OK – hear me out. This is not being written from a die-hard, tent-loving, “happy” camper. In fact, I really, REALLY prefer to sleep in a bed…in a house…with a shower…and, without bugs. So, every summer it’s with a little trepidation that I go camping. My extended family has been putting up tents and parking trailers at the same camping site since I was little so tradition summons me out of my comfort zone (literally) each year.
Now that my kids have joined the annual ritual, the expectation is as long as the ever-growing camping supply list. Which is where I will start on why we women need to go camping. If you fall in the uber-organized, ‘to-do’ listing category you are going to meet your match in preparing for camping! If you go for one night or for a week, you still need a carload of the same stuff. There’s the usual characters in a camping trip – you’ve got your tent, your sleeping bags, your bug spray. But, what if rains? What will you cook on? Wait, what will you cook? Oh, don’t forget the s’mores or the firewood or the toilet paper or the bottled water or the cookware. Oh, camping is to-do list heaven.
This last camping trip, I was so unorganized and way unprepared. I remembered to bring the blow-up, queen-size, air mattress and I remembered my little travel-size, make-up remover wipes but I didn’t bring a single thing to cook food on. Good thing I had my family to fall back on or we would’ve starved…or driven 20 minutes to McDonalds. Either way, as a Type-A planner, I was not planning for being unprepared and it was weird. I kinda felt that maybe I could survive even if not every detail was planned. Looking back at all of my “huh, how did I forget that” items I feel a little liberated. I feel a little more relaxed even. It was actually really great for me to be caught off guard and to have to just wing it.
So, here’s where I am going with why women should go camping. Now, I hate to stereotype women because we are all so different. However, almost every woman I know is extraordinarily busy. We all have responsibilities and activities that keep our days pretty crazy, and we all have varying ways we organize and plan to keep our sanity.
Camping provides a wonderful and unique opportunity to become unplugged and unorganized. For that span of camping time, showers become a luxury of your other life, as do toilets, and your entertainment is real conversation with campmates, a crackling campfire and the stars. No technology. No to-do list distractions.
And, camping gives us the rare chance to be creatively spontaneous. Because even if you think you’ve planned for everything Mother Nature has that way of keeping you on your toes. No list or spreadsheet can prepare you for a day of rain that strands you in your tent with only a pack of cards for entertainment. Being able to let go, embrace being unprepared and forget about your list of to-dos can be a real challenge for many women, me included. Every year, whether I love it or not, I am pulled away from reality and thrown into a bit of chaos. And, it’s wonderful.
Vela is all about fun and adventure!