Are campers born or made?
I find myself asking this question more and more the older I get. My family were not campers. It was never a question when I was younger. We had friends who camped and friends who didn’t. I never wondered whether we would become a camping family; after a few bad experiences with school camps I was really glad we weren’t one.
My husband did come from a camping family yet felt that his years of highschool cadet camps killed any desire of carrying on the tradition with our children. Again, I never questioned it. I was still of the opinion that campers were definitely born.
But lately a lot of our friends have begun camping with their children. Most are from camping families (in keeping with my theory of campers being born) but some are new to camping as adults.
‘You should try it!’ they have enthused. ‘The kids will love it!’ they continue. ‘Yeah, it would be great to see Germaine camping!’ the men say and I don’t think it’s because they think I will love it.
But lately I have been thinking about it. Not about staying in a camping ground or caravan park but about pitching a tent in the middle of nowhere. With small children and living in a busy city there is something quite intoxicating about the thought of getting away from everyone and everything. Sitting around a campfire with my family and seeing only the stars, listening to the sounds of the birds, hearing the twigs snap and leaves crackling as you walk, being able to shut the outside world away.
Recently Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan wrote about camping with his daughter on his website Apartment Therapy and what he said resonated:
‘When you step out of your carefully constructed home, you can meet the world in a fresh way. And it all depends on mastering the humblest of activities: setting up a tent, cooking a meal, sleeping on the ground.’
But a big part of me still wonders if it’s too late; that campers really are born and definitely not made.
Photo from Country Living via Apartment Therapy