Greetings everyone. I’ve always been someone who has appreciated nature and my place within it. Over the past couple of months I had the opportunity to go on a few camping excursions and experience the great outdoors in all its glory. What follows are some of my takeaways and perspectives on the experiences I had.
In August my girlfriend and I traveled up to Oregon to attend the Eclipse festival in Big Summit Prairie where we then went to Burning Man in Northern Nevada the week after. I had never been to a festival or been camping in the true traditional sense so it was definitely a step outside my comfort zone. We took a couple days to drive up and eventually we met up with some friends we have from Vegas in Prineville(the last ‘real’ town in Oregon before you venture out to the festival grounds). We all departed in a row of 6 cars around 8PM so that we could camp together as there is no cell service inside the camp grounds and communication would be quite a challenge if we didn’t arrive together. It turned out that there had been at least 1 crash on the 20 mile road from Prineville in to Big Summit Prairie and we ended up waiting in line for around 10 hours to get in to the event. I was rationing nap time in between the 30min-1hr stop and goes that we experienced while traffic was held up. Upon arrival I thought I would be exhausted but it turned out that I was just really excited to be there and shocked at what the festival in and of itself was. I really enjoyed the experience and challenge setting up our camp presented us with. The feelings of community and positive vibes were quite pervasive and much appreciated. The amount of musical acts, workshops, yoga/meditation/sound healing classes, artists/creations, food vendors and lectures they had on going during the week were incredible!
I spent the first two days in shock at how unique an experience it was and how enjoyable the atmosphere was to be in. It was a funny situation for me because while our basic needs were barely being met, the thrill of just being alive felt clearly more present than it, usually, ordinarily does. I suppose it was an exacerbation of the clarity that minimalist living and a lack of materialistic mentality can in some sense bestow upon humans.
It was a nice time to relax and deepen human connection with friends and meet some amazing new people as well. The majority of our time was spent hanging out together and just enjoying the uniqueness of the experience and the simplicity of being together, telling stories/jokes, being nostalgic, appreciating the moment while being happy and not over thinking or worrying about the future at all.
On the day of the eclipse it was a truly incredible feeling to see and be a part of ~40,000 people peacefully gathered around a lake together to view the cosmological rarity. The event itself was breathtaking and I was specifically shocked that if you took off the eclipse glasses you couldn’t even see the moon’s shape until it had fully eclipsed the sun because of how bright the suns rays are! Once it did fully eclipse the sun the rays vanished and all that was left to be seen for the next 2-3 minutes was a black ball in the sky with a ring of fire surrounding it. Definitely one of if not the most unusual natural phenomena I’ve ever been witness to and a most utopian circumstance to enjoy with it.
The Oregon Eclipse event was described as a ‘Transformational Festival’ and I liked the idea of this being about a consciousness expanding experience as opposed to being purely a party experience. Obviously everyone approaches it differently but I intended to better myself and looks for ways to self-improve as a result of this vibe and generally safe/welcoming atmosphere. A few main takeaways I had were:
- Sometimes standing back and being a witness to things is more enjoyable and more fulfilling than immersing yourself in whatever that thing may be. This message came to me quite clearly when viewing a few different pieces of art which ended up being more profound when I was 20 yards away as opposed to getting right up close to them. Perspective really is everything.
- Balance is such a crucial key to an enjoyable life. I have at times been someone who explores extremes in different areas of my life which eventually leads me to find balance thereafter. It’s a funny way to go about self exploration and discovery/realization but this message was quite evident to me in my experiences in Oregon. In particular I realized that I had a hesitation to plan ahead for, perhaps, fear of not allowing myself to be spontaneous and free flowing in the moment. After reconciling this it seems obvious that planning ahead has value and forgoing any plan for the opportunity of spontaneity in every moment can also have value.
- Gratitude, appreciation and trust in the flow of life are essential to personal well being and long lasting happiness. Feeling grateful for our experiences and finding contentment in them, which for me is often accentuated by being vulnerable with my emotions, is a gift to others and a gift to oneself. It is, in my opinion, a catalyst for life to continue to leave you awestruck and provide you with what you need.
After the eclipse finished up we got some food and left later that day to avoid the mad rush out of Big Summit and give ourselves a few days to rest and re-up on food supplies before we headed out to Black Rock City to help our camp set up for Burning Man. The first night back in Bend, Oregon I slept 15 hours straight, lol. It was definitely a reminder of how nice modern amenities are and how grateful I am for them as well!
This will conclude part 1 of my camping journey, I’ll post part 2 in the near future 🙂