Over the Easter weekend, I was fortunate enough to get back to basics and camp along the River Murray with my friend and her family. It was nothing on the horrendous school camps I have endured over the past five years, but it did share my favourite quality of camping, that is getting to know people in a smelly, un-technological manner. Although Nicki Minaj did grace our presence in the form of portable speakers, this was one of my few connections back to pop culture.
Camping, in its finest form, has a strong power upon an individual. In one sense, it reminds you how much you love nature. How much you long to runaway into the wilderness and live off the land, warming yourself with bonfires opposed to heaters and washing yourself in a river rather than a shower. On the other hand it reminds you of the necessity that is deodorant and why our new age bug deterrents are capable of possibly wiping out species. Not that I don’t love all creatures no matter how big or small, I will kill them if they awake me at all hours leaving a constant ringing in my ears.
Games such as charades that have stood the test of time came out nightly, in the cringeworthy “I hope I’m not up next” manner we all know. I can safely say we all feel a little uneasy when we watch someone act out something that not one person can pick. Food tastes as if it was the same quality meal as the Queen would be consuming, and indulgent foods such as chocolate remind us why we don’t live off the land.
The family, who come from the river lands, awoke me to a much different form of tubing than I had once recalled. Eleven year old me remembers a joy ride, with an occasional bump from side to side as I screamed out of happiness as we made our way down the river-bends. Sixteen year old me lives to tell a different tale. This so called “leisure” activity had me, so I thought, clinging on for life. The screams of fear on a tightly packed tube left me realising how little exposure I had to these water sports, so I exposed myself some more.
Eleven year old me remembers kneeboarding as a horrible experience. Not able to get up on my then recently recovered knee left me assuming my kneeboarding days were long gone. Sixteen year old me, on the other hand, had a much more enjoyable experience. From 100km an hour on the tube to 20km an hour on the kneeboard, I finally conquered the sport and found myself enjoying it much more than my traumatic tubing experience. I didn’t jump, flip or intentionally make it off the wake (the time I accidentally did is a whole other story), but I was up nonetheless.
The trip, as a whole, reminded me why I came home so happy from the school camps. Not that I was about to hop into a warm shower and connect back onto Facebook, but because of how simple and social camping is as a whole. In a few weeks I will undoubtedly fall back into my “I fucking hate camping” mind set, but for now I’m ready to pack up the sleeping bag, two minute noodles and old clothes for a week outdoors. Oh, and the essential Nicki Minaj music.