Camping and RVing is one of life’s greatest adventures, and the best part is it may be enjoyed by just about everyone. No matter if you’re a wealthy executive or a retired pensioner with limited income.
If you can manage to buy or borrow a tent and can afford a tank of gas or a bus ticket the world is your oyster.
Camping is a great way to escape the pressures of daily life and enjoy some true relaxation. Getting away is more a state of mind that doesn’t need to be measured in distance.
I realized this many years ago when my wife and I would pack up and drive for less than an hour to a spot next to a river. We would sit and gaze at the water for hours on end. Sometimes the weather was unsettled or even raining. We would erect a rudimentary shelter just far enough away from the campfire so the smoke wouldn’t drift over us too often.
Laying half prone in our lounge chairs covered in a warm blanket, reading, listening to music, napping or just staring at nothing in particular. These times are what life is all about.
This brings to mind a memory of what my father would often say, “the white man works all year to live for two weeks like the Indians live all year”. This is obviously not politically correct by today’s standards. I imagine this statement must have been handed down for generations, Aboriginals haven’t lived in tee pees for many decades maybe even a century.
What is the attraction? Camping is certainly not easy, cooking over a temperamental stove half the size of the one at home, fetching water that seems to move farther away with every trip, splitting firewood while trying not to bury this foreign tool in one’s foot , sleeping on a foamy with a rock pocking you in the wrong spot or on an air mattress that always goes flat during the night.
Trying to dress yourself while half crouched in a tent made for pygmies. Then stumbling out into the cold morning air that hits you like a slap in the face. Now try to light a fire with damp paper that you forgot to put away the night before after one too many glasses of your favorite beverage.
The uncooperative flame finally springs to life now that you are ready to vomit after inhaling too much smoke while blowing on the embers for a spark.
It seems to take hours for the fire to grow enough to cut the chill from the air, by this time the blazing sun is melting the butter that was forgotten by everyone except for the flies.
You open the cooler to see your groceries bobbing in the water from the melted ice because you forgot to open the drain plug. The soggy bread turns to muck as you try to salvage a slice to toast over the fire that now is to hot to allow you close enough.
Your new camping chair has a large burn hole from an errant ember, this matches the hole in your new hoody next to the wine stain that slopped after a swing at a pesky mosquito.
Washing dishes the old fashioned way in a too small plastic sink, in water heated on the stove that is always too hot so you burn your fingers several times testing for the right temperature. Then rinsing the dishes in shocking cold water that numbs your burnt fingers enough to cause a dish to land in the dirt.
So what is it that draws many of us to endure such hardships, when we could be sitting at home in our climate controlled houses watching the latest block buster movie and eating a delicious snack warmed for a few seconds in the micro wave.
Why do we want to live like our caveman ancestors, dodging smoke from an open fire, cooking simple meals that seem to fill our senses, and drinking wine till it’s too dark to find the smelly outhouse? Well maybe not the wine, but the way they lived would drive any sane man to drink.
There are many opinions why the human race has spent thousands of years trying to improve on our creature comforts so much that most of us never need to be uncomfortable at any moment in our lives.
We never need to be cold, too hot, wet, hungry, thirsty or uncomfortable in anyway……………..Yet we will pack up some minimal supplies, drive for hours into the night to a forest or desert filled with critters and insects that one bite could cause severe discomfort, paralysis, or even death, not to mention the many creatures with their sharp teeth and razor claws just waiting to pounce.
Maybe that’s the attraction, the adventure of living away from the safety and comfort of our homes. Roughing it as our ancestors did when they arrived in North America with only a wagon, oxen, and some simple tools, to carve out a new life.
Maybe it is in our genes to explore distant lands or sail the high seas in search of new adventures like our European ancestors did?
Whatever it is………. camping seems to have an irresistible draw on many of us.
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