Respond to every call that excites your spirit. -Rumi
We go camping with friends every summer and it has become a tradition that we all look forward to. It is a social happening, enjoying together the nature, shared stories and different activities.
Now fast forward to early 2016. I am scrolling through my Instagram feed and there is this beautiful picture of a tree tent hanging on palm trees somewhere in the tropics.
I did not want to fly to the tropics. All of a sudden I felt a strong call to go solo winter camping somewhere away from all the daily life.
Few weeks ago on a Friday afternoon, I closed my computer at work little earlier, borrowed a Tentsile tree tent for the weekend, along with an extra sleeping bag from a co-worker and headed to the Lahemaa National Park.
First location that I found was beautiful, overlooking a small valley and a river, but for some reason it did not click for me. I continued driving in moderate snow and then walked another 30+ minutes and there it was. Everything in me said perfect. My mind and gut feelings were in sync. I found three trees perfectly aligned for the tent and 15 minutes later I had it up, overlooking the Loobu river.
I then had about an hour left until the sun goes down and darkness arrives. First I planned to start a fire to dry some of my clothes and have some light, but then felt, I want to keep it simple and embrace the approaching darkness.
It was very dark already by around 7 pm and I dived into two sleeping bags, listening to the flowing water, some birds, snow dropping from trees and even some bigger animals in the nearby area.
At one point my thoughts got little too busy, when I recalled a chat from a few days earlier with a friend who knows these forests very well, that he has seen wolves in the area. The power of thoughts 😀
Protect yourself from your own thoughts.-Rumi
Listening to all these sounds, feeling a bit cold (it was around -10C both outside and inside the tent) at times and reflecting back on the day and in some part my life, I felt a very strong gratitude for where I am in life, all the different experiences and the people around me.
I recalled some friends from the past few weeks who had really surprised me, like calling me from the other side of the earth to offer their help while on a romantic trip, or coming over and breaking down to share their pain with me to find understanding and a new perspective for next steps. This caring and vulnerability had really touched me.
Even though I was around 3 km from the closest household I did not feel alone. Surrendering to all these sounds and my thoughts, brought mystical peace and freedom.
But I’ll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything. -Alan Watts
I slept like a baby. My mind was calm. The most important things that I took with me from this new experience is that time alone is very important to experience life fully, also I need to expose myself more to new things and listen to my gut feeling. Not more, but just LISTEN! I was instantly reminded that a year ago I started a new job, and the decision was based purely on my gut feeling, because the person who invited me to this new position was very open, caring and transparent. My intuition also was at the time, that I need a change, a step out of my comfort zone. A strong need to embrace change, new challenges, expose myself to new people and situations. Learn new things, learn more about myself and grow in the process.
I have also at times ignored all the red flags that my intuition, gut, and the little voice in the back of my mind were sending, listening to my rational logical mind, that has at times caused some sort of suffering, anxiety and just being out of balance, all that if the rational thinking was not in sync with my gut feeling.
Saturday evening I was already in a very different environment, at home accompanied by a lovely friend. Barefoot lying on our backs, candles burning and music playing, just laughing and experiencing the moment.
I was still strongly influenced by the previous night, mainly listening to her and just enjoying being there. I did not label this new experience better or anything else. Just felt more alive as a result of exposing myself to different moments.
Both experiences very different, yet so beautiful and full of life, each offering a new depth to the other one, as part of this big game called life.
When was the last time you did something for the first time?
Disclaimer: I don’t recommend solo camping if you are not well aware of the area, weather and the potential threats! Make sure you are always well equipped – from enough food to right gear, when taking the road to the unknown.