Three Ways Camping Can Make You A Better Expert

Updated: May 22, 2012

Sarah Riley

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Many people don't realize that the simple act of camping can help shape them into a better expert. I would even argue it's been helping us since the dawn of time.

It was only when I started writing for Inspired Camping that I realized just how much influence camping has really had on all of us, and how if we take a look at yesterday, today, and tomorrow we will see the huge part it's played in all of our lives, whether you like it or not.

Yesterday: Prehistoric Hardwiring

I believe we’re actually all prehistorically hardwired to go camping and to travel. The human race wouldn’t have spread across the globe if we hadn’t been compelled to become nomads, explore, and hunt out resources.

Setting up camp simply allowed us to do this successfully and make the most of where we ended up. You could say we've had to become travellers, adventurers, and campers simply to survive, and this in turn has hardwired these instincts into our system.

Today's modern life has speeded up significantly. We're still on the move but instead of just doing it physically we're also doing it virtually.

So, to make the most of where we want to go next we've had to become experts in adapting to our ever-changing surroundings by picking up as many different skills as we can. The Internet is one of the tools that help us to do this effectively, allowing us to evolve into virtual nomads who are always on the move and on the look out to hunt and gather new information, ideas and knowledge.

Today: The Expertise Scale

If we're new at something we lack the confidence to step forward and show ourselves as expert enough. Instead of doing it today we keep putting it off without realizing we're often more up to date and in a better place to pass knowledge on than the more experienced experts actually are, who can become too bogged down in their knowledge and automated in their approach.

When I wanted to learn how to reverse a car and caravan (yes, we all know how tricky that can be) my father who had been doing it successfully for decades found it very hard to teach me. Clearly he was the expert, but his process had become so automated he found it difficult to translate it into something a beginner could understand. When it was my turn to pass on this information I soon realized I had become expert enough, and not automated, to do it more efficiently than my father (but don't tell him that!)

Corbett Barr builds on this in his article on Zen Habits, 5 Simple Principles To Becoming An Expert. In it he explains that expertise can often be a relative term.

"Someone once told me to think about expertise as a scale from one to ten, not as an absolute. If you’re a two or three on the scale, you’re expert enough to help people who are ones and twos. In fact, you might be better suited to helping beginners than a ten on the expert scale, because you’re closer to their level and better understand where they’re coming from."

Tomorrow: The Tomb Raider Effect!

When we need to get better at something but can't quite find the answer we're looking for, often all we have to do is remove ourselves from the situation and let the answer find us. My husband calls this 'The Tomb Raider Effect', which says more about his misspent youth with Lara Croft than his love of camping!

People often tell us to sleep on it, but that doesn't always work as just when we find the answer we also find sleep, leading to us forgetting our 'eureka' moment.

The thing that does work however, is getting away from it all by going on a camping trip. This helps us switch off without shutting down, so we can make the most of our creative thinking time. Taking ourselves out of our normal environment and immersing ourselves in practical things like pitching a tent or building a campfire also helps this switching off process, then out of the blue the answer we've been looking for simply present itself like magic.

It seems camping may have contributed towards us being able to embark on this modern way of life much more than we realize.

So, the next time you feel the urge to go on a trip you really should embrace it. You never know where you may end up, the answers you may find, and the path you may discover when you get there.

Picture Credit: Field Candy

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