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“How’s the serenity?” – Darryl Kerrigan, The Castle (1997)

My words to follow will make some people extremely uncomfortable and this advice is not for everyone and that’s. I truly LOVE camping! I detest pack and unpacking, and the never-ending pile of smoke filled washing that comes home, but truly love camping. Yes, there are bugs, and sometimes we get a bit too close to some of our bitey stingy, less friendly native animals, and the facilities are often nothing more than a hole in the ground. Yes, it rains and we get wet and smell like wet dog until our next shower, it can be bloody cold sometimes or stinking freaken' hot - but the more adverse the trip, the better the memories and stories for the campfire! And all things considered these small inconveniences for compared to the energy and vitality gained from reconnecting with nature!

Firstly, I would like to take a moment and discuss what camping is to me. There is no caravan park, preferably no caravan or other people in sight. In fact, for me camping is to be as remote in the bush as I can be, as far away from other people (not in my group) as I can be, sleeping in tents, swags or other structures made of canvas and enjoying the great outdoors with all its sights and sounds – sounds cliché I know. Much of our daily lives is now spent connected to technology, phone, tablets, computers trapped in out artificial reality through social media. We are more connected to the world yet more disconnected from each other. The constant bombardment of information from media is it social or mainstream flowing in and stressing us out as we are made to feel that we are inadequate or distorting our view of the world by through bias selective reporting. Then there is the song of suburbia where we are surrounded by constant noise. Most of it we block as it becomes just part of the background. Motorbikes, cars, truck exhausts, barking dogs, lawn mowers, wiper snippers, alarms, radios, televisions all screeching to create a cacophony of noise becoming the soundtrack to our life…. But when you’re in the bush the soundtrack changes to a more calming and soothing rhythm of nature. The birds, crickets, rushing water and frogs indicate life and simple harmony rather than industrial progress. I have always been happiest when surrounded by nature, especially the Australian Bush. The smells and sounds remind me of my childhood and a simpler time (whoops more cliché’s sorry). But as an adult, I often feel the urge to be amongst nature as it helps it feed my spirit and energies me. Earlier this year, through life events, I had been cut off from my normal doses of the great outdoors and we were driving and I was staring at the trees with a yearning to be amongst them – It was almost causing physical pain. Maybe it goes back to the days of my parents telling me to play outside!

Camping and being in the bush to me is like resetting my batteries or the ultimate switching off and switching back on again. While we don’t get to camp as often as we would like we are blessed to be able to visit and stay at a property regularly and it has to be one of my favourite parts of the world! While not technically the bush as it’s a mix of untamed nature and grazing lands, and for us it is definitely not camping (well by my standards) but it is a place to help re-boot. This place truly helps hit the reset button. How? You ask. There is no mobile phone signal! Well, there is but it’s a hike up a large hill, hardly worthwhile just to check Facebook or Instagram. This means that there is no impulse to check and see what everyone else is up to. There is no internet. No phone. One television but no signal and the only electricity comes from a generator. This basic removal of technology forces you to find other forms of amusement. My kids get to experience a taste of my childhood as they are encouraged to go off and play and explore, creating their own entertainment, with a game of spotlight to round out the day’s activities. ​Then there is the campfire. It is often described as the bush TV. Everyone congregates around and has a chat, the communal meeting spot to discuss the world’s problems and solve them, as well as spinning a yarn or three. Sitting around the camp fire I have witness people of many walks of life stop, calm and get lost in their own thoughts almost in a meditative like trance, in fact during our last trip away there was a period where seven adults all starred into the campfire lost in their own little worlds – no one had to speak and that was fine. Away from suburbia, you are able to truly appreciate the universe in all of its magnitude. The stars oh my gosh the stars. Away from the constant light pollution, away from the fire, when the generator goes out on a moonless night, the stars are………indescribable. Sparkling the sky in every direction an unimaginable number of galaxies far, far away (sorry had to do that) leave you breathless in their magnitude and beauty. I know that camping is not to the liking of many people, and that’s ok, but for me, it is a chance to reset my batteries and reconnect with nature. How do you recharge yours?

Allie xxxx Allison Faulkner is a qualified and accredited Naturopath, also holding additional qualifications in Nutritional and Western Herbal Medicine. She runs a Naturopathy and Wellness clinic in Albion Park, NSW.

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