|Photo by Steve Russell, Kansas, December 2020|
Here's what was posted on the Tearjerker website and then re-posted on the FB camping page: "I often see the question from new owners, 'What do I need?' Having just completed the 60th night of my first trip as a solo, middle-aged female traveler, I have a list of what I found very helpful."
- Flexibility: Things will not always go the way you expect. Whatever it is, it’s all good.
- Patience: You will have to wait for any number of people or things; take a deep breath or twenty. Oh, just go ahead and start your yoga practice now.
- Sense of wonder: Leave the campsite; wander about the place, learn to identify things.
- Simplicity: Things need attention. The fewer things you have, the less time you will spend attending to them (and you can go kayaking, hiking, SUPing, birding, etc., see #3).
- Gratitude: you are so very lucky to be able to live like this. Never forget your incredible good fortune. Smile at everyone!
Henry David Thoreau emphasized the need for simplicity in his essay "Economy" from his book Walden. This is an interesting essay because it's not about money, or it is, but in a backwards way from how we normally consider the word--and Thoreau wrote about a century and a half ago! Thoreau said that possessions drag you down. Be rich in time, not dollars. Be rich in freedom, not possessions. Be rich in the wonder of the world, not resigned to working like a beast of burden so that you can own a lot of stuff--and a place to keep all that stuff.
Perhaps ultimately "glamping" is not a function of outfitting but of perspective. When John Muir took his blanket, notebook, loaf of bread, and skillet off into the wilderness, he certainly was appreciating the glamour of camping. When we read his writings, we feel that even now over a century after he trekked his treks and wrote about them. I'm glad I found this little online post about five things we need when camping. After all, our brief time here in the world is just one extended camping trip, isn't it? Enjoy the view, love our traveling companions, and find enough inner peace to appreciate and celebrate as we live our lives. We sit around the campfire and enjoy the light and warmth. The light and warmth of the campfire--now or ten thousand years ago--what does it really matter? We are all sojourners in time, and the flickering light of the campfire is as old as creation.