Hey, thanks in advance for reading this post. There isn’t a true point to this post. It’s just something that’s been bouncing in my head for years.
I went on my first camping trip in 8th grade. It was pretty fun – most of the 8th grade class went. We all bussed it a couple nights into the mountains where, I assume, the school rented out a YMCA camping ground. I still have photos somewhere, and I can remember freezing my butt off at bedtime.
The next time I went camping, it was straight up car-camping and tubing down a river. I was in my mid-20s and funnily enough, The then-not-Wife stayed home and I went with his group of friends and had a blast. (He likes to say, “I stayed in a movie theater and enjoyed a/c.”) I, on the other hand, enjoyed near 100-F degree weather, not bathing for two nights and enjoying great conversation. I also injured my back when I fell off my tube and the bed of rocks running beneath the water, jacked up my back. No matter. I learned how to pitch a large tent. I learned a Comet-sprinkled perimeter around your tent works really well in repelling red ants. I learned that crapping in a hole in the ground is doable.
The last time I went camping wasn’t really camping. I was in Yosemite, trying to climb Half Dome. Punchline: I failed. I made it almost to the bottom of the steps. I battled stomach issues the whole day. Let’s just get it out of the way: finding places to poop while you are in the middle of nowhere is kind of hard. Especially if you’re not supposed to go off-trail.
These memories always come back to me anytime someone posts a camping photo on Facebook. I just think: yuck.
Someone half-joked to me once: Americans are oddballs because they want to sleep in the dirt because they want to. Yet people in developing countries sleep in dirt because they have to.
That sentiment isn’t quite true, but I can’t help but think it’s close.
I can’t even remember who told me that. I’ve been trying to find the source of the joke for years.
So why do we camp?
Why do we bring all our sh*t from home and pitch a tent? And I mean everything: jugs of water, portable grill, propane, food, sleeping bags, tents, et al. (Throw a baby in there, and the packing doubles! Diapers, wipes, baby clothes, etc etc.)
This isn’t really for debate – whether you’re an oddball or not.
What is it that we are missing from our daily life that we have to drive up to mountain (or lake) and hang out in dirt for a few days?