Camping

Time for a new camping and wild swimming excursion

I have felt a significant change in my consciousness lately. It might happen to me every couple of years or so. I am always striving for greater spiritual enlightenment and the recent work I’ve done seemed to click and tip itself out for me during a solo weekend of camping and wild swimming.

Colemere at sunset

I spent the whole weekend happily. Not only do I mean that I was enjoying myself, I spent the entire weekend feeling perfectly satisfied, at peace, and gratitude at every turn.

I had planned half a day’s vacation on Friday, booked a small campsite in advance that I had never visited before, and as the work week progressed I realized that fear was starting to take hold of me.

I was already feeling a little overwhelmed with work and freelance commitments, and a friend borrowed my medium-sized tent, which meant I had to bring a large family tent with me. The weather was terrible and it was likely to get worse, and I had a huge to-do list and some wedding fears that threatened to engulf me.

ColemereColemere, a few steps from where I parked

I control my fear

I’ve learned to recognize overwhelming emotions before they choke me, so using mindfulness techniques and mid-week intentional meditation, I was able to keep my thoughts from spiraling, but I knew my planned weekend was at the right time – I had to myself Grounding and spending time outdoors is always the answer.

I made the decision to let worry overwhelm me. When I struggled with the big tent, no drama, I’ve pitched tents hundreds of times. When it rained and I got wet, I dressed dry. If the wind was strong enough to damage the tent, I would pack and come home. It wasn’t a big deal, so I headed out in the pouring rain on Friday afternoon when my creeping fear stopped.

The rain continued and 40 minutes later I crossed the Welsh border and then into Shropshire almost immediately when the rain got even heavier. I was aware of the rain, but I just turned up the music and kept singing. I really didn’t care and didn’t think about it until the sat nav told me I had arrived, and at that point the rain stopped.

A weekend where everything flowed

I set up my camp and had no problems setting up the big tent on my own (I love AirBeams for this reason!). Everything was soon set up and everything cozy inside, so I sat down to make a brew. While I was waiting for it to cool down a bit, I heard the first pitter patter of raindrops against the tent.

It struck me how happy I was to have a break in the weather at the right time and for the right time, and I felt a deep sense of gratitude. I grabbed my coat, took my tea, and set off to explore the area.

When I booked I knew the campsite was near a lake, but I had no idea how close it was. I could see the water from my tent and in less than a minute I was at the water’s edge. I found a log to sit on and quietly absorbed the place. Once again I felt extremely grateful.

The dense forests around the lake (actually just to be exact) protected me from the drizzle and I meditated briefly, concentrated on the beautiful landscape, felt the cold breeze and the drizzle on my face and listened to the abundance of bird life.

Chill in my tent and listen to the rainChill in my tent and listen to the rain

I finished my brew, returned to my tent, grabbed my cell phone, and went back out, this time with the intention of walking around the lake and exploring a little further. As I walked, I realized I was smiling. The sun was setting and by the time I reached the other end of the lake I was amazed at how beautiful it was and to think I had no real idea when I had planned where I was going to stay.

I had a lovely quiet evening reading (If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Blackie) and while I was sipping a G&T and eating a piece of cheesecake I’d bought as a treat, I received a video call. A dear friend I hadn’t seen in years called to share the good news that she had just become engaged. I felt absolute joy for her and we had a great, long overdue catching up process.

I was amazed that the technology had made our conversation easier with me in a tent in the middle of nowhere and felt blessed that it had called me with the news. I fell asleep with no clear plan for the rest of the weekend and was happy just to be.

Set intentions

The following day was wet and gray and I realized I had forgotten to bring coffee so I went out and found a canal and went for a walk. On the way back to the campsite, I passed a nature reserve and took another walk there. Realizing again how happy and relaxed I felt, I watched birds and walked among the trees.

Back at the campsite, I decided to go on a shamanic journey. Since I started a little over a year ago, I’ve had incredible success with my trips, even though I don’t do them often. I treat them with deep awe and instinctively feel that I shouldn’t do them lightly or too often.

I had a clear intention in mind; I wanted to stop my tendency to fear, which was partly triggered by constantly wondering what it is and planning the worst.

My brain sometimes feels like a depressed computer that is doomed to run endless simulations and test worst-case scenarios after worst-case scenarios. Instead of always projecting into the future, I wanted to gain the ability to be more anchored in the now.

That was the intention I held on to. With my favorite drum track that accompanied me on my journey, my rattle, the smoking of incense and a blanket that covered me, I let myself into it. It took me over an hour to get back and the feeling of calm I had all weekend only increased. I came to, felt happy and safe, knowing that the power was within me to make the change I wanted.

Trail run around Colemere

I stayed with the floating, slightly drugged feeling and settled down with my crochet and happily listened to the rain on the tent. When the rain stopped I decided to make the most of the dry weather window, put on my running gear and did a nice little trail run, stopping to look at the scenery and snap some photos.

That night when I was in bed I would normally have turned to the fears of the weather and packing in the rain, but the thoughts flooded me and didn’t linger. I was sound asleep, unaware that the rain was heavier than ever.

On my last day, I woke up to birds singing, sunshine, and absolutely no rain. Again, feeling a rush of gratitude, I set out to grab myself, wear a t-shirt, and happily sing to myself.

As I packed everything away, I realized I didn’t want to end my weekend just yet, and it occurred to me that I could delay getting home by taking a wild bath on the way back. Just in case, I always have a packed beach bag in my car. After packing the car, I went to the lake, where I ended my weekend with the most beautiful bath.

Swimming Alderford LakeAfter my swim in Alderford Lake

I swam to the other side of the lake, then halfway, and stopped, just swimming. I rolled over on my back and rocked around there. I looked up at the sunshine falling through the clouds and blue skies and felt another great rush of gratitude and happiness.

Everything just flowed

Although I’ve always known that worrying is pointless and a total waste of energy, my brain has never let that fact make a difference and my anxiety has increased anyway. However, something has changed about me this weekend.

Of course, if you’ve read Untethered Soul you know that the real test comes when things go a little better. It’s easy to stay positive when things are going together and going right, but much more difficult in difficult times. However, my experience this weekend has positively reinforced the benefits of focusing on the here and now and not endlessly anticipating the worst-case scenarios.

I now realize that I did this before because logic told me that I would be prepared for the worst if it happened. Of course, all this actually did was get me caught in a cycle of fear while constantly worrying about the bad things that might happen.

It seems to me to have lived so obviously now and for so long, doesn’t make any logical sense. I’m slightly amused that I just “got it”. Not only did I ground myself this weekend, I finally learned how to let go of fear.

Good relief from that.

Where to go next

Shell loves everything to do with travel and the outdoors, and is a nature-loving, comfortable camping girl. Shell started the Camping with Style blog after a serious snowboarding accident that left her with a broken back. Even so, she used the outdoors and nature’s healing powers to recover, and she continues to spend time outdoors whenever she can.

From swimming in open water, snowboarding and kayaking to mountain hiking and meditation, Shell shares their travels and micro-adventures here on the blog. In various publications she has written for, Shell has a particular interest in promoting the well-being and the many benefits of natural therapy.

Latest posts by Shell Robshaw-Bryan (See everything)

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