Camping means no phone.
It means no bed, no TV and, probably, no shower.
At first pass, camping doesn’t seem comfortable or fun. So why bother packing up and heading to a nearby campground or lake or even farther? Well, you just might come back home with a few beautiful life lessons in addition to those stunning photos you can share when you have service again. A few National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) graduates shared their camping experiences and collected a list of life lessons. Let us know what you learn from getting outside, whether it's the back country or your backyard.
1. Deep Friendships
“We spent hours under our tarps listening to the sound of rain while conversing and laughing and being silly. When you can exchange a glance with someone and burst out laughing, you know you've made a deep connection.” -- Samantha Damsky
“In the frontcountry [the world of cities, cars, and cell phones], people often have the choice to ‘opt-out’ of situations that aren’t going as planned. I’ve walked away from plenty of opportunities and relationships when I did not see them going my way. It was a choice that was always there, an escape that let me submit to my fear of failure rather than confront it.
"I found that there were many times [while camping] I wished I could just quit and try something else. Fortunately, I had the support of my coursemates and instructors, and together we were able to endure every obstacle.” Bridget Petersen
3. A New View of the World
"The thought of going somewhere I had never been was fascinating. Climbing my first Adirondack high peak was stunning in a way I can't describe. The feeling I experienced looking over the green, lush landscape, Lake Champlain, and into Vermont was amazing! One morning, we awoke at 3 a.m. to climb Noonmark Mountain and watch the sunrise. The experience and view were breathtaking. Summiting each peak was beautiful in its own unique way." - Nicholas Nerli
“I certainly had no idea that this trip was only the beginning of an ongoing relationship I would have with wilderness places. Six months later, I found myself climbing in Patagonia to prepare for Expedition Denali, a NOLS initiative to inspire diversity in the outdoors by organizing the first African American team to climb the tallest peak in North America. But even if all of the opportunities that followed never happened, I still would have walked away from my trip with an awesome photo album, a profound introduction to the outdoors, and most importantly a stronger sense of self.” - Erica Wynn