With fancy hotels and all-inclusive holidays having lost their allure for many as the coronavirus pandemic continues to dominate global headlines, some vacation-goers are reconsidering their plans in favor of camping in the great outdoors where they can more easily avoid infection and maintain social distance.
Self-isolation at home made many people realize how much they had lost touch with nature as life indoors became the norm. With this newfound revelation, people have been prompted to pursue more outdoor activities and relatively safer vacation options that give them the chance to reconnect with the environment. It seems that more and more people are packing their backpacks to set out their tents wherever they please this summer.
Murad Farajov, a construction engineer living in Turkey, has been self-isolationer since the early days of the outbreak. But after months of being stuck at home, he is now looking forward to taking a camping trip outside the concrete jungle that is central Istanbul as soon as he gets the chance.
"I feel relaxed whenever I find myself in nature," said Farajov. "We have somehow idolized this urban life in our heads but this has had negative effects on our lives and personalities."
"The forests and the vast green can help you rediscover yourself – an (opportunity) an all-inclusive holiday surely cannot provide," he said, pointing out that these holidays only gained popularity with the rise of consumerism.
According to the 24-year-old, speaking from his own experiences, people tend to question themselves and their lives more often when they are out in nature, helping them better understand life.
"When you are in nature all by yourself, you begin to realize how insignificant human beings are, including yourself. Sitting next to a bonfire at midnight, I find the opportunity to listen to myself and Mother Nature," he said.
Recommending people hit the road for a "green holiday" this year, Farajov said educating yourself on what difficulties to expect while on the trail and the essential equipment to bring along on a camping trip are a must before sleeping under the stars.
"For those with no experience trekking, they should research their camping site online and learn the basics so they don't encounter any unexpected problems while camping. Make sure you have the right equipment to get a fire going. Stash some old clothes in your backpack and pack enough food and water. It might sound a bit intimidating at first, but you'll love camping more the moment you find you've become an independent person that does not have to rely on anyone," added Farajov.
City life can be quite monotonous and routine, which is one of the many reasons people seek out more adventures in their free time. Farajov said modern life dulls instincts and fears, while the uncertainty of nature boosts these feelings and makes us emotionally stronger.
Muhammed Yasin Durak, 23, who is studying communications in Istanbul, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that camping at every opportunity has become a habit for him. Once COVID-19 restrictions were eased in the city, Durak and his wife went camping for three days in Yalova province in northwestern Turkey, near the Marmara Sea coast.
Durak recounted that while people were in their homes during the lockdown, nature had a chance for a short period of "self-recovery," with significantly less pollution recorded in the sea and environment.
"Once we arrived at the campground, I set up my tent before it got dark, then unloaded the necessary items from the car and started scouting around the site. The last place we went camping, despite there being no phone service, me and my wife were very comfortable and at ease. Of course, as we're not used to staying away from our smartphones, we felt a little uncomfortable at the beginning, but after a while, we overcame this feeling and found some peace of mind in being face-to-face with nature," he said.
Durak did acknowledge that quarantines, curfews and lockdowns had pushed them to seek relief in nature. "(These measures) overwhelmed everyone at abnormal levels," he said.
"We're not accustomed to curfews. Everyone was stunned and nobody could go about their daily routines. We longed for even the simplest things, such as going out on the street or going to the seaside, and many people, like me, dreamed of nature," Durak said.