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Get Back to Nature

The above is a picture I took today. It’s the view from my tent. When I go camping, I try to get as close to water as I can, unless I’m out in the desert.

I’m a city dweller and technology lover and always will be. Yet to be a well-rounded person, it’s really important, at least in my opinion, to get back to nature on at least a semi-regular basis. As much time as I spend in big cities around computers and other high tech gadgets, I always make sure to go camping and/or hiking several times a year.

You should too. Now before you say it, I realize many of you live in places where the climate or terrain isn’t conducive to camping, hiking, or both. Doesn’t matter. You can make it work. In the Pacific Northwest where I live, it’s rainy, cloudy, and crappy for at least eight months out of the year. That means remaining four months have nice weather, primarily in the summer.

So every December when I make plans for the following year, I make a list of all the cool areas within easy driving distance I want to camp or hike, and nail down dates for the summer. Some campgrounds can’t be reserved until March, so I notate in my schedule to call these places on March 1st, so I can snag the best campgrounds if necessary.

Because it’s so nice where I live during the summer, and so crappy the rest of the year, I make sure to do all my travelling outside of the summer months. During the summer I don’t travel at all, unless I have to (like this year when I’m attending a conference and doing some of my own seminars in Washington DC).

We have a lot of forested areas and lakes where I live, but I’ve still camped or hiked in the mountains and the desert. It’s all good. It recharges your batteries and clears the cobwebs. As I’ve talked about before, you’ll be happier and more productive once you get back home to resume work. Here are ’s some pictures I’ve taken of places I’ve camped or hiked just in the last 12 months:

I hate to sound airy-fairy about this, but we are part of nature. You are nature. I’m as pro-technology as they come, but spending damn near 100% of your time in man-made buildings staring at man-made things is not healthy. You need to get out to the mountains, forests, lakes, rivers, and deserts. There’s a feeling I get staring out into a vast mountain range or placid lake that which I can’t replicate doing anything else.

That doesn’t mean you can’t bring your phone or even your laptop with you. I often do. Often I’ll find a really cool spot with a fantastic view, set up a portable canopy and portable table, slap the laptop down, and put in a little work. It’s nice to get your work done while hearing the water and the birds, with no other sounds of human beings around you.

That’s another thing! In my opinion, you should also get away from other humans. Bring one or two people with you camping if you want, but do it as far away from other people as you can. I don’t think you can get the full effect of nature if you’re around large groups of people in a crowded campground. I’m not saying I don’t do that also, but my goal when I get out to nature is to get back to a state of peace. You can’t do that when you’re hearing pickup trucks or moms yelling at their kids in the background.

Many of you already get outdoors on a regular basis, and that’s great. If you don’t, I strongly recommend you do. You’ll thank yourself.

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  1. Greg

    This seems like emotional advice. What is the point of this?

    “to be a well-rounded person, it’s really important, at least in my opinion, to get back to nature on at least a semi-regular basis. ”

    Does it also make one more human? 🙂

    “There’s a feeling I get staring out into a vast mountain range or placid lake that which I can’t replicate doing anything else.”

    Well good for you, but there’s no need to rationalize doing this actually makes you a better person unless you can back it up with something of substance.

  2. Caleb Jones

    This seems like emotional advice.

    It is. This is one of the very rare times you’ll see me give (somewhat) emotional advice.

    I’m sure I could possibly dig up some rational or scientific facts to back up what I’m saying, but I don’t care to. I’m just stating an emotional opinion, based on my observation that when people (including me and others) regularly spend time in nature, they tend to be more happy, or at least more relaxed. I could be wrong.

  3. CrabRangoon

    I couldn’t agree more. In an age of increasing tech, we all need to reconnect with nature from time to time. I always feel recharged after a trip out in the wild. I’m out in Chicago so like you, we have shit weather at least 1/2 the year so I take full advantage of summers.

  4. CrabRangoon

    DO you have any suggestions for good day hiking near DC? I’ll be out there in August visiting and want to get outdoors a bit.

  5. Caleb Jones

    DO you have any suggestions for good day hiking near DC?

    Nope. I’ve never even been there. July will be my first time.

  6. Yonatan

    Great post , Caleb..  I grew up in Oregon and really miss the beauty of the wilderness there.  Four years I Lived alone on the Oregon Coast in Cape Perpetua and sometimes I really miss the solitude and natural beauty I had all around me.   I have also climbed Mount McLoughlin and South Sister in Oregon.  Never did Mount Hood, but really would be eager to climb Mount Hood, Baker, Jefferson and Mt Rainier.  Or, at least just hike up these peaks as much as I can.   There really isn’t anything that rivals the beauty of the Pacific Northwest in the USA, except Alaska.  MOntana would be the only close contender.   It breaks my heart but I will have to leave the Pacific Northwest because I lost my business and cannot afford to live here anymore with the ever-increasing and insane cost of living.


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