There’s no better place to be than the great outdoors. The fresh air on your skin, the sway of branches above you, the awesome displays of nature in sky and ocean. Activities like hiking, camping and fishing take you away from the stresses of everyday life, and yet many people are put off the idea because they can’t get over the hassles and discomforts of outdoor living.
When humans settled and developed agriculture, we became settled in our ways and more comfortable in our homes. Yet as communities developed into cities, we lost touch with something very important, and substituted the insects and animals for even bigger problems like traffic and pollution. We escaped the great outdoors for an easier life, but now we yearn to return to it.
Everyone can enjoy the wild if they are prepared to cope with the simple yet terrifying challenges that it brings. We’re here to point out the biggest hassles in the great outdoors, and how to overcome them.
The weather is perhaps mother nature’s most powerful expression. A bright, sunny day in a woodland can transport you directly to heaven. A fearsome storm on an exposed cliff face can taunt you with death. A cold snap on an abandoned moorland can bring an even greater despair.
When it comes to the trials and tribulations of the wild, the weather is one force not to be reckoned with, and can disrupt even the most casual camping trip. You can’t fully predict the weather, but you can take your trip at the right time of year in areas with a favourable climate.
Still, whatever the season and expectations for the weather, preparation is key here. Take gear that is well suited to your adventure, including lightweight waterproof outer layers, warm sleeping bags and a decent tent that can withstand any battering. Of course, survivalists go with a lot less gear and rely on their own shelter building skills, but for most people warm clothes and a tent will go a long way in protecting you against the elements.
Bugs and Insects
Wherever you are in the world, your trip into the great outdoors will inevitably be shared with a number of bugs and insects, whether it’s millions of midges in Scotland or disease-ridden mosquitoes in the USA.
Superstitions from around the world help people to deal with the psychological fear of bugs. In Uzbekistan, large cockroaches are taken as a sign of wealth and are even welcomed into the home. If you don’t have any superstitions like this to fall back on, the usual method of insect repellent does the job. There are natural repellents available, or you can use Avon Skin So Soft, a skin care product which contains citronella that has proven to be highly effective. For hardcore environments, DEET products are the best, but should be used sparingly as they are bad for the skin. There also tends to be fewer insects in the winter months, though then you have to deal with the cold.
Be aware of the critters that exist in your country. A sting from a wasp might not be so bad, but a bite from a black widow spider can kill. You should also remember to account for other predators like snakes and bears. You are the top of the food chain in your home, no doubt, but in the great outdoors you can’t help but feel a bit vulnerable – and that’s a good thing!
Thirst and Hunger
Food and drink are harder to come by in the great outdoors. Unless you are already a trained hunter or expert fisherman, you should probably take your own food, at least enough to ensure your survival for the trip. You can use foraging and hunting skills if you have them to boost your nutrition.
It’s actually pretty easy to purify water in the wilderness, if you have the right tools. You can boil most water to make it drinkable, or use a water filtration bottle or pen to sterilise any clear water that you find. You will need to make sure you are near to a water source.
Despite more obvious dangers coming from freak storms and predatory bugs, many people are put off the idea of camping or hiking because of the discomfort that they will face. They will miss their double bed, cosy blankets and coffee machine.
Whilst it is true that any trip to the great outdoors takes adaptation after sleeping in a double bed, comfort is actually not that hard to come by – again, if you are prepared. Pitch your tent on soft, even ground and change into dry clothes at the end of the day. Use a warm sleeping bag and liner, and slip into one of the most comfortable night’s sleep you will ever have!
Win The Mental Battle
Life is full of danger. There is more danger in the city than there is in the great outdoors, yet we fear our return to nature more than we fear the monotony of the 9 – 5. There are always hassles in life. A trip to the great outdoors just gives us a simpler kind of hassle, where we replace nagging bosses with buzzing mosquitoes, and swap the 7am train working for the 6am birdsong.
You should always face the great outdoors with preparation, and with the right level of skill and experience. Nature is to be feared and respected. But it is also to be enjoyed. It can revitalise you and rejuvenate your soul. The bad weather and cold baked beans are a tiny price to pay.
Article Written By; Awais Ahmed