Monday, January 3, 2011

On camping

Image via Keewaydin State Park, where we have camped.
One of my goals for the year is to find a way to enjoy camping. Before I start planning this thing, I'm going to share why I hate camping.

First, I pay a goddamn mortgage. I pay a lot of money every month in order to NOT have to sleep outside. I don't like being outside that much anyway, so sleeping in dirt near bugs and poisonous plants is not my idea of relaxing.

Our first camping trip was probably formative in my hating the whole shebang. We got home from our honeymoon, wherein we had pools and maids and beaches and a maitre d' we called Sideburns, spent one night at home, then went to join some friends for a long weekend of camping. In tents. Near rock cliffs. With food in coolers. With no maids, or origami swans made from towels, or Sideburns. Really, camping didn't have a chance.

The friends we camp with don't really help. The dude is a good friend of Andy's, but neither of us are crazy about his girl. She means well, usually, but she just isn't terribly easy to get along with. On more than one occasion, she has started fights with her fiance - yelling and crying fights - when the four of us were stuck in close quarters, like on a boat or in a car. She has particular ways she likes to do things when camping, which means that she spends large amounts of time bossing people around and acting put-upon because she insists on doing everything that needs doing because only she can do it right.

I also don't like camping in the Thousand Islands, where we've gone. We always manage to set up our tent in a place that will get full sun starting at 7:00 am, so sleeping late is out. My first experience with snorkeling was in Jamaica, in 30 feet of crystal-clear water above a coral reef, so snorkeling in the cold, polluted St. Lawrence just isn't terribly appealing. There are no actual beaches, just rock cliffs and ledges. There are a lot of gorgeous mansions but they all come with snotty dudes zooming around on jet-skis. It's pretty, sure, but it could be better.

But Andy really loves camping, and it bums him out when I have a miserable time. We also have lots of friends who swear up and down that they like it, so I assume there must be a way I can do it without hating every second of it. So to be able to cross this thing off for the year, I'm going to think about what it would take to help me like the outdoors. I could spend all day laying on a beach, but only if it's near the ocean, so maybe I'll start looking for sites on the Atlantic. I'll start talking to friends who have proven to be good company for multiple days. I'll start reading up on what makes for an awesome time camping. I'll borrow my parents' big tent (ours is a seven-foot square, with sides that start sloping immediately, which means that my tall husband has to sleep diagonally across the middle of the damn thing). And, possibly most important, I won't mention a word of it to the friends we usually go with.

Do you camp? Any tips to help me learn to like it? Any readers out there agree that camping's the worst??

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