Why My Ideal Weekend Away Would Be Spent Camping

The sounds of nature is when I feel the most connected to those around me and to the planet.

Pitching up camp in Denali National Park, Alaska. Photo: Zoe Zaleski

If someone asked me to tell them what my dream weekend away from home would be, my answer would be camping. I have loved camping for as long as I can remember. My family used to go camping a lot when I was growing up, whether it was on a diving or fishing trip, in the mountains, or next to a lake. Rain or shine, we would tell stories huddled together in our sleeping bags, play music and roast marshmallows around a campfire, and search for constellations under the night sky.

I love camping because of the way it brings people together, by forcing them to unplug from electronic devices and the outside world, and to be present and immersed in nature. Whether it is in a tent pitched up in the backyard, at the beach, in the mountains, or halfway across the world, there is something special about sleeping in a tent. Outside under the stars surrounded by the sounds of nature is when I feel the most connected to those around me and to the planet.

The perfect spot to watch sunrise above Big Sur, California. Photo: Zoe Zaleski

There are so many different ways to experience camping. You can camp in a campsite next to your car, somewhere remote with the right permits, or even by backpacking. It is something that can be done with family, friends, or even solo. You can camp in the desert, on a sandy beach, or in a snow cave. No matter what your preference, there is a place to camp for everyone.

Some of my fondest memories have been from camping with my family and friends. I will never forget looking up at the Milky Way from a tent in the desert in South Africa, listening to the ocean waves crashing from the sand dunes along Point Reyes National Seashore in California, or watching the sun set from the fields of Denali National Park in Alaska. It is the perfect way to really experience nature without tons of tourists around, with front row access to unparalleled landscape views.

Group camping on Santa Cruz Channel Island off the coast of California. Photo: Zoe Zaleski

Another reason why I prefer camping to any other weekend activity is that it is a great way to get travel and adventure while striving to leave no trace. By working to leave each place you camp better than you found it, not leaving food waste or hurting the natural ecosystem, camping can be a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and leave no trace in the environment you’ve chosen to camp in.

So, if you are a nature-lover and you find yourself wondering what to do with the free weekend coming up in your schedule, consider camping! There are plenty of beautiful campsites to pick from all over the world, as well as backcountry camping and backpacking. There is no experience necessary to camp if you never have before, it is incredibly rewarding.

The next time you jet set across the globe or decide to stay local and explore by car, look into ways in which you can spend some of your travel plans under the stars, around a campfire, and in a sleeping bag.

Zoe has been camping for twenty years.

Enjoying the sunshine on a spring morning in Joshua Tree. Photo: Zoe Zaleski

Zoe Zaleski

Zoe has been an avid traveler her whole life. She grew up in California, has lived in Spain, and is currently living in South Africa. Zoe has traveled to over twenty countries, and does not plan on stopping any time soon. She loves being outdoors, and her passions include photography, diving, backpacking, and rock climbing.

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