We loaded up our Nissan Versa Saturday morning and headed North to Payson, Arizona to beat the heat.
We love summer camping. It provides a reprieve from the scorching sun and allows all four of us to relax.
There was not a fire ban (yet), so we actually got to roast marshmallows and make s’mores!!!
We hiked down to the bottom of the Tonto Natural Bridge, played in a creek, and just relaxed.
It was our best camping trip yet.
An older couple camping next to us could not believe we fit ourselves and our stuff in our tiny car.
They were two people with an SUV and said they felt crowded.
This disbelief got me thinking about the relationship between camping and minimalism.
It might sound obvious that camping encourages minimalism.
You are sleeping outside in a mostly-reliable fabric structure without electricity and plumbing.
You have only what you brought.
Isn’t this a perfect picture of minimalism??
At first, camping and minimalism seem synonymous. But as you walk through many campgrounds you will find some of the same excess that exists within city limits.
Excess gear, excess media, excess food, excess sitting. The only difference is it all happens (mostly) outdoors.
This is not a judgment, as we are guilty of many of these excesses while camping.
It is, however, a reminder that minimalism is not simply an activity but rather a state of mind and attitude.
When I return from camping, my attitude can go one of two ways:
1. “I am so glad to have these comforts back. I could hardly live without them.”
2. “I lived abundantly without all these things for two days, maybe I don’t actually need them.”
The first attitude focuses on what I was “missing.” This attitude leads to complacency with my stuff and usually no change.
The second attitude focuses on gratitude. It recognizes all the joy that happened without convenience and stuff.
The second attitude brings fresh eyes to the home and changes how I view my things.
When we returned yesterday from our camping trip I was full of gratitude and this second attitude.
Everything looked different to me.
Since Monday is always our cleaning day, I look forward to tackling our space with these fresh eyes.
So even though camping itself is a great form of minimalism, I believe the attitude you bring home dictates how it permeates the rest of your life.
(This post also appeared on No Sidebar)