Once a year, I’ll gorge until my pants don’t fit, watch football for 10 consecutive hours and eventually fall asleep in an unflattering position on the couch. This has become my Thanksgiving. In reality, it’s a day that was originally entirely devoted to gratitude.  In that spirit, I’d like to mention a few things about camping and the outdoors that we can reflect on and feel grateful for this Thanksgiving season. Here are 4 ways camping makes you more thankful:

  1. We get the opportunity to be in nature – This is really what camping is all about, isn’t it? Nothing is as humbling as the raw beauty of the natural world. Whether it’s the moon over a lake, a snow-capped mountain or a sun-baked beach, nature has the ability to make our problems feel insignificant and allows us to step away from our egotistical lives. Getting out in nature (even for a short time) is incredibly cathartic, and will improve every other aspect of life.
  2. Camping can be a portal into the past – If we’re tent camping (this is certainly not the only way to camp – glamping, we can hearken back to the days of our ancestors. We can step away from modern technology (even if only for a few hours) and live as our forebears did. Instead of being bombarded by ads, with the glowing screens of four different devices fighting for our focus, we sit around a crackling fire like our ancestors. Our attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter as we are constantly besieged by technological diversion. While technology is certainly useful (I wouldn’t give it up!), it is good to get away every once and awhile and appreciate tangible and natural reality.
  3. We get to spend time with friends and family in a different setting – This is often the main aspect of Thanksgiving we feel thankful for. Camping is no different. Almost all my favorite memories growing up are of camping with friends and family (even if that involved a cabin). We had large family reunions on Lake Superior in Minnesota, and I will never forget eating way too much walleye, skipping rocks into the sunset and seeing moose in the wild with my grandfather. While we were always close, times like those really fortified the bond between us (and made for great Thanksgiving dinner conversations years later).
  4. Camping allows you to learn about yourself – One of the fascinating things about camping is that no two trips are the same. One time, the weather is perfect. The next, it’s a constant downpour. There are no bugs one day, and the next you’d swear it’s a plague. Camping really shows us how we behave and react to good, bad and unpredictable situations. As the quote says, “Circumstances don’t make a person, they reveal them.” Camping forces you out of your day-to-day situation. It makes you adapt to a variety of situations and therefore improves your life in a myriad of ways.

These are just a few things that camping has done for me. Obviously there are many more, so feel free to leave your comments and/or stories below. Hopefully you have a fantastic Thanksgiving and get the opportunity to reflect on what you’re grateful for this holiday season!

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