Many of us are still stuck inside - whether due to local restrictions, personal choice, or a lack of work-life balance. In any case, whatever state you live in, things certainly aren’t ‘back to normal’ yet, and options are limited when it comes to activities and outings.
So long as travel is permitted, what remains constant is our access to nature. At the beginning of the pandemic last year, many people across the globe took full advantage of nature’s benefits, picking up new hobbies; from foraging, to hiking, to nature photography.
A year on, with people working from home, the lines between work and play have blurred and many find themselves working into the evening and during weekends - and feeling they have less time to spend outdoors. The mental health effects have been devastating.
Texino calls for a ‘return to nature!’ The novelty of those initial new hobbies and of forging new patterns doesn’t have to wear thin, and though we are working through tough times, setting aside time outside is vital.
There’s never been a better time to reconnect with nature. That hike - that trail - that beach - that dusty track - is practically calling your name!
Despite the ‘social options’ available to us through technology (FaceTime, Zoom, messaging, etc), you’ll have heard that “we’ve never been so disconnected”. This has become a cliché simply because, in this case, it’s true. Many of us have retreated into our shells, into our work, and into the fear that has in part started to rule our lives; so much so that it can feel as though we’ve lost parts of ourselves. The sense of disconnection is not only a social one but, on another level, it has to do with how we relate to and place ourselves within the world.
Nature gives us perspective. It is easy to forget that the sun shines and ants crawl, and that we’re each a part of a larger whole, when we’re cooped up inside, doom-scrolling, and occasionally watching funny videos of cats on the internet (that’s not a ‘break’ 🧐).
Reconnecting with nature gives you the opportunity to unplug and take stock. And you don’t have to be by yourself! The good thing about time outside is that, for many states, you’re allowed to spend it with a buddy or group of friends (but check local restrictions).
There are proven mental health benefits of spending time in nature. Now, we’re not saying that just going outside is a cure-all - certainly not. Mental illness is a complex beast not always cured by a dandelion or a mountainside (and we of course believe in access to professional therapy for all). BUT, these things - exercise, sunlight, a new perspective - can certainly put a spring in your step if you’ve been feeling a little disconnected and cooped-up.
Physical activity has been linked to improved wellbeing for many years now, and recent studies have shown the power of time outside for reducing blood pressure. And while international travel can sometimes be a stressor (think airplane queues), spending time in the nature that’s on our doorsteps is a stress-relieving alternative. We won’t even get started on the fact that you need vitamin D to be a healthy, happy individual. Basically: the benefits are plenty!
So what do we do about it?
Take that annual leave. You deserve it. After a tumultuous year for business, lots of people report feelings of obligation towards their respective workplaces. They feel they should work harder and longer hours.
Well, we’re here to tell you, you’re not a machine! However startling it may sound, from time to time, you. need. a. break. Workplace stress and burnout leads to a lack of motivation and loss of productivity.
So, with sunnier days ahead, now’s the time.
Traveling during a pandemic might feel a little daunting. Where will I sleep? Where will I eat?
Certainly, it’s worth avoiding places experiencing major outbreaks, even if you’re planning to spend the majority of your time outdoors.
But what’s the ultimate travelling experience, fit for all the chaos of a pandemic?
When you rent out one of Texino’s vans, you get the works: kettle, coffee grinder and pour over, cups, bowls, plates, silverware, pot and pan, colander, olive oil, salt, pepper, toilet paper, soap, sponge, camp chairs, playing cards. You just need to bring yourself (and maybe some food, clothes, and good hiking boots…?).
If you’re a weekend warrior looking for only the essentials and room to bring your gear (boards, bikes, you name it), you could try the Tango.
Or if you’re looking for a spacious 5-berth with a shower and induction stove for a family trip, check out our Clipper.
Whatever your needs, we’ve got the van for you. Simply pick it up from our location in Silverlake or request a drop-off, and we’ll see what we can do!
We’re Covid-safe too, and all vans are cleaned thoroughly before pick-up. When road-tripping in one of our builds, you needn’t worry about where you’ll eat next and whether it’ll be safe to do so - simply park up beach-side and get something cooking (we’ve got a list of road-trip recipes on our blog, too).
We’d recommend a trip to Joshua Tree. This is nature at its finest.
Joshua Tree boasts an abundance of campgrounds, trails, climbing boulders, and, when it gets dark, more stars in the sky than you’ve ever seen. It’s recognized as an International Dark Sky Park and offers many visitors the chance to see the Milky Way for the first time in their lives.
Once you’ve spanned the 319,598 hectares of Joshua Tree (OK, probably a little unrealistic) with its many trails, you might want a snippet of the man-made. You could check out Salvation Mountain, a man-made mountain covered in roughly half a million gallons of paint, or the eco-themed, desert-set sculpture garden of East Jesus.
Reconnect on this back-to-nature retreat: wiggle your toes in the sand, soak up the sun, embrace the breeze, and forget your troubles - just for a moment.
But what you really have to do on this trip of a lifetime is look up at the stars at night and breathe in that open country air. Nothing feels quite so good in your lungs.
Find your next adventure van here.