One reason camping is perfect for introverts is because it allows you to “do nothing” — which, to introverts, is something.
I honestly can’t remember going camping with my family when I was young. I had personally been very interested in heading into the local bushland (the backwoods for the non-Australians out there), backpack on. (Although, at that time, its contents was little more than an apple, my teddy bear, a magnifying glass, and a children’s book on wild animals.)
It was not until well into my 20s that, thanks to the generosity of several camping-equipped friends, I was able to indulge in my long held dream of camping.
And I can tell you now, it’s wonderful. It is a sanctuary and an individual activity every introvert should at least try. I know there are many psychological obstacles to making the leap for many. What about bugs? Wild animals? What equipment do I need? Will it be cold? What about… er… um… toilets?
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Put your fears aside, fellow introverts. All you need is a tent, something to sleep on (an inflatable mattress and sleeping bag), and a foldable chair for you to spend many hours pondering life as you look up at the stars and take in the fresh air.
If you can overcome the inertia of heading off on your first camping trip, you will absolutely find a whole new world open up to you. Here are five great reasons why you will love camping as an introvert.
5 Reasons Why Camping Is the Perfect Introvert Escape
1. It allows you to be alone — really alone.
One of the great things about camping is you can do it solo. And given you will often be heading out into a secluded spot to pitch your tent, you can use it as a perfect opportunity to be alone. Really alone. It gives you a different kind of solitude to what you might normally get by locking yourself in your home alone on a weekend.
You won’t get the unexpected pop knock at the door. You won’t get the background sound of cars and noisy pedestrians going past your house. At night, the darkness is that much darker — thanks to the absence of any street lights and artificial indoor lighting casting its illuminating glow around. The stars shine much brighter in the country sky and you really begin to understand how small you are in this big world. Nature is an elixir for introverts, and camping is proof.
And the feeling of aloneness is amazing. In fact, it can be so different and so much stronger than what you are used to, the first time you go camping, it may actually feel a little unsettling. Let the feeling sit with you, however. Once the initial uncertainty subsides, you’ll soon be enjoying a sense of peace and solitude that you rarely experience. For an introvert, this can be truly recharging and immensely important to your well-being. Over the years, I have found this to be such a positive experience, it is almost addictive.
2. It reinforces how little you actually need — you need very few possessions to camp.
Despite my attempts to live as minimally as I can, when I stop and take stock of my many possessions, I am shocked at how much “stuff” I have. As a society, we tend to accumulate and tell ourselves we “need” this or that. If you’ve ever moved to a new home, you’ll know one of the things this does is forces you to review each and every possession you have, question its value and purpose, and decide if it is worth retaining or discarding.
This is also something you’ll encounter when packing for camping for the first time. It’s not quite as romantic as you might be led to believe by watching a Western movie, where a lone rider will settle in for the night, out on the open prairie with little more than a bed roll and an open campfire. You’ll need a little more than that, but you’ll also soon realize how little you actually need.
Your air conditioner, couch, electrical appliances, multitude of clothes, potted plants, shelves of books… they’re all staying home. You can obviously only take what you can pack in your car. And if you’re planning on hiking, too, it will only be what you can carry on your back. Although daunting, the beauty of this is, it forces you to be as minimalistic as you possibly can.
Despite having a whole kitchen full of different types of knives, appliances, kitchen tools, pots, plates, and obscure kitchen utensils, when I go camping, my cooking items can be reduced down to a small box. One knife, one fork, one small place, two pots, a few tea towels, and a cup.
Once my tent is set up, it usually contains my sleeping items, just a few spare clothes, torch, trusty notebook, and little else. And, despite my sparse possessions, I am content and at peace. And that is one thing I really love and reflect on every time I come back from camping — how few possessions we actually need in this life.
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3. It allows you to truly disconnect — from technology, as well as from others.
One thing I always take with me when going camping is a notebook. The notebook keeps me organized for going camping — what I need to pack; my (tentative) schedule; overall things to remember). But also, once I’m out in nature and have my tent all set up at the campsite, I grab my notebook and start writing. I do it multiple different times throughout my trip. It’s not scheduled or planned writing — it is jotting down sudden inspiration, thoughts, ideas, and insights. And camping is one of the few places where I get this, because when I’m camping, I am disconnected from my usual hectic world and the world as a whole.
This disconnection cannot be mimicked in an artificial way. When you’re camping, your phone reception is sketchy at best and often nonexistent (don’t worry, lots of specific camping sites have lots of safety protocols and options for you to get help if you need it). There is no mindless scrolling of social media or YouTube. There are no unexpected phone calls.
The further you get into the words, the more you’ll lose the sounds of civilization. There are fewer (or no) voices, sirens, engines… or loudness. You are able to disconnect from a regular loud and busy life.
Speaking of which — as an introvert, camping also forces you to disconnect from your sanctuary at home (or wherever it may be). And this, too, can be a good thing. You’ll still be alone, you’ll still find your peace, but you will be in a new and different environment. Although we introverts don’t generally embrace change, this can be healthy and important. It allows you to find new thoughts, inspiration, and perspective. So try stepping away from the comforts of the familiar and find a new side of yourself with the unfamiliar — through camping.
4. It teaches you to improvise and think of solutions to unexpected issues that may arise.
The purpose of this article is to encourage fellow introverts to take a step into the wild and give camping a try. Despite my intentions, I don’t want to lie to you: When you go camping, things will go wrong. Maybe you’ve driven four hours to your destination and when you start unpacking the car, you realize you forgot your bed roll… or gas burner… or water container. Or maybe your weather forecasting skills weren’t as honed as the meteorologist’s — and the weather has taken a turn for the worse. What do you do now? Or the camping site you were planning on setting up at is suddenly closed for maintenance… which you only learn once you arrive.
As former Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once said, “Trouble creates a capacity to handle it.” And so it is with camping. You’ll be largely on your own, you’ll have limited resources at your disposal, and you’ll need to ensure you have the big-ticket items under control: food, shelter, and water.
But when I look back on my camping experiences, despite the challenges that come up, I am proud of my ingenuity and ability to improvise. We introverts are known for our deep-thinking skills, after all! So I make do, learn to be resourceful, and return to my everyday life with a greater sense of self-confidence and reliance.
5. It allows you to “do nothing” — which, to introverts, is something.
My final point on why camping is great for introverts is my personal favorite reason for getting out into nature’s world. Once you arrive at your camp spot, scout it all out, set up the tent and your chair, and prepare some food for yourself, then what do you do? You experience the true joy of camping… you do nothing.
Camping is not like a weekend. When you return to work after a regular weekend and your joyous coworkers ask, “What did you do over the weekend?” it’s not easy for us introverts to say, “Well, nothing.” But when you go camping, no one asks, “What did you do when you went camping?” This is because going camping, and doing nothing, is doing something — and it makes introverts happy.
Honestly, most of my time camping involves me sitting in a chair looking around at nature, reflecting on life, and writing things in my notebook. And it’s not much more than that. And that’s okay when you’re camping, because you can only hike, cook, and tend to the fire for so long before you’ll run out of things to do. It’s definitely a way to deepen your introvert quiet time even more than usual, but in a different setting.
Plus, you’ll probably go to sleep not long after the sun goes down. That way, you can get up with the sunrise (or you can linger in your tent to your heart’s content). No household cleaning, no managing your finances, no social calendar, no internet. Welcome to true peace and freedom in life — an introvert’s dream.
My introverts who camp, what do you get out of it? What would you add to the list? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
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