28/07/2016 13:41 BST | Updated 29/07/2017 06:12 BST

The Refreshing Reason Twenty-Somethings Shouldn't Turn Their Nose Up at Camping

When I told people I was going to be spend my weekend camping, no one really gave a crap.

That's not to say they were rude. General responses included the patronising "Ahh" or "I hate camping" or the popular "What if it rains?".

If I was going on a spa weekend, the responses would have been different. People would have been jealous of my time away, envious of me laying in the spa's leisure centre and spending a night in a hotel room.

Because the fact is: camping isn't glamorous. It's not luxurious. And it's definitely not Instagrammable.

But after spending a weekend going back to basics in a field, I'm determined to convince at least one other 20-something that camping isn't just for kids and elderly couples.

More importantly, it can do wonders for your mental health.

amy packham

Having not spent a weekend in a tent since I was at Eurocamp as a child, I admit it took me a while to get my head around how 'basic' camping really is. ("Why are you packing your straighteners?" "For my hair!" "There are no plugs" "Oh.")

But when I let go of expectations and my incessant need to check Twitter every five minutes, I was able to switch off - and I mean properly switch off - for the first time in months.

Let me ask you this: When do we really have the opportunity to fully take time away from technology, wifi, our laptops and Netflix? Rarely.

But on my trip I didn't connect to the wifi as a way to pass time, I didn't switch on Netflix in the evening before heading to bed and I didn't even compare my weekend to the picture-perfect snaps I usually see on Instagram.

Instead, I paid much more attention to what I was doing, the things that were around me and more importantly, having actual meaningful conversations.


It wasn't just the lack of technology that made my weekend so calming, it was also the time I spent outside and the lack of materialistic things around me.

If you didn't know it already, being outside in nature is said to improve our brain function.

For dinner, we sat outside on the grass with our portable stove. Daily habits like cooking that are often done so mindlessly became the focus of our evening: we had to head to the water tap on the campsite to get water to boil just to have a cup of tea. Then we did it all over again when we needed to wash the pan to use it again for our burgers. We ate dinner on the grass on our laps with plastic plates.

Everything was so simple.

When we'd finished dinner and the sun started to set, we had nothing else apart from a tent, our books and each other's company. So we watched the sun go down and lay outside reading our books. BLISS, I tell you.

In the morning, we woke up to the sound of birds, ate breakfast outside and breathed in fresh air that wasn't full of car pollution.

Soz to sound like a soppy idiot and all, but it was so peaceful.


It was the polar opposite of being in the busy London city.

It was a shortcut to mindfulness. Sometimes formal meditation or mindfulness can be a struggle, but when you camp you have to be present. Instead of the sound of cars going past, you hear the sounds of animals or the buzz of insects at night. Nothing seems to interrupt you, so it's easy to focus on the "here and now".

Camping gave me the opportunity to go back to basics and re-establish a connection away from my iPhone.

No one is oblivious to the fact that there is an increasing number of millennials suffering from anxiety. And in my opinion - camping could be the perfect break some may need to empty their mind for even just a night. (It's also pretty cheap, so that's a perk.)

I left the campsite with a sense of stillness about myself and I can't wait to do it all over again.