Life is Better Adventure Series - Snuggled in a Tent
Posted on August 09 2017
Guest Blog by Dylan Manderlink
Having been on the road for a month on a solo road trip around California, Nevada, and Utah national and state parks, aside from my car, my tent was my home. Most of my nights were spent camping in the back country, alongside rivers and creeks, and underneath great sequoia trees. With little to no chance of rain during my month on the road, I slept without my rain fly and had a clear view of the night sky. Curled up in my sleeping bag after hours spent hiking and cooking on my camper stove, the most comforting place to be was my tent.
Most nights I could swear I fell asleep with a smile on my face. For that nomadic month, my tent was not only my home but also my safe haven; a place I could retreat to tucked away in nature and isolated from the chaos and stress of life.
When I was asked by a friend to write a post about how "life is better in a tent", I eagerly jumped at the opportunity and was bubbling with excitement. Yes, life, in so many ways is better when you take time to appreciate and immerse yourself in nature, embrace the wilderness (whether that's close to home or a distance away), and leave your comfort zone. Some of the best learning opportunities, memorable experiences, and moments of deep personal growth have happened when hiking and camping independently.
For me, life was better in those moments - I felt empowered and strong for camping and immersing myself in nature alone. One night of camping would reinvigorate my passion for the outdoors and rebuild my confidence in my abilities. After cooking my dinner over my camper stove, I'd set up my tent, get comfortable in my sleeping bag, become lost in a good book, and fall asleep under the stars with nothing but the sounds of the wilderness.
Life is better in a tent for me because I can actually step back and appreciate my life, what I'm grateful for, and the unique adventures I've been able to have without any distractions. When it's just you, your tent, camping supplies, and the great outdoors, you are in an optimal setting to reflect, appreciate, learn about yourself, and see the world as purely as possible. Life is better in a tent because I can live simply and not over complicate things unnecessarily. There are no stressors or worries when I'm camping (well, maybe I'll worry about the occasional wildlife that I should be cautious of) and I try my best to practice mindfulness and the appreciation of the present moment.
Every night spent in my tent in a different place, I learn to love and appreciate my life and the adventures I've created for myself a little bit more. I focus on the present and I can't help but look around and feel so lucky to be sleeping in my tent, surrounded by natural beauty, and to be experiencing life so fully and richly. Life is better in my tent because I choose adventure, new sights, and living intensely over staying in and seeing the same place over and over and not making changes to my life. I choose an incredible view and simple accommodations over a luxurious hotel and a life driven by finances.
So if you can, try to embody the mantra of "life is better in a tent" (and outside) this summer. Get out, grab your gear, look up at the sky instead of your phone, go for a hike instead of binge watching Netflix at home, travel to a new place instead of frequenting your regular spots. Make your life better, one campsite at a time.
Dylan Manderlink is a former public school teacher and now works as a wilderness therapy field mentor in central Utah. After graduating from college in the heart of Boston, she decided to make a gradual move out west to eventually chase open space and mountains. She lived in Arkansas for two years where she taught high school and then eagerly moved to Moab, Utah - the home of Arches and Canyon lands national parks. In her free time, Dylan loves to hike, visit national and state parks, canyoneer with people who know what they are doing and are better than her, watch documentaries about mountaineering and anything to do with the outdoors, and camping (duh).