The Case for Camping

In the morning I wake my body up with a combination of alarms, they progressively increase in sound and use vibration to wake me up gently. Then I use the restroom in a hazy brain fog and wash away my waste with a gentle press of a lever. Then I sleepily wash my body in a tiny room with running water that turns effortlessly warm to my specifications with the turn of a dial. I make a warm invigorating beverage in 22 seconds with the click of a button. I cook eggs stored in a cold box over a skillet that heats up in 15 seconds. I turn a key in a thousand pound moving machine and apply light pressure to a pedal to travel at hyper speed 12 miles from my home to work. This was the first 45 minutes of my day and I have exuded very little psychic or physical effort in living my life. Additionally, I have no idea how many of these technologies operate.

The human capacity for stress, pain and problem solving is fathoms deeper than this. It is precisely stress, pain and problems that cause us our deepest reflection, growth and innovation and inter-dependence. I would even go as far as to say, technological advancements that create effortless daily life are major culprits related to why we are left with an overflow of psychic energy that twists itself into mental illness. In short, your simple life could be driving you mad.

I once got made fun of by someone for going camping. Their opinion: “why with all that we have would you spend a week pretending you’re homeless in the dirt?” Their mind boggled when I described the deep joy of surviving without convenience. To wake up when my body was ready to wake up (which is usually early when I camp), have to dig a hole to go potty, then build and stoke a fire before patiently waiting for my coffee to percolate. Then focusing massive amounts of effort and energy toward basic elements of survival like catching and cleaning food, and dealing with weather occurrences as they happen. This amount of effort is what we were designed to live with. And unless we compensate for our lack of requiring it, we will be left with something that sours into things like anxiety and depression.

Am I saying that you need to get off the grid and grow your own food? Nah. I like Zaxby’s. But I am saying that at various intervals it might help you to return to the very basics and challenge yourself to solve problems without technology. I am also saying that in order to happily survive while living a satisfied life, we have to present ourselves with enough challenges to sop up all of our residual psychic energy. We have to face puzzles and problems, we have to fight battles and sometimes we have to win. We have to struggle to feel alive.


If this blog has triggered any feelings in you and you want help figuring out what your heart is calling you toward, feel free to reach out to a local mental health provider and talk it over. If you’re in the CSRA, Jennifer has appointments waiting for you.