Many people ask me, “What is Boondocking?” One aspect of it is to ME a relief….. It is that quiet place in nature where I am one with my surroundings. Your surroundings will probably look different than mine, but mine are normally in the forest or desert, in fair weather and few people or none around. Let me paint you a picture of one day in this life:
I arrive at a place of my choosing, walk a short ways and then make myself comfortable. Sometimes that will be a blanket on the ground where I can lay on it and look up at the sky. Other times I may just sit in the lotus position or, if I am feeling my bones, it will be a comfortable lounge chair.
For this picture I have chosen the forest just south of Flagstaff, Arizona in the Coconino National Forest and I am alone. In Arizona the forest is pretty much open where I can see around the trees and into the distance which is pretty nice because if there is an Elk or deer out there I will probably see it as it moves through them. (I have seen them many times, but not today). The pine trees are very tall and majestic with very few dead ones standing. The evidence of a past forest fire shows in the burned bark of many trees.
As I find a comfortable spot to relax I notice that my steps are cushioned by the thick layer of pine needles and a small crunch of fallen pieces of limbs. The pine cones are many and the sizes are varied.
My whole body seems to thrumb to the quietness around me and a feeling of profound happiness envelops my whole being. I almost feel like dancing or singing or shouting – but that would be against all that is right now – maybe later, but right now I just want to chill, I don’t feel like being scolded by squirrels or birds.
The first thing that comes to me is the openness around me, It makes me feel limitless – no walls, no people, no noise, no judgements, no thoughts. Just me and the world around me. It makes me feel very insignificant in a profound way.
In this space in time I feel only deep and all consuming love – I don’t have to identify it, it just is and it’s all the way to my core and makes me smile that inner and outer smile that transforms me. Oh if only the world and my life would allow this feeling to follow me every moment of my days!
As I relax I notice the sun moving across the sky by seeing the shade of the trees move inexorably across the ground. A squirrel is foraging just over there as it readies itself for winter. A crow greets another as they weave through the trees and a songbird serenades all there is.
You may ask me what this has to do with Boondocking? To me, it is the CORE of what Boondocking is. It doesn’t matter to me how I arrived or where I have chosen or anything else – it is the peace and quiet and profoundness of it all. I may do this for an hour, a day, a week, 2 weeks or a lifetime.
Sometimes when I go Boondocking I find trash littering the area I have chosen. I always take it with me and dispose of it as it should be. It is not a natural part of the surroundings so I remove it. I’m confused as to why anyone would want to leave unnatural things in a natural setting, but I do what I can when I can.
Maybe some people who enjoy being in nature don’t understand about keeping nature natural. If I find an area where there was obviously a manmade campfire pit, I will use it. I mean it is disconcerting to want to build a small campfire in one of those pits and find where it is full of burned nails, aluminum cans or melted metal. I use a magnet to get the metal and nails out and then use a small shovel to dig the rest out. Why do people leave these messes? I honestly don’t understand it. Luckily this is not a common problem, just an annoyance that comes up along the way.
TO ME this is one aspect of Boondocking and it is a necessary part of my life. This picture of today many times will be different tomorrow or next week as I seek the varying beauty that life and nature has to offer.
Everyone worries that changes to laws surrounding our public lands may make dispersed camping impossible or limited. My vision of Boondockers United is to see it grow as big as the ARA and give us a voice where there is none now. Do you know that there is a National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds? (arvc.org) Do you know that they are a massive voice advocating for the use of RV Parks and Campgrounds as the ONLY solution for campers? Did you also know that Hotel and Motel associations are advocating for LESS camping because of the loss of income to their members?
WHO do we have? Dispersed camping needs a voice – BOONDOCKING needs a voice! Let’s do it! Join us now.