Getting Away From It All

Last weekend my little family went camping.  The mini-break was a breath of fresh air, both literally and metaphorically!

Tent in forest

My husband and I have always loved to travel. We did plenty of it before we had children but we can’t afford to now. So, earlier this year, we bought a second hand tent from Gumtree, a gas burner from Aldi and a couple of cheap blow-up mattresses. We no longer have an excuse not to get away and are fortunate that there are lots of beautiful camping grounds within an hour’s drive of where we live – beaches, bush and forest.

This was our second camping adventure of the year and we went with two other families with young children. We camped in a local nature reserve next to a crystal-clear creek, where the only regular sound was bird song and the only light at night came from campfires, torches and the moon.

After two nights camping I felt recharged. Revamped. Reconnected! Ready to face the world again. I was reminded of just how sweet life can be when it is stripped back to the bare essentials.

Campfire

The main joy for me was watching my children interacting with the natural environment. They had no screens and no toys and never once did they say ‘I’m bored!’ They were busy from dawn ‘till bedtime: swimming, building cubbies, swinging from vines, making rock sculptures, bushwalking, chasing lizards and poking sticks into the campfire. They were dirty, sweaty and smoky but also happy, stimulated and content.

Do we have it all wrong regarding our modern parenting values and techniques? We want our children to have the best of everything – a nice bedroom, fun toys, musical instruments, cubby houses, Barbies, iPads, iPods, Lego, etc., but it’s never enough for them, nor is it enough for us.

I can’t tell you the last time our family completely disconnected from our screens. At the camping grounds there was no mobile service at all and it was liberating knowing we couldn’t be contacted. How refreshing it was to ‘switch off’ and tune in to the world around us.

‘I can feel myself come back down to Earth. I didn’t realise how stressed I was,’ one of the other Mums kept saying. Why were our lives so busy, we three Mums wondered, in spite of our persistent efforts not to be let them become so?

When was the last time you sat by a stream surrounded by soaring trees watching your children skimming stones and spotting fish for two whole hours?

When was the last time you cooked your dinner or made billy tea over an open fire?

When was the last time you disconnected electronically for a couple of hours, let alone a couple of days?

I never thought that 2 nights away could restore my equilibrium and return a sense of perspective to my life, but it did. Because parenthood is so demanding and so relentless, a small break in routine can be incredibly nourishing AND liberating.

Stones in river 2

What do you to ‘reconnect your family’? Please leave a comment; I would love to hear your ideas.

To follow my family’s adventures check out Feel Good Mumma on Instagram

 

 

8 thoughts on “Getting Away From It All

  1. I need to camp more! We try to reconnect in smaller moments since we don’t get weekends away. Family beach time is a huge one. No phones allowed. Hubby and I do no phone nights where we actually sit beside each other and talk -to each other!

    1. I love the idea of no phones allowed at the beach! I need to start taking our camera rather than using my phone to take pics on! Yay for no phone nights too… thanks for sharing!

  2. This article is a good reminder to live simply. When I was volunteering in Cambodia for 6 months I had no flushing toilet, no hot water, no TV, I lived off rice and had to walk down to the local village shop to access internet. I swore when I returned to Australia I wouldn’t get caught-up in the excess that makes up our everyday lives. Unfortunately I find myself reverting back to this… it takes a conscious effort to live simply but it’s an effort I work towards achieving every day. I think camping brings us back to those simple roots and away from every day distractions! Thanks for sharing Holly.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing Kylee. Wow, what an incredible experience for you! That is so brilliant that you try to live simply and without excess. Yes I agree it is very difficult to do this in modern Western society where we have access to so many creature comforts and there is so much marketing that creates desire for material possessions…

  3. I don’t actually have any children of my own – my little ‘family’ consists primarily of me and my partner, AND our extended networks of sisters, brother in laws, nieces, nephews, parents, grandparents, neighbours, friends and their kids… our bees and our worms… maybe one day some chooks and ducks and goats… To reconnect my family I too enjoy camping too. Me and my partner went camping earlier in the year and found ourselves able to relax in a way neither of us tend to do at home (we both work from home). We set up hammocks in the trees. Made meals together. Listened to the birds and made pebble sculptures a la Andy Goldsworthy. It was a beautiful and restorative experience. I too love going without ‘devices’. Both my partner and I live life without mobile phones. I don’t feel as if we’re missing out on anything. We do have internet at home but I usually connect only for a hour or two p/afternoon during the week and sometimes not at all during the weekends. I try to connect with myself through yoga, and with other people by really listening to what they’re saying, and making eye contact, and remembering to breathe. Being present with others and with self is a daily challenge. When I do manage to be present with the people I love, I gain a sense of having spent ‘quality’ time with them and having really connected. I find being with my partner in the garden really rewarding and connecting: chatting and watering, mulching and weeding, connecting not only with one another but with the non-human others in our immediate environment – the trees, bees, birds, ants, wallabies, worms, clouds, rain. Dancing to music is another great and primal way of reconnecting too!

    1. What a beautiful picture of ‘connectedness’ you paint! Thanks you so much for sharing. Sounds like some richly rewarding life choices you and your partner are making. Many blessings x

  4. I’ve just come back from 2 weeks holiday during which life was on a different pace and time. Why is it, I ask myself, that we cannot slow down at home, always finding something that needs doing or something to plan? Over eighty years ago, Bertrand Russell, the English philosopher, wrote a book called ‘In Praise of Idleness.” I know as young parents idleness is an impossibility but camping approaches it. We all need to learn to slow down and smell the roses. Thanks Holly.
    Love
    Tina

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