Get in, Loser, We're Going Camping
As a five-year-old I would lay on the sidewalk outside of my family's Hartford, Connecticut home and watch ants crawl in and out of their hills, sniffing each other and carrying bits of earth to their mounds. I'd let spiders crawl on my hands and make bridges with my finger when it got close to my tips.
But then one day, I got freaked out by nature. I remember how it happened. It was a hodge podge of things. First, I saw Home Alone with MacCauly Caulkin and became just as afraid of the basement as his character Kevin MacCallister. Something about that scary ass furnace, I imagined it in our crowded, industrial-looking basement. Hearing the dryer tumble down there scared me. it was hot just like a furnace, right?? At least, that's what my mind told me.
Then, a rat found its way into our basement, and I remember my mom screaming and freaking out. "How did it get down here?!" she shrieked. She got mad at my dad for not pulling the window closed after he puffed the magic dragon. Needless to say all of the commotion did not make me enthused to venture down into the basement ever again. And fuck all those spiderwebs in the corners. Spiders and basements were friends, so spiders were no longer friends of mine.
Nature and I were over.
After my parents divorced, and they moved on to dating other people, both dating white people, we started doing things we never did as a family previously. Like go on vacations in towns I never heard of, specifically Nantucket.
Camping in a backyard surrounded by a forest was also a new thing I did. I was not looking forward to it. I liked my bed. Sleeping on the ground was for bums, not me! What if it rained? What if a bear got cold? Camping kind of freaked me out as a kid.
But I did it when my dad's girlfriend and her neighbor pitched a tent in the backyard and gathered some sleeping bags and flashlights. All the kids were excited except for me. I was cynical about it.
I lasted one night.
Tried camping again when I went to YMCA's Camp Ingersoll. It was primarily a day camp, but there was an option to stay overnight for some camping fun like the kids did on TV. I was more excited about it this time then I was the previous year because it was a different experience, and I was having some fun at camp.
The excitement was over when I got my period and was miserable with cramps. I had my counselor call my mom so she could pick me up the next morning. Fun time was over.
Now that I am in my thirties, I absolutely love nature. I have embraced it as my friend, and I could never see myself without butterflies, houseplants, and yes, even spiders. My apartment is filled with spiders, and I see them as guides. I talk to them and leave them alone, and they leave me alone. When we find each other, we dance.
I go to the park and sit on logs with turtles in the sun. It's a different time; it's a fun time.
I am currently obsessed with tiny homes, and the prospects of one day living in the forest surrounded by the world's beauty.
When I came across this video about an Airbnb-like company that rents tents from Fast Company, I was immediately intrigued. Tentrr allows people to rent assembled tents stationed on private campsites or farms in parts of the Northeast (mainly New York). I haven't tried yet, but it opens my eyes to the possibilities of the beginnings of camping.
I have my eyes set on camping in Yosemite one day, but I'll start small with a tent in Maine... 😍
Check out Tentrr, and if you try it let me know! I'm not affiliated with them, but I am curious! Happy camping.