Monday, May 25, 2009

Camping - I Don't Get It

It's officially summer, and people are out camping. It's a tradition in BC to spend the first long weekend of the year - Victoria Day, May 20th - camping. It's never appealed to me, and certainly not this year when we didn't get a decent day of sun until about halfway through the week following the holiday.

Nevertheless, there's a lot of hype around camping, and so I have been trying my best to figure out what the appeal is. Because as it says in the title, I don't get it. Here's what I've figured out so far.

1. Theory: Camping is a good chance to get out in nature. Agreed! If you live in a city and the only green you see is bordering your office building's entryways, then camping is a great chance to see some lovely foliage. My objection: I don't feel a lack of green in my life. I live in a medium-sized city right on the coast, and I see lots of nature, not to mention the ocean, every single day. I am not aching for fresh air.

2. Theory: You can go swimming! Again, if you live somewhere far away from lakes, oceans, and rivers, and need to drive for a few hours to find some, camping nearby might be a good idea. My objection: I can go swimming in a lake, an ocean, or a river, anytime I want. But I don't, because I'm afraid of sharks. Shut up.

3. Theory: You can sit around outside all day! I have this lovely green place with comfy lawn chairs and a picnic table where I can do just that, and it could not possibly be more close to hand. I call it my yard.

4. Theory: Camping is a fun opportunity to get a little drunk with your friends, because no one has to drive home. I don't drink, so I really can't see the appeal of this one.

5. Theory: You can get away from it all! Most of my "all" I am pretty fond of. That's why I keep it nearby.

Mostly, to me, camping just seems like a lot of work: packing up everything you need (shelter, food, drink, entertainment, furniture), driving in a cramped car to your campsite, unpacking everything and setting it all up, then spending two days and nights scratching in the dirt, fighting off insects, and listening to the drunken yahoos in the site next to you. Then you pack up everything again - except now everything is wet and/or dirty and/or smelly - and head home, sunburnt and exhausted. And THEN you spend another two days cleaning and scrubbing everything down. And people find this relaxing?

(It's just occurred to me that the pioneers of yore would probably think that our custom of going out and "roughing it" for a few days, when we don't have to, is utterly ridiculous and possibly a sign of mental illness.)

I really do want to understand camping. If you enjoy camping, please tell me why. What am I missing?

7 comments:

Kim said...

I enjoy camping, but to be fair, I let Brad do all the setting up :) I'd much prefer it to be in a small motor home, though, or a camping hitch!

sarapants said...

For me, I think a big part of it is #5. And seeing as how you're fond of your all, and don't want to leave it behind, I can see why this doesn't appeal to you. You enjoy going up the lake though, and much of these theories would apply to that as well....so maybe you're not as anti-camping as you think you are!

rheadeja said...

I love sleeping in a tent outside.....

Which I suppose I could do in my backyard, but the neighbours might find that a little strange....

Amberism said...

I get the same excitement going to the lake to stay in a cabin, or going to Tofino and staying in the trailer, that I do when Steve and I have gone backpacking. So for me it isn't just camping.

It's a combination of things - one is just the getting out of Dodge. New surroundings, new birds, new vistas. And I can't explain this one, but my kids at least, LOVE camping. Maybe it's because it's 100% quality time as we're not doing the typical "chores" or distracted by things like bushes needing pruning and the like.

The other, and this might sound odd, is spiritual. I'm not a typically spiritual person in the sense of the church/God/religion. I don't find that spiritual connection in that situation for whatever reason (although I HAVE tried) but hiking, backpacking, boating, all of that grounds me. Makes me thankful to be in the presence of so much beauty, what God or the Big Bang or what-have-you created just for us.

And it never fails to remind me, in a big way, how much my existance and my children's existance depend on keeping nature whole. Brings it all back how our eco-system is so precious and that I must do my part.

So, yeah, all of that you can totally get that without sleeping in a tent, but I love sleeping in a tent ;).

Anonymous said...

It's cheap entertainment for families that can't afford hotels.

Carlton Marlon said...

Camping is known to be the most amazing and extraordinary experience that everybody will definitely enjoy. Aside from that camping is the most tranquil type of pastime that you can share with your friends and family.

Richard and Jean said...

Hi. I have a blog at www.picturecamping.com where I feature people's posts about camping, and I would like to send my readers your way. Of course I would give you credit for quotes and would link back to your site.

Thanks for considering this,

Jean B. in SC

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