The call of the wild is nearly impossible to hear, drowned out by the chaos of the 9-5 and the incessant pings of phone notifications. Kate explores the reasons it’s important to maintain our camping zen and lists six ways we can integrate the calm of the great outdoors into our everyday lives.

Camping – there’s nothing quite like it. It gives us time to fully switch off and recharge in nature, waking to the sound of birds, eating hot stew under the stars, and wondering if that noise outside the tent is a wombat or an axe murderer – or is that just me?

There’s often hardly any reception so we can ignore the family WhatsApp for a couple of days and simply enjoy being disconnected from the world and – not to get all woo-woo on you – connect with ~ourselves~.



Camping is the perfect digital detox, and given that more than half of all Australians reckon they’re addicted to their phones, a digital detox is more alluring – and important – than ever.

Read more: Working 9-5 – How Did I Get Here?

But what happens when you come home from your camping trip with smoke-scented clothing and a tent that needs drying out? We dive straight back into our lives (and if you’re like me, loads of post-camping washing). 

Work beckons, our phones beep, the little red notifications tempt us into endless scrolling, and we count down the days until our next nature escape.

If you want to hold on to some of that magic, here are some ways to bring the experience of camping and mindfulness back into the real world with you:

1. Check Out Your Local Green Spaces

It’s hard to feel connected to nature when you look out your window and can see what your next door neighbour is cooking for dinner. But just because you’re in a built up area doesn’t mean nature can’t be found. Have a look for nearby bushwalks and local green spaces.

Sydney’s Bicentennial Park near Olympic Park is a bird-lover’s haven hidden among the hustle and bustle of the city’s inner-west, and the Yarra River snakes through Yarra Bend Park in Melbourne’s Fairfield. Make it a mission to familiarise yourself with your local parks and green spaces, see what bushwalks are nearby, and spend time in them. You might be surprised at how many urban adventures await you.

Read more: How To Live an Outdoorsy Life in The City


2. Have Screen-free Evenings

Are you one of the 64% of Australians who flick on a movie, only to check Wikipedia constantly to find out why that actor looks SO familiar? Me too.

I’ve fallen down many rabbit holes and ended up not engaging with the movie, not unwinding, and feeling like I’ve wasted two hours.

If your default is to turn on the telly each evening, consider having a screen-free night every week as a way to unwind instead.

Get out the board games, cook up a feast or try a new hobby like painting or polymer clay baking. Put your phone on aeroplane mode and leave the notifications for the following day.



Give yourself a chance to really switch off for the evening. Not only will you potentially learn a new skill (or revisit an old one!) but you’ll also set yourself up for a good night’s sleep by reducing the amount of screen time you’re exposed to before bed.

Read more: 7 Things I Learned Living Without Technology for a Year

3. Don’t Keep Your Phone In Your Room Overnight

Following on from the above, set yourself up for sleep by keeping your phone in a separate room overnight. Almost four in five Aussies say they check their phone in bed, and a similar amount say they check their phone within ten minutes of waking up. So that beautiful, blissful post-waking state is quickly punctured by notifications, work emails, distractions, text messages. We’re bombarded by stimulation before we’ve even properly woken up, and that’s not setting ourselves up for success for the rest of the day.

Buy an analog alarm clock and keep your phone elsewhere. You’ll be less tempted to fall into a mindless scroll before falling asleep, and your snooze time won’t be interrupted by overnight notifications.

And if you really want to recreate the experience of waking up while out camping, you could always purchase this birdsong alarm clock….

4. Get Uncomfortable

No, I don’t mean start sleeping on a glorified yoga mat to replicate the experience of camping. But getting uncomfortable can really bring us into the present moment.

Whether it’s jumping into an ice bath, plunging into an ice-cold ocean, or simply turning up the cold tap when you have a shower, cold water therapy is said to help improve circulation and increase mental alertness.

(If you’ve got a history of heart disease, it’s best to chat to your GP before you dive into an ice bath.)

I personally *hate* being cold, and am the kind of person that inches into the ocean at the pace of an especially fatigued sloth. But a recent experience of forest bathing in bare feet got me hooked onto the idea of discomfort bringing us into the moment.

The first five minutes were achingly-awful and I didn’t think I’d be able to go through with it. It honestly felt like I was walking on hot coals – until it didn’t.

It felt warm and pleasant, and suddenly I was much more aware of my surroundings. I swear, the green leaves looked more vibrant, the birdsong was more beautiful, and all the things that were filling up my mind – work, emails to respond to, the vacuuming I’d neglected to do all month, randomly worrying about where my birth certificate is – all tipped out of my head. It might not be your favourite escape initially, but it’s worth a try.


5. Bring the Outdoors In

The benefits of indoor plants are well documented, with research suggesting that people feel healthier and happier when they have a fiddle-leaf or two in the lounge room (and manage to, err, not kill them). A medium-sized plant can improve air quality by 25 per cent, and a study by UTS showed that indoor plants brought a reduction in tension and anxiety, as well as fostering feelings of confidence (again, when you manage to keep ‘em alive).

So if you need an excuse to head to your local nursery and pick up a pot or two, consider this your sign.

We feel good when we’re in nature – hence the appeal of camping, bushwalking, and being outdoors – so it makes sense that we’ll also feel good when we bring nature indoors with us.

Some hardy (read: hard to kill) indoor plants include the rubber plant, aloe vera, jade plant, peace lily, and succulents.

Hot tip: I also have a passionfruit vine on my balcony that’s really thriving under my near-constant neglect.


6. Walk With No Distractions

I challenge you to go for a walk and leave the headphones at home. Mindfulness is about sitting with your own thoughts, and when we listen to music or a podcast, we’re unable to do that.

It’s even becoming a TikTok trend! They call it ‘silent walking’.

Create a space with no distractions – whether it’s going for a walk, taking yourself out for dinner or commuting somewhere, and simply sit with your own thoughts.


Fractel Blizzard Fleece Running Hat - Review, James Tugwell, Murramarang Coast Walk, beach, south coast, person running on beach

Photo by James Tugwell


This is much easier to do when we have a tranquil waterfall trickling beside us, but the key to mindfulness and meditation is being able to sit with our thoughts and let them flow in and out of our minds. It’s a skill to be able to do this in any situation.

So leave the book, the headphones and – if possible – the phone at home and enjoy simply being with your thoughts. You never know what creative ideas will pop into your head.

Read more: The Magic of The Morning Golden Hour 


Feature photo by @kristamayphotography