For some people, this may not be an unusual way to spend a summer night. For me, well lets just say it’s something I’ve spent the last 25 years of my life doing my best to avoid. While I love to travel, I do not like camping. I like the outdoors well enough in small doses, but come nightfall, the only place I want to be is tucked into a comfortable bed inside a solid structure. There’s really nothing about camping that appeals to me; I hate bugs, I don’t like the dark (I’m not scared of the dark or anything, I just don’t see the point of staying outside once it’s too dark to read), I’m not a fan of fishing or boating or motorsports and while my husband loves sitting around a campfire, I just cannot see the point of sitting around getting smoke in your eyes and soot in your hair while scorching the front half of your body and freezing your back. My usual response to any suggestion of camping is that I have invested in a house, I pay my utility bills, I’ve spent lots of money on comfortable furniture; why would I leave all that and go sleep outside?
Now I totally get that there’s a significant portion of the population that disagrees with me completely. Lot’s of people I know love to go camping and go every chance they get. And I can see the appeal that it holds for kids. My mom likes to remind me that as a child I loved to go camping. My usual response is that when I was a child I didn’t know any better. That’s actually quite accurate; my first memory of staying in a hotel was when I was about eleven and all my childhood travel experiences involved our small truck camper. I appreciate that my parents made the effort to show us as much of the world as they could. But now that I’ve gotten used to hotels, I can’t imagine going back to camping.
So, you may ask, how is it that I spent last night doing the very thing I’ve spent my entire adult life avoiding? Well, when I say that camping appeals to kids, I can speak from experience because my own kids are not immune. My daughter especially has been asking to go camping lately and while I’m not about to do something crazy like invest in camping gear, check into a campground or start looking at RV’s, a night in a tent in the backyard seemed like the kind of camping adventure we could handle. And I am trying to keep to the philosophy of being in an adventurous state of mind even when we’re not on the road, so I figured that if I was going to ask my family to go out of their comfort zones, I should be doing the same once in a while. So, thanks to a generous friend who lent me a tent, an extremely patient and long suffering husband and a weather forecast for clear skies, our family found ourselves enjoying a bedtime snack of s’mores (made in the toaster oven because of those pesky things called bylaws) and tucking into our cozy little tent under the stars.
Well, lets just say I’ve added a whole new list of things I don’t like about camping. They include
A) Sleeping on the ground. The kids were perfectly comfortable on their little air beds, but even though we brought up foam pads from the basement, there is no way to feel really comfortable on ground that isn’t perfectly smooth and level, and once you try to sleep on it, you realize that there is no such thing as ground that is perfectly smooth and level.
B) Too much family togetherness. I’ve mentioned in a previous post that we are not one of those families that can sleep all together in one room and when you decrease the space even further it doesn’t get any better. I heard every sigh and grunt the kids made all night and once the first family member is up for the morning, the night is over for everyone.
C) That icky damp feeling inside a tent in the morning. I’d forgotten about this one, but it seems like no matter how clear and dry the night is, you wake up with this dewey dampness on everything. Some people may call it brisk or refreshing. I’m sticking with icky damp feeling.
D) Birds. Why oh why do birds always have to start up with their stupid chirping at such a stupidly early hour?
The kids, on the other hand, seemed to enjoy their little adventure. And at least I can say that I’ve tried it. Maybe someday we’ll try a different type of camping experience and rent an RV for a few days, but for now I can say that our camping days are over for a while. And tonight I’m going to be extra grateful for my warm, comfortable, and indoor bed.