Sleeping in a tent, a thin layer of material, between you and the elements, on the ground, with the possibility of some of natures finest creations joining you in your tent, having to either pee in a bush, or share a communal toilet with who knows however many other people who haven’t washed their hands or brought their own loo roll? Eating food cooked over a camping stove? Not having somewhere to plug my phone in…? Nope, camping is not for me. I am not a “communing with nature” kind of woman. I like sleeping in my bed, with proper covers and find sleeping bags slightly claustrophobic.
I know that camping is a well loved, and much participated in activity for many people and families. I have friends who ADORE camping and proclaim the joys of their camping trips and holidays, and I have seen the photos on Facebook, but it really just doesn’t float my boat. People keep trying to persuade me to try it, that I will actually LOVE it, if I did. I don’t dislike the great outdoors, at all, in fact I love walks in the country, hill walking and hikes and being in beautiful places, I just don’t want to sleep in them, unless surrounded by four walls and in a bed.
I can tell you, that I have been camping. Proper camping. I can put up and take down a tent, light a camp fire, navigate a map, and all that stuff, thanks to many years of Duke of Edinburgh skills hammered into me at school. We HAD to go camping, when I was in the 6th form, after our exams, we didn’t have any choice, it was a given that unless you were unable to walk, you went. In fact, halfway through this infamous camping trip, I did actually manage to badly damage my ankle after a fall, and could barely walk, but I still had to carry on. It was that kind of trip, “toughen us up, before we left school to face the big wide world”, kind of thing. I hated every moment of it. We slept for one night, next to a sea Loch, on the West Coast of Scotland, and after my tent mate had left the flaps of the tent open, a local, of the four legged, woolly kind decided to visit our tent, and come and get warm (it rained pretty much the whole trip, I think it took me a week to dry out!) and when we decided to evict it, it got angry and in revenge decided to poo all over our tent, so not only were we damp and cold, but we also smelt like sheep poo for a week. Hardly the stuff to inspire me, or make me love and want to camp. A bad experience, maybe, likely not to happen again, probably, but that sealed it for me, and I swore the only kind of tent I would ever spend any kind of time in, would be of the marquee type… 😉
I have so far managed to avoid it it, LSH has gently tried to persuade me that a “little camping trip” with the children might be fun (my reply to these suggestions have been “off you go, have fun, I will miss you all, see you when you get back” or “that’s great, I will find a local hotel to stay in, and meet you every day after breakfast”) but has given up, because he knows I am not likely to cave and attempt it.
But, this week, I am buying sleeping bags, and groundsheets, sourcing out a way of making coffee without access to a coffee machine, and making a list of things I will need, because….
I am going camping…. Yes, after 20 years of resisting, I am going to spend one night, in a tent, sleeping on the ground, sharing a toilet with hundreds of other people, not being able to plug my phone in, and without my home comforts.
Why? It’s for a good cause. It’s part of an activity organised for our Brownie pack, and because I love my Brownie pack, and because Big Girl is going, I have agreed to go. It’s a big thing. We have a whole weekend away planned with a large group of other Brownies (500 to be exact) and we are all camping in tents. The weekend will be fun, and I can cope with just one night, outdoors.
I am facing it with slight trepidation. My family and friends think the whole thing is hilarious, of course and I am getting no end of teasing about sheep, tents, being a city girl, a softie and I think they are all secretly hoping I will be converted to camping as a result. I highly doubt it.
It’s just one night, I will survive, and I think dealing with 500 excited 7-11 year olds will keep me busy and distracted. As long as there are none of these around, I will be fine, I think…. Wish me luck!