This past year has been challenging for everyone. We’ve been stuck inside with our families and unable to socialize with our friends or loved ones in person. A lot of us had to figure out how to do our jobs remotely, and a lot of times, we didn’t have the time to transition gradually. We went from our normal lives to isolation overnight, and it wasn’t easy.
Since I’ve been stuck inside for over a year, I have been surrounded by screens. My computer, television, phone, and Kindle are all screens that I use daily. Because I’ve been at home, the boundaries blurred, and people assume that if I’m not working, I’m free. It’s exhausting, and I’ve been feeling my anxiety slowly building over the past few months.
I needed a hard reset. I needed to get away from all of the screens and people and remember what it’s like to be present—kind of like a meditation retreat. A few of us like to go camping every summer to get away and clear our minds. Warning: this post is mostly to help me remember my trip!
My family used to have a camper when I was growing up. We would go camping a few times a year and enjoy the time outside and away from our technology. One of the places we would camp at was Allegany State Park in New York. The best part of this campground is that there is no cell phone service, running water, or electricity except for in specific locations.
After high school, Jeremy and his friends were pitching tents and sleeping in his backyard. I suggested going to an actual campground and had to convince them they would love it. The first time we went was back in 2013 (I think), and we have gone at least once a year since then, except for last year during COVID. Something about being outside with nothing to do but playing with fire, talking to each other, and enjoying the fresh air is really refreshing.
Benefits to Camping
Aside from it being fun, camping has health benefits too. Being outside and away from technology increases activity and helps you to get in shape. You get to reconnect with nature and the people you are with, and you have fewer distractions to do so. When you camp, you get up with the sun (the tent gets super hot if you don’t wake up normally), and it forces you to reset your internal clock and get a better night’s sleep.
All of this, and the main reason we all go camping every year, is our mental health. Our brains are constantly in motion. Thinking about work, what’s for dinner, what chores we have to do, what appointments we have. All of these little things add up and bog down my brain. When you go camping, you have nothing to do except cooking over the fire, going for hikes, playing in the creek, and spending time with one another. It forces you to slow down and be present.
This Year’s Recap
I want to write a few things down for myself, so I remember different things that we did. One of Jeremy’s friends, Robert, flew up from Florida on Wednesday. Jeremy picked him up at the Cleveland airport and brought him back here for a couple of days. Friday is when the real fun started.
We left Friday morning and stopped in Edinboro on our way. We stopped and said hello to Jeremy’s dad and met up with another friend, Seth, at Walmart, where we picked up a few last-minute things. We stopped again in Erie on our way out so we could eat. We got to the campsite just before seven and were set up in under a half hour. You could say we know what we are doing now.
Typically, we go hiking and climb at Thunder Rocks. However, this year we opted for a much more relaxing trip and stayed at the site almost the whole time. We had a fire going the entire time and cooked nonstop. Seth is a chef, and he cooked a lot of delicious meals over the campfire. We had salmon, gumbo, steak, and yellow snapper. It was all fantastic! Of course, we also had s’mores, hot dogs, and toasted sandwiches over the fire too. I don’t even want to think about how much weight I gained.
All in all, I think it was a successful trip. I feel like my brain is clearer and calmer than it was a few days ago. I look forward to going back to Allegany sometime soon, and I hope to look for more places to camp in Ohio.
If you’re interested in going camping, I highly recommend doing it at least once in your life! You can book campsites at Allegany State Park or any local campgrounds. You can also go camping in a cabin, camper, or a tent. There’s a variety of different options out there! The calmness that it gives me is what makes me love it so much. Until later, happy learning!