Being outside

Before this weekend, I could confine memories of camping to the next six sentences, plus four sentence fragments: One small, blurry reflection of a weekend in college that involved white water rafting. The Ocoee River. I’m sure I was the weakest link. I’m not even sure how I ended up agreeing to go.

Another memory is with my parents, too many years ago to count. It’s a pleasant enough memory, but the details are fuzzy. I’m sure there was a tent … And, some vienna sausages … I should ask my dad. He would remember.

Despite these faint memories, I remember equating life in India to camping on more than one occasion. You know, no dishwasher. No air conditioner. Mosquitos. Humidity hair. Same, same.

Then, I moved to the Pacific Northwest, where camping is pretty much a sport. Everybody camps. Well, except the two people who say, “I don’t camp” like it’s a badge of honor. (I thought about naming you, but figured I’d let you stay in the shadows.)

Since Seattle gets about a week and a half of “real” summer — meaning the days one is comfortable wearing a tank top, pants and flip flops, with an emergency hoodie on hand — we have to be strategic about getting outside. And since tourists know this too, the hotels, cabins, VRBO houses, etc., fill up fast and get a little pricier. I also live in a second floor condo, which gets a little tricky for “hanging out in the yard.”

I probably would have said, “I don’t camp,” myself since I can only remember two experiences with camping in 33 years. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized, I hadn’t really given myself a chance to like or not like camping. And, if there was ever a time to experiment, this was the time. So, camping. Yea.

We Camped. I feel obligated to share my reflections so that I don’t forget them next time because I am a writer.

The Awesome Things

  • Camping two miles from the Pacific Ocean.
  • Being outside. The quiet. The stillness. Yada-yada.
  • S’mores.
  • Sleeping pills. No TV.

The Less-than-awesome Things

  • The three hours it took to set everything up and begin “camping.” I helped with the velcro things on the rain cover and holding the scalpel stakes and by saying “Oh my gosh! Can you believe how long this is taking?”
  • Walking half a mile to go to the bathroom three times in the middle of the night. I certainly don’t remember that happening in college.
  • Bugs. Where were all of you people who said Washington doesn’t have bugs?
  • Being dirty the whole entire time. Ew. (Probably didn’t bother me as much in college, either.)

And, since I know you’re all dying to know: Yes, we would do it again. Because it’s so great to be close to nature. Because it’s cheap. Because we don’t have a lot of opportunities to be outside. 

One Reply to “Being outside”

  1. Love this Andrea..sounds like you enjoyed yourself! I proudly wear the “I don’t camp” badge..although I have some special memories from past experiences…thanks for sharing!

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