Holistic Camping, Going Outside to look Inside.
Updated: Apr 8
What is this Holistic camping concept, what does it have to do with being a Florida Master Naturalist and how did I come to this idea? I know most of you picture hippies running around the forest hugging trees carrying crystals and likely being stinky, at least that is the perspective I have heard the most of over the years. Not that is a completely inaccurate assessment of what “holistic camping “is, but it’s not the whole of the story or the simple box I find myself in. Really, I don’t fit into any sort of box, and that is what makes my concept of holistic camping special and something different than you will find anywhere else.
Florida is very new to the concept of the holistic lifestyle, but it is growing rapidly and all I can say is finally! The word holistic comes from the Greek word 'holos,' which means 'all,' 'entire,' or 'total.' The holistic theory implies parts of any whole cannot exist and cannot be understood except in their relation to the whole. " holism holds that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts"; and the "holistic theory has been applied to ecology and language and health. My job as a master naturalist is to study and educate the public on ecology, which is the branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings. The concept of holistic camping is taking in the understanding that us humans are also part of the whole and learning how to use that understanding to live a more connected lifestyle. When we chose to live a holistic lifestyle, we are helping to improve and protect the environment as our overall wellbeing.
Generally speaking, the lifestyle of the majority of Americans is not exactly in line with the holistic theory but there has been a rapid rise in the interest of living a holistic life and it’s much easier than people think. Especially once the foundation between the earth, the mind, body, and spirit is understood, and that is exactly what this all-women’s camping adventure is about. Some of the fundamental practices of taking the journey of living a more connected lifestyle are practicing mindfulness, being present and aware of your surroundings. Hiking, camping, and eating are actives that really give us an opportunity to practice mindfulness. Practices such as yoga, meditation, writing, exercise and praying are also ways to cultivate becoming aware of the mind, body, spirit and earth connection. Of course, putting our hands in the soil, planting seeds and growing herbs we can eat and use spiritually is one of the best ways to gain connection and understating of biology and connection of all living organisms. Building fires is also one of the most ancient tools in cultivating a connection to the elements. These are just a few elements of living a more balanced and connected lifestyle and some of the things we will be learning during the holistic camping adventure.
I have spent my life playing outdoors and I have always had a special connection and understanding of the natural world, and our connection to it. All I knew was that being outside whether it was doing an extreme sport, camping, hiking or swimming was the best way for me to find my center, or “calm down” even at a young age. Anytime I was stressed, sad, angry I went outside. In my later years while getting my BS degree I learned the science and spiritual reasons behind why I felt better outside, and since it has been my goal to help teach others to learn how to connect. Camping is the perfect way to learn how to connect to our mind, body, spirit and the earth, especially being out in the elements with guides who are certified, experienced and traveling the holistic journey themselves. So finally, after all these years of wanting and wishing to create space for people learn to connect to the natural world, I am making it happen and I hope lots of you decide to look into the holistic lifestyle journey and come on an adventure with me.