Last week we took the kids camping for a few nights. And while the camping gods didn’t smile on poor Sparky – who ended up with a killer throat infection – we did learn an awful lot about living more simply.
1. You need much less stuff than you think
A bowl, plate and cup per person, minimal cutlery, a bucket for washing up, a table for eating and food prep, something to sleep on, something to sleep in, food and fresh water. Whatever else you don’t have, you improvise or find a way to do without.
2. Your home will feel cluttered and enormous when you get home
Just being part of wide, open, natural spaces automatically makes you notice all the walls, furniture and stuff in your own home. Use this feeling as a kickstart towards decluttering in 2012.
3. You will appreciate the modcons you do have
There’s nothing wrong with a laptop, wifi and a good cup of coffee. And after living a very simple, very pared down life for a few days you will really appreciate the convenience. And gratitude is a great thing – it brings us contentment.
4. Kids will entertain themselves if given the time and space
(Although strategically released iPad screentime is a great thing). One bag of toys and books was all we took along and next time, we won’t even bother with that. The kids barely looked at their toys, prefering to play in the sand, explore the campsite and search for goannas and kangaroos.
5. Simple pleasures bring the most joy and relaxation.
Like sitting around a campfire, in great company. Bliss.
6. There are worse things than no hot water
In fact, a cold shower is super refreshing, and since we’ve got home I’ve had more than one – by choice. It’s all about perspective. “No, I’m not freezing, I’m refreshed.” See how that works?
7. When you don’t have it on tap, you don’t waste a drop.
Nothing like scarcity to promote awareness. “Oh, look. we’ve got 6 litres of water for the day.” Lo and behold, we survived. We cooked, we drank, we made coffee, we washed up and brushed our teeth from that six litres.
Not only did we learn a few simple living lessons while we were away, but the peace, the quiet and the disconnectedness was a real treat. I know camping isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time – but please tell me I’m not alone in this. Does anyone else love the simplicity of camping?