During our recent camping trip in New Zealand I got to thinking about the human being, our behaviour, our daily life in Western society, the things we deem as necessities, the things we seem to forget.
Freedom camping, being in nature, gives you something special. Something you cannot get from a hotel stay or even a hostel stay. You are away from the internet, no wifi, no electricity. You are not sleeping in a bed but on the ground. You walk around bare feet and feel grass and stones and mud between your toes. At night you see the stars above you instead of a ceiling. You hear the sound of the wind rustling through the leaves on the trees and you hear cicadas sing their songs instead of music from the radio, traffic and people talking. You smell plants and breathe fresh air. No car fumes, artificial scents or air-conditioning. And when you strip off to wash yourself in the river the crystal clear cold water makes you feel more alive and clean than any fancy shower can.
All of that is a gift from nature. A gift many people don’t even recognise anymore. Or don’t care for anymore. It makes you feel how a human being should feel, one with its surroundings, a part of the earth we live on.
Slaves to society?
In our society we seem so far removed from this all. We drive to work in our car, we spent the whole day inside, looking at a computer screen. We prefer to turn on the air-conditioning rather than opening a window. We shop in supermarkets where all the fruits and vegetables are perfectly shaped and packed in plastic and we forget where the meat comes from that we buy in a packet and that’s cut into perfect little bits. We use our smart phones, tablets and laptops all at the same time and sit on the couch with the television on, rather watching the screen than the evening sky. We don’t go for a walk because we prefer to use the car to get somewhere faster. Because of all the different information coming our way we forget to just be. We try to make more and more money so that we can afford the newest gadgets and fashion items. Even if we really don’t need them. We don’t take care of what we have and are not grateful for what we have. Everything becomes disposable. We collect more and more stuff in our houses that we pay for by spending our whole day working in an office. We are so far removed from nature and the earth that we are a part of. We are so caught up in what society thinks is right that we forget what is right for us.
And of course I use the internet for work and we use laptops for writing and video editing. I like to watch a movie now and again and I love driving a car to get to beautiful places in this world. I love the culture and art you can find in big cities and a warm shower can be just the thing you need. But it’s so important to not forget the earth. To be thankful for all the animals and plants that feed us, for the bees to pollinate the plants so fruit grows, for the sun and the rain.
So take a step back from it all. Or take a step ahead and get out of your comfort zone! Trust me, it’s worth it!