Jill Neimark on “The Camping Cure”


January 22, 2014

Science writer Jill Neimark discussed the physical, emotional and spiritual ways that she has improved for the better since starting mold avoidance in the online literary magazine Aeon.

She wrote:

In one sense, I was about to discover an utterly simple answer (fresh air) to an unutterably complex condition (environmental illness). I had suddenly lightened my toxic load. As Bill Sothern, an indoor air quality expert and the founder of the Microecologies firm, told The New York Times last May: ‘The air indoors is 10 times more contaminated than the air outdoors at any given time.’ I didn’t have to test for, or calibrate, or catalogue, the innumerable potential contaminants, since they varied from place to place – fresh paint, synthetic carpet, formaldehyde, mold overgrowth, flame retardants, fabric softener, pesticides, second-hand smoke. I needed only to leave it all behind: to live, temporarily, outside.

But living outside changes you. You slowly unspool from civilisation, and the more you embed yourself in nature, the deeper the alchemy. Most of us sense this; it might be why camping, hiking and wilderness adventures seem to be an ever-greater obsession.


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