Getting closer to nature at home
The tricks of a housebound adventurer
By Lucas A. Holmes, adventurer and outdoor enthusiast.
These days, we're all in a sense safely sheltering at our imaginary island, cabin, campsite, or hut. Being housebound makes us super attentive and closer to our surroundings. Kind of like when you're stuck inside your tent when it rains or there’s snowstorm! It may not be exactly the same, but with a few little tricks and a bit of imagination, my home has become my base camp.
It’s true! I hike up the stairs; my errands in the village become a safari; I scrutinize the weather out the window; the direction of the whitecaps on the river tells me the direction and speed of the wind; and I catch myself peering at the pack of squirrels in my backyard. True story, early in the morning, my backyard crawls with life! I think I’ve even identified the alpha male of the pack!
It seems like our desire to set off on an adventure can’t be curtailed. So that's what I've decided to do … My body may well be confined to the living room, but my mind, for its part, is in adventure mode!
At this point, some of you will ask “How can you be comfortably ensconced on your couch and fully in adventure mode at one and the same time?” Well, it’s simple! Here are my little tricks to stay in contact as much as possible with nature while stuck at home.
The morning routine
Every great day begins with a good night's sleep. Why not spend the next one in your sleeping bag on a mattress in the living room and take advantage to get up earlier than usual? Seeing the sunrise and thus having a front-row seat for the light spectrum taking place around your base camp is simply magical. Life quietly awakens … You don't have to be in the wilderness to enjoy it! Afterwards, prepare your coffee like when camping. Get your small insulated cup, make espresso with the Italian coffeemaker, and drink it black. When camping, we always forget the milk.
Next, skip the morning shower (when camping, one showers in the evening), then also skip shaving to work on your lumberjack look and step outside to find out what the weather is like.
For breakfast, simplicity is best, so enjoy some oatmeal and fresh fruit in your insulated cup. You know the rule: as few dishes as possible at base camp.
To stay in contact with nature, you have to let the sunshine in at your base camp, so try to welcome as much natural light as possible… and a bit of fresh air too. With the fresh air comes the sounds of birds singing, the wind, or even the rain. You can fetch your camping chair and fleece blanket, then read a good adventure book. Also, there's nothing better than enjoying some sunbathing and admiring the photography skills of a few nature adventurers, Éric Deschamps, Julie Audet, Valérie Derome-Massé or Jeanne RD just to name a few.
When the time comes to have a bite to eat, reuse your insulated cup and this time, enjoy a delicious comforting soup. Remember the drill? As few dishes as possible at base camp!
This is without doubt the part of the day that I enjoy the most. Being a huge camping and outdoor cooking enthusiast, I'm taking advantage of my time at base camp to practice and try new outdoor recipes. The weather seems stable, the whitecaps on the river have flattened, and the wind is turning west. Things are clearing up! In short, a nice weather window to cook on the BBQ. In the great outdoors, we're used to being minimalists. Well, it's the same thing here at home. You might guess what’s coming next… The time has come to reach for that little camping knife (Opinel or other) and put it to work to prepare the ingredients for the recipe.
It's the end of the day and you can feel the cold air around the BBQ? Don’t hesitate to protect yourself with your expedition parka, which will come in very handy indeed. When it comes time to taste your new camping recipe, if you have a purist streak, you can also get out that infamous utensil called a spork. What's that, you ask? It's a kind of hybrid between a fork and a spoon, which performs better as a spoon, if you ask me.
It's always amazing and relaxing to see the last rays of sunshine of the day. I take advantage of this moment to check up on the pack of squirrels which seems to use the sunset to review the positioning of their supplies.
Finally, after a pleasant day at base camp, it's shower time. Have you ever tried a shower at “river water” temperature? Don't worry, if you feel like having it with your camping sandals, it’s a judgement-free zone. Put on your pajamas and take advantage of the moment to illuminate your base camp with candles or your camping lantern before immersing yourself in your adventure tales once again.
Being closer to nature means being more attentive to light, sounds, different smells, birds singing, the wind, and the small animals surrounding us. It means getting closer to food and plants, taking the time to do things differently.
In the past few days, my home has become my base camp and, from here, I find the inspiration to prepare for my next adventures.