IMG_0635Sharing stories around a campfire is as old as humanity. For millennia it was the time-honored way for the elders to share their wisdom and help the next generation prosper. In modern times the old tribal fire has been replaced by the glow of a TV, and the elders are considered relics …something profound has been lost.

If you have the opportunity to rekindle this time with elders, do so. Listening to their stories can be really fun. You might just hear about great places to explore, tales of adventure and faraway places. You will feel their regrets and be entertained by their anecdotes of enduring friendships. As the night mellows and the fire turns into calming embers – listen carefully for the old ones might begin to share their wisdom.

Below are several of my favorite elder-wisdoms about camping. I hope you discover some of your own from listening to the elders.

Elder Wisdom #1
“Life is really, really short – live your life well.”
This is the most frequently offered piece of advice. No translation needed.

Elder Wisdom #2
“Things don’t make you happy; family, friends, and your time with them do.”
Translation: A rich outdoor experience does not have to be expensive. Elders frequently see young families spend a lot of money on high-end equipment, or bring a multitude of stuff to the campground. The families are seeking enjoyment in the outdoors, but try to find it through material things rather than strengthening relationships. As a result, the families leave the campground tired, upset, in debt, and emotionally unfulfilled. Possibly, they will never try camping again.

Elder Wisdom #3
“Slow down. You don’t have to do everything at once.”
Translation: Start with the basics and build your equipment and experiences. A common error first time campers make is trying to do everything at once. Instead, start by camping at a comfortable experience level and build on those lessons learned. The same goes with equipment, start with inexpensive basic stuff and build out what you need to get to the next level. If you make use of your time and enjoy the journey, camping can provide a lifetime of adventures.

Elder Wisdom #4
“Decide what is important, then follow your heart.”
Translation: People want to go camping with their family, but feel they cannot escape the responsibilities of a never-ending cycle of work, family, and bills. But, to their credit, families are most of the way out the door – they have already spent a great deal of energy thinking about the who, what, where, when, why and how of camping: Who do they want to go with? What do they want to do? Where do they want to go? When do they want to go? Why is it important? How will all this be accomplished? Just thinking about these questions means that you are most of the way to getting outside.

I found this elder wisdom to be rich, which is why I’m sharing it with you. Help this elder wisdom work for you, go camping more by having a plan.