Sleeping with Mother Nature

When was the last time you went camping? Perhaps you haven’t tried. There are many reasons why happy campers take pleasure in this outdoor activity, and here’s why.

With Chinese New Year having come and gone, the city is back to being full of life and cars and people; lots of people. Most find the lull in city life a breath of fresh air and mourn it’s passing. It’s as if the lessening of people in Dongguan actually frees up more air for those left to appreciate. This need for space to enjoy the small things is why so many people around the world choose to spend weekends throughout the year camping.

Although, it does seem strange that people choose to go camping when other options appear much more pleasant. What’s the sense in sleeping outside in the numbing cold or in the jungle heat of a Guangdong summer? Why would anyone voluntarily leave the comforts of modern life and technology for such a brutal experience? These questions lie at the forefront of the “campless” and rightly so. Despite seeming to be an irrational activity at first glance, the fact remains that, for many, camping is a beloved pastime.

There can be no doubt that its popularity has grown tremendously in the last 30 years.

What reasons motivate these global campers? Perhaps what drives them is a need for discovery. A desire to discover a secret pathway or a hidden waterfall that nobody’s ever found. Perhaps campers seek to discover themselves or contemplate a major life decision. Those who’ve sat watching the stars pass along a giant black canvas and woken to faint lights, know the depth of one’s thoughts at such times. It would seem others simply want the excuse camping provides to leave the stress of life behind for a weekend of pure fun and leisure with close friends. For all the entertainment offered by society, they choose to kill time by making jokes and telling stories around a simple fire. They might marvel at the leaps and lunges of the camp fire all night listening to conversation leading nowhere in particular. Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that camping is something people relish and consistently return to in spite of all its “inconveniences.”

Yet in China, camping is often still seen as a “western” idea with the majority of the population lacking such an experience. Like many things in China, one must ask if camping actually is uniquely “western” or if it just hasn’t become trendy yet. There can be no doubt that its popularity has grown tremendously in the last 30 years, judging from the camping stores that are more and more commonplace in major cities. These days, it’s no surprise to see hundreds of tents pitched on the Great Wall or near famous natural landmarks. Mountain hotels such as those on Huangshan even lease slabs of concrete next to their main buildings for those wishing to spend the night in a tent. Travel companies have begun offering innovative group camping packages and even Dongguan radio organizes a yearly camping trip. Some may argue that such large camping trips in public places cannot truly be called camping, but who is anyone to decide what camping is and isn’t?

However, it’s not hard to see how this form of camping logically leads to a camping many westerners find more recognizable. There will be those who become discontented with the commotion of group camping and the limits it places on location. These brave hearted adventurers will devour the feast of mountains and valleys served up throughout the country on long backpacking trips. With such escapades will come books, blogs, guides, and a younger generation hoping to do everything done before them and more. The growing demand of the more domestic group campers will produce public camping facilities where parents are able to bring their children and share the wonders of nature and the many lessons she teaches. Through these experiences, the duty to keep China beautiful is passed on from one generation to the next. China might one day become the country that people enter solely for the sake of camping at one of its beautiful parks.

Whatever future camping holds in China, those in Dongguan can always enjoy the luxury of a plethora of clean parks and abundant opportunities to camp through HERE! Outdoors. To find out more about this month’s camping trip please refer to our WeChat account.