Summer is in full swing: hot temperatures, afternoon and evening thunderstorms, beautiful sunrises and sunsets—and camping.
While it has been a record year for campgrounds and RV parks, I am convinced the world needs more campers.
Stay with me, as this comment is not about occupancy rates or empty sites, it’s about campers. The campers you see in a state, provincial, or national park campground or privately owned RV park with a fifth wheel, pop up trailer, truck camper, motorhome, or even a tent. The people who pack for the week or weekend, leave the hustle and bustle of city life behind, and enjoy their parks and being with other campers.
Maybe it’s these dog days of summer or the fact the nightly news seems to be filled with controversy, hostility, and real problems but I’m thinking the world needs to go camping.
And here is why: Camping brings out the best in people.
When walking through a campground or RV park, no one knows who you are—you’re just another camper on a morning or evening stroll. You’ll be greeted with a “good morning”, a “good evening”, or a “howdy” many times on your walk.
This greeting is much different than in the hectic hustle and bustle of city life as people go through their daily activities as if on a ever-moving treadmill. A polite exchange of greetings and nothing further.
When camping, it’s followed by more. “Where are you from,” and discussions about the weather and the beauty of the area.
This is the norm in a campground or RV park—casual introductions turn into conversations and even lasting friendships. If you are a camper you know what I am talking about.
A camper need not worry if they forgot to pack something, as another camper will always step up with whatever was left back home.
Need a hand? You don’t even have to ask, as campers are, by their very nature, always willing to lend a hand. If you’ve camped you’ve experienced this and if you haven’t camped, you don’t know what you’re missing.
The type of camper doesn’t matter, whether it’s a fifth wheel trailer with four slide outs or a camping van, a diesel pusher with a car in tow, or a two person tent, campers are not defined by the units they camp in—campers are people. People who care and who enjoy the outdoors, fellowship, and other people.
Campers have an uncanny ability to see the good in people, to want to help those in need. It may be that campgrounds are seen as places of sanctuary from a world often filled with controversy, misunderstanding, and real problems.
Or, maybe it’s the parks, those places we can escape from the pressures and reality of a fast paced world. Parks that protect us with their tall trees, mountains, creeks, rivers, and lakes.
Maybe it’s a campfire and the darkness that seem to soothe the soul with time for reflection and conversation. A conversation around a campfire leads to laughter and smiles and often ends with a satisfying “good night, see you in the morning.”
Tip: avoid conversations about politics in an election year!
Maybe we all need these special places to escape to every now and then just to get away, recharge our batteries, and reconnect with nature and each other. Parks really do become a sanctuary and allow us to escape from the day to day rat race, allow us to put our guard down, relax, and enjoy life.
It doesn’t hurt when you fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves or the chorus of crickets and tree frogs and wake to the rising sun peeking through the tall pines or silhouetting stately saguaros or Joshua trees.
Could it be distinctive smells of a campground, lingering smoke that can only come from a campfire, the smell of coffee brewing and bacon sizzling? Could it be these things influence our behavior and enable us to relax and revive those characteristics of kindness, friendliness, and a sense of community?
Or maybe, just maybe it’s the people who camp.
Yes indeed, the world needs more campers, let’s go camping!
See you in the parks!
Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.