, hot dogs. So American, the perfect way to celebrate the 4th.
(Side note: I learned today that the Freedom of Information Act was passed on July 5, 1967, so I have a whole new appreciation for the weekend. Yeah, FOIA!)
So, as the weekend went on, I just kept thinking: Everyone needs to do this. Unplug, get away from the crazy and just relax. Be one with nature. (That’s pretty neat!)
Here are a few common life tips, that most of us have heard before, as they relate to camping. More specifically, my past weekend.
1. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
When you wake up in your tent, enjoying the peaceful chirping of the birds, slowly look around your surroundings. If you look straight up and there’s a huge daddy longlegs kinda chillin like two feet from your head, don’t freak out. Stare at it for a sec (studying how they walk is actually interesting), sit up and let it go about its business. Maybe give it a name and wish it a good day.
I had very rare cell service. Couldn’t Insta all the nature (that was kind of painful); couldn’t text my friends about funny camping moments. Couldn’t even Snapchat pics of the spider climbing on my towel as I walked to the shower. Like you guys know, I love social. So, leaving it behind for a few days was a huge adjustment but also a big relief. Having internet capabilities on the drive home wasn’t even appealing – I just wanted to listen to music and keep on keepin’ on.
3. Get some fresh air and exercise.
On Saturday afternoon, we had a couple hours to relax – snack, shower, read, play the uke. So, I grabbed a bike, told my mom that I was going for a “short ride” (hah) and went on my way. After several failed attempts to find a bike path, I turned back toward the site. I’d already been gone a lot longer than I intended, but I couldn’t stop. On my way back, though, I found it! Not wanting to pass up the opportunity, I made a quick turn onto the Sunset Bike Path.
Imagine this: You’re alone in a forest. Cool breeze is blowing and the only sounds are the birds chirping and your bike wheels gliding through the rock. Amazingly tall, bright green trees protect you from the heat of the July sun. You’re flying down the path with the perfect amount of adrenaline.
Yeah, it was that good.
4. Gather, and embrace, summer battle wounds.
Okay, so I probably made up that life lesson but it’s so accurate. Remember when you were a kid and your legs got kind of destroyed during the summer months? A gash on your knee from falling off your scooter, sunburn on your shoulders from an afternoon at the local pool, scratches on your leg from climbing through scratchy bushes during an intense round of Capture the Flag. Friends would brag about their scars, telling animated stories about their adventures.
Well, the same applies to grown-ups. Currently on my legs: Sunburn from the beach; bug bites from the forest; scratch from my bike; blisters on my ankles from gym shoes. I’ve had summer adventures, and it feels good.
So, have adventures. Go for a few hikes and spend afternoons at the beach. In Chicago, this beautiful weather is rare – enjoy it!