I got into a conversation with my coworkers today about camping. He-who-must-not-be-named only knows how that subject came up, I think it was because one person had just purchased a tent, but I digress. The point is, I hate camping. There, I’ve said it. I hate camping, I hate sleeping outdoors, in a tent, in a camper, under the stars; I hate hiking and canoeing and fishing; I hate packing a cooler and setting up camp and propane cooking. I just hate it all.
I think under certain circumstances I might be able to enjoy it. Maybe a single night, maybe in an R.V., maybe with an air mattress and friends and booze and a roaring fire, maybe with a goat in a boat or a fox in a box. You get the idea.
Camping is something my family is big on. We went camping every summer when I was younger. We started in tents and then my parents bought a pop-up camper. That, I have to admit, was a little bit better. We went hiking, an activity I despised as an overweight kid; it wasn’t just the exercise you understand, but getting winded in front of people that was embarrassing. We went fishing, it wasn’t horrible, it was just sort of boring, and kind of a waste of time because I hate fish. And when I was older my parents bought a canoe. Don’t get me started.
There were some things that I liked. I liked sitting under the canopy of the camper with the sun shining and breeze blowing. I liked to read a book by a river or a lake. I liked to take photographs of nature. I liked building a campfire and sitting by it at night taking sips of whiskey out of a flask. I even liked wandering around the woods by myself, taking hikes and walks on my own. And these examples have perfectly illustrated the problem. I hated camping when I was younger because of my family, really because I was constantly with people who invaded my space. Succinctly put, I like to be alone.
Solitary activities and alone time are a huge part of my life. I am a loner by personality and being around people all the time makes my skin crawl, just ask KJ how often I disappear to be by myself.
So the question is do I really hate camping? No, probably not. It has been years since I was forced to go and this chance conversation got me thinking about a few things. It’s possible that camping is like brussel sprouts, something I hated as a kid that I could now enjoy. It’s possible that the loner facet of my personality is closing me off to things I could enjoy. And it’s also possible that my stubbornness causes me to miss out on parts of life on principle. So maybe I will try camping again, summer is around the corner and there are enough things I enjoyed that I could probably do it…for one night, with my own camper. Okay, baby steps, self-reflection is exhausting.