Sleeping in the outdoors is not easy. In fact, sometimes, it downright sucks. But every single time I sleep in the outdoors, it changes me. Sometimes in small ways, sometimes in huge ways. And when you do it with a new-forged relationship like I did on my recent Nebraska trip (view post here), it strengthens that bond and creates a lifelong relationship. I think it’s important to mention that Caleb and I had only spent 2-3 days with each other prior to this. It was a HUGE gamble to jump in a truck and be that up close and personal with someone for 5 days. And I am surely glad it happened. Hunting is really about the relationships, the connection with the outdoors, and building friendships more than anything else. And that is exactly what Caleb and I created.
Stripping down the hectic daily regimen of your everyday work life to a tent, sleeping bag, simple fire-cooked food, and sitting in the outdoors with good friends changes your mind on a chemical level. Being outdoors benefits me in so many ways and can do the same for you:
- Relieve stress- being outdoors helps relieve stress for me because everything just slows down. I break free from the constant sensual bombardment of the big city and shed all the negative stress associated with traffic, emails, phone calls, meetings, etc. etc. etc. – the Rat Race.
- Increase vitamin D- if you’re outdoors, you’re in the sun. If you’re in the sun, you’re uptaking Vitamin D (wear sunscreen!!).
- Help balance your diet with real foods- if you’re camping outside and cooking over fire, you’re probably cooking meats and veggies, the good stuff! I generally eat fairly clean, but this trip was unreal. My friend Richard Bradford sent me with some meals from his company True Food that is whole 30 approved and ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS.
- Keep your mind sharp- solving new problems fires you’re brain up in problem-solving areas which strengthens that for non outdoor related activities. Camping can help you solve your biggest business issue. I always have some type of new way to look at an issue when I’m in the midst of chores.
- Burn calories- attempting to sleep in the freezing-ass cold, setting up and breaking down tents, rolling sleeping bags, chopping wood, hiking with packs, cooking your own food, etc. All of these burn calories and will increase your metabolism.
- Reset your sleep cycle- with all these chores, you are not staring at the TV or your phone, which can throw off your circadian rhythym. Also, when it gets dark, you go to sleep. When the sun comes, you wake up. Simple enough. I can always wake up earlier following a trip outdoors than before. It’s simple math really. Plus, getting up at 5 am to chase thunder chickens makes for an early evening.
- Boost your mood- being in the outdoors can helps me reduce the constant rumination, or the negative self-talk that potentially leads to worse mental health issues. I’m just happier outdoors.
- Inspire a sense of awe- this is the biggest benefit for me. Awe-inspiring events can lead to a better perception of time and being in the now, the same benefits of meditation. They can also inspire creativity and increase gratitude. To me, the most important benefit is that nature can be transformative. It can change your perspective. And if you change your perspective, you can change your life. For me, it creates a form of transcendence that mirrors a religious/spiritual experience.
Personally, I feel a little closer to God when I’m submerged in the outdoors. It calms me and make me super appreciative of this life I have. I have quite a hectic, travel-heavy work life that’s a constant grind. Being outdoors erases ALL of that. It gives me time to reflect and think on all the positives in my life. If nothing else, that’s PLENTY enough reason for me to continue to take these trips.
So if you want to change yourself, change your surroundings. Get outside and do something radical several times per year. You just gotta MAKE IT HAPPEN.