Professionally and personally, it's been a chaotic past several months. Things have been really rough at times, and at other times awesome - but mostly I would call life, at this moment, tumultuous. I will guess that you've been in this irritating conundrum as well – when you know you need to make important decisions, but your chaotic circumstances prevent you from thinking clearly about those decisions.
To try to clear my head, I did something a few days ago that I've never done before. I went camping. Okay, I've been camping before – many times in fact – but this was different for a couple of key reasons. First, I've never been camping alone. I flew solo on this outing.
Second, this was the first time I'd been camping in more than a decade. Over the course of that decade, life has grown faster and more complex – for all of us. A decade ago I did not have my laptop, my smartphone, Facebook, Twitter, or this blog. A decade ago my career path seemed more focused and less reliant on networking and luck. A decade ago, opportunities seemed to approach me in a calm and orderly fashion; today, they seem more plentiful, but more rapid-fire as well. Back then, things were very different for me on a personal level too. Very different. So, getting away from it all a few days ago had a dramatically different impact on me compared to the last time I went camping. There was so much more to unplug from this time.
I'm not a big outdoors kinda guy. I'm physically fit, so hiking, climbing, swimming, etc. are all fine - but if I so much as even look at poison ivy, I catch the rash and it destroys my life. I'm not too fond of snakes or various other critters one might stumble upon in the woods either. (I want no harm to come to these animals – I just don't like the idea of frightening one into biting or urinating on me.) I don't hunt or fish. I can't start a fire without matches or a lighter. So what do I get out of camping? I enjoyed – actually, desperately needed – the relative isolation and quiet. More importantly, when you camp, everything slows down. Modern conveniences of your kitchen or a QuickTrip are gone and suddenly it takes an hour to make a sandwich. That's why I went – and it was just what I needed.
I did not bring my laptop with me. I brought my phone, which I could re-charge with my car, but when the phone's battery started to fade, I just let it die. It was kinda cold out, but I made a great fire, and that warmed me up. I quietly drank an adult beverage while the fire burned down enough to cook my meal over it. By that time, the sun was long gone. The full moon in the clear sky lit up my surroundings. I was camped right on the bank of a river, and I could see the mist rising up from the water into the chilly night air. It was a beautiful, relaxing night.
This excursion was not something that I'd planned ahead for. It just sorta fell into place at the last minute. I'm not going to move out of the city and live off the land for the rest of my life, experimenting with which kind of tree bark tastes best in a soup - but the trip really cleared my head and did me a lot of good. Maybe I will plan ahead for more solo camping in the near future.
Thanks for reading.