Why do I enjoy spending time in solitude in nature, and should you try it as well? We’ll talk about the healing power of nature, using a tent for extra space while car/van camping, and a toilet paper shortage in this episode!
“What about car or van dwelling and using a large tent to live out of so giving one a little more elbow room? My main idea was to set up the inside of a van with all removable components. For stealth camping just live out of the van but in a boondocking situation set up a tent and take your removable components inside the van and move then inside the tent. Does this approach have any merit? Some Pros and Cons? I would truly want to to hear what you would have to say.”Richard Teague
That is a viable option for some people and can work well. I did this when I started out with a Camry and also have a friend who did this with his van. As an aside, I have also been seeing more people using tents over the past couple of years, even in the desert where the ground is often rocky and the winds can be brutal.
- More space in the car/van while camping
- May be able to get by with a smaller vehicle
- May be more comfortable, particularly if you plan to spend a lot of time outside
- Depending on value of tent and contents, or whether you camp with friends, you can leave tent set up to “hold” campsite while away
- Provides a possible sleeping option if vehicle is in the shop for repairs
- Some campsites are “tent only” or require using a tent instead of sleeping in a vehicle
- Tent takes up space in the vehicle
- Time to setup and break down at camp – not significant
- Rain before breaking camp – tent is wet
- Possible concerns about theft/vandalism if left unattended
- Balance – make sure you still have enough room in the vehicle that it is usable if you cannot set up camp
“Very pleasing. Your’e like me, I like places where nobody’s around. Can you discuss in detail why you like such solitude, including why you admire looking at simple things in nature with such satisfaction, and how others could benefit from this inherent trait?”John Spoden
I am actually planning a short video series on the healing power of nature and solitude. We will dive into this a lot deeper in that series of videos.
I have always loved spending time alone – or sometimes with a few select friends – in nature doing things like hiking, camping, and exploring.
I am not anti-society, but spending too much time in built environments – and not enough time in nature – tends to skew our worldview, increase our stress levels, and leave us feeling disconnected.
There has been a lot of scientific research in recent years about the effects of nature on the human body and brain. Spending time in nature literally changes the way our brains function. Stress levels decrease while spending time in nature and solitude, blood pressure decreases, creativity increases, and we have the opportunity to recalibrate our circadian rhythm.
We are surrounded with things that trigger dopamine – a natural hormone/neurotransmitter that makes us feel good and tends to motivate us toward actions that will trigger dopamine – social media, video games, television, YouTube… Even hanging out with friends can trigger dopamine, as can overeating unhealthy (comfort) foods.
Dopamine is addictive – which is why we become addicted to social media, etc. – and why we can lose hours on YouTube.
Dopamine is still a good thing – it helps motivate us to do certain things – but overloads of dopamine from easy tasks that are not really very helpful is a problem. This tends to discourage us from actually working on hard tasks – like creating something – writing a book, spending hours making the perfect photograph, creating an impactful video that will inspire or inform people, painting, or learning to play music.
There is nothing wrong with spending time with friends, intentionally using social media, etc. – but it is still healthy to reset that dopamine stimulus from time to time. A dopamine detox – intentionally unplug from the easy tasks that are significant dopamine triggers like social media – can help.
Spending time in nature in solitude is the perfect antidote to dopamine overload, in my experience.
I have always loved spending quiet time in nature, observing the natural world, unplugging from the built world temporarily, and reconnecting with the natural world. Spending solitary time in nature allows me to lower my stress level, be more creative and focused, and to be more productive.
It also provides opportunities to watch a hawk fly overhead, to walk among wild horses, to see a desert tortoise crawling along a wash, and to sit outside and watch the sun set – all things that require patience to experience the eventual reward, but that are good for us in every way.
Even if you do not spend as much time alone in the wilderness as I do, you can still do this in smaller blocks of time and experience real benefits.
- Take a weekend or a week and go camping
- Take a walk in a quiet forest, meadow, or along a beach and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the natural world
Do you enjoy spending time alone in nature?
How long does it take you to reset once you unplug and start reconnecting with the natural world?
Stores Running Out of Paper Goods
Stores in some areas are running out of paper towels, toilet paper, and other items as people are stocking up amid fears of the Coronavirus spreading.
My friend, Gina, mentioned that this was happening in Las Vegas last week. I later went to Walmart in Pahrump and found the paper towels and TP aisle about 3/4 empty. Honestly, I never considered paper towels and TP to be panic-induced survival items, but apparently so.
Now there is a story on USA Today about an Australian family that accidentally bought a 12-year supply of toilet paper… The story notes that Australia is currently facing a TP shortage – and some Americans are as well – due to panic-driven purchases related to Coronavirus.
Personally I think that is getting a bit ahead of a storm that may or may not be nationally disruptive. I would be more concerned with stocking up on non-perishable food and heating/cooking fuel that will still be used in any case – and I can live without paper towels for a few days.
It does bring up a valuable point for nomads who have limited storage space in rigs. It’s not a bad idea to carry some extra food, water, paper towels, TP, heating/cooking fuel at all times throughout the year. Right now it is hard to find TP and paper towels in some locations. During winter months in the southwest desert it is sometimes be difficult to find butane for cooking – and sometimes even one-pound bottles of propane.
Meanwhile, the best advice I have heard it so wash your hands, use alcohol hand sanitizer, and avoid crowds if possible – or just go hang out alone in the desert where there is nobody around to infect you like I do.