There are many different degrees of ecotourism one can practice. At one end of the spectrum, there are people that stay in a fancy hotel and pay for expensive, organized day trips out to national parks or other areas of extreme natural beauty. This is a perfectly acceptable form of ecotourism to practice; after all, it’s your vacation – do with it what you will. At the other end, however, are people who want to completely immerse themselves in nature, minimizing contact with the outside world. This particle article, on why one should practice camping, is meant to push you towards being one of the people in the latter category.
Now, much like the national parks article from a few weeks ago, I realize that there’s already quite a number of articles floating around the web about why you should go camping. Since many of these articles cover basically the same topics, I’ll do my best to try and talk about new and previously undiscussed reasons why you should camp. We’ll start by taking a look at whether or not it saves you money…
You can still read the financial times while camping! Flickr: EG Focus
One of the most touted reasons one should try to camp during their next vacation is that it can save you lots of money, mostly because you aren’t paying for expensive meals or hotel rooms. However, this fails to capture the whole picture, as it often makes camping look like a no cost activity. Between paying for camping fees, transportation to your camp site, camping supplies, and a stock of food and drinking water, there’s a lot of costs to consider with camping. If you only plan on going for one night, then it may not be much more cost effective to camp than to stay at a budget hotel.
That said, camping can definitely be a cheaper option if you’re willing to camp for multiple nights, or on multiple occasions over the course of one trip. If you’ve already purchased all your camping supplies, you typically only need a cheap permit and some food to go camping.
Whether or not you save a ton of money by camping, it’s still a helpful activity to engage in due to the buying power of your tourism dollars. As we discussed in the national parks articles, where you spend your money, especially as a tourist, matters. It indicates to governments and businesses what activities have a demand for them, and how great that demand is, and they can adjust their behavior accordingly. Thus, even if you aren’t saving much money by camping, simply spending money on camping goods and camping permits can be a great help to the area’s ecotourism efforts, as it adds to the overall demand for ecotourist activities in that community.
Canyonlands National Park Utah Flickr: Rob Lee
Improving Your Wellbeing
If you’re an advocate for ecotourism, chances are you probably believe that being outdoors, surrounded by nature, does wonders for your wellbeing. Thus, it stands to reason that camping, an activity which involves immense amounts of time outdoors, does a fantastic job of making you feel whole and complete.
There are a number of reasons that camping can help you to recharge you mind and body. Some of them are rather vague, though still important, such as being surrounded by natural noises and breathing in the fresh air. Others, however, are scientifically backed. For example, most people who have camped can probably relate to the experience of waking up quite early at a campsite, much earlier than you might have on a day off back at home. It’s easy to blame your early rise on causes like sleeping on the ground or in a foreign environment, but there’s other factors at play here – namely, the light. By being outside for both sunset and sunrise, as well as being away from artificial light and backlit electronic devices, your body begins to reset it’s circadian rhythm. While it might take a few days for it to get all the way back to a natural state, leaving you feeling a bit groggy the first morning, this process is healthy and aids both your mind and body.
Unless you’re camping with a large group of people, the experience of isolation is one of the most challenging and enjoyable aspects of camping. There’s just something about being out in the wilderness, with only one or two other people, and knowing that you have to take full responsibility for your actions out here. Some people cannot handle this sense of separation from civilization, but for others, it’s exhilarating. It’s an adventure in the purest sense of the word, and while there’s typically no immediate dangers while camping, there’s also no guaranteeing what you’ll see out there. Throwing yourself at the mercy of the wild, removing yourself from your comfort zone and your technology, from even the basic amenities of shelter and water, is truly one of the most satisfying experiences a person can have, and the fact that it’s ecominded just makes it all the better.