I’m sitting in my campsite, book in hand, cup of tea at the ready. The only noise is the rustle of leaves as the wind moves, and a myriad of birds, especially blue-faced honeyeaters which are a particularly vocal bunch. The air is warm, pleasantly so after a cool night, just enough to coax the eucalypt leaves into releasing their oils and giving an additional sensory hit.
On every side of me there is colour: orange dirt juxtaposed with bright blue sky, vibrant wattles with their yellow pom poms quivering in the wind, and the grey-green of gum leaves waving like arboreal fingers all around.
I’m exactly where I need to be.
Camping is all about the bush, but it’s also more than that. It’s an all-senses immersion that completely resets my sense of time and need.
The simple life
Camping is, by it’s nature, simple. There are few decisions as most of them are made before you leave home. In my daily life, decision fatigue is often present, turning simple questions like what to have for dinner into a burden. When I’m camping, those decisions were all made days ago when we packed, and it’s a soothing relief. A camp day is a series of simple tasks, like eating, tidying camp, and doing whatever activity I’ve scouted out for the day. The itinerary is still flexible, but weighing up whether to go for a bushwalk or a nap feels like the joyful process that it should be.
Living by the sun
Speaking of naps, I sleep a lot more when I’m camping than in real life because I’m operating on a daylight clock. God, it’s blissful. It’s not unusual for us to be in bed by 8pm, meaning 9 hours of sleep is completely possible. Up and down with the sun is so good for me, I wake up feeling rested, not like I have a life hangover. And if I happen to stay up, chatting over the campfire or taking Astro shots, I get to make up for it the next day. I highly recommend it.
A lot of regional Queensland is still a mobile phone dead zone, which is challenging for residents, but offers a welcome respite for visitors. As more and more phone towers creep into the landscape though, I still find I’m not enticed to grab my phone. When I’m out bush, I don’t care for scrolling. I’m more mindful and less mindless, and the break from the news is good to dial down my stress levels.
Nature, nature, nature
The main reason I camp, is, of course, to be in the environment. There is a lot of emerging research on the benefits of being in wilderness, from the chemicals absorbed from being under trees, to the additional exercise incurred, to the mood boost of being outside. Research aside, I just bloody love it. The wildlife encounters, the variety of habitats, plants, and geography, and not to mention, the quiet. More please.
These are the lessons I’m continually re-learning every time we camp: plan ahead for the week; sleep more; scroll less; and get outside as much as possible.
Simple strategies for a better life.