Wednesday, April 4, 2007

So this is camping???


I have been wrestling with this whole notion of what the term 'camping' has come to mean and why.


To me, camping is a spirit or maybe even a state of mind that results from the shedding of modern conveniences and distractions and reducing things down to simpler essentials. (The purest form of camping would be backpacking where the object of the game is to have exactly what you need and nothing else.)


Strangely, this process facilitates more of an awareness of ones own existence. The senses become more amplified. The thoughts become less cluttered. It just feels good.


One of the weaknesses of our capitalistic society though, is that marketing tactics tend to pick at our wants and desires and paint magnificent images of the virtues of what we don't have. This in turn drives us to wanting more, more, more which is completely contrary to the aforementioned simplification process. So we go from a tent, to a camper shell, to a tent trailer, to an RV, to a summer cabin etc. and that spirit of camping just gets lost in the clutter. Unfortunately, I'm not sure we realize what's going on or what we are missing.


I talk with folks who tell me things like, "I took my son/daughter camping but they hated it". But then you ask and find out that their son or daughter spent the whole trip with either their IPOD or their cell phone in their ear or they just had to have their best friends along for someone to talk to or they spent the whole trip watching videos or even satellite TV with the generator running outside the RV.


( A very valuable lesson that backpacking has taught me is that things own you as much as you own them. Maybe more, as we may not ever know how much 'things' distract us from who we are . )


I suspect some of you might be thinking I'm being a socialistic hypocrite here. After all I do sell camping products. Actually my point is to maybe, get some discussion going about what camping really is.


Who knows maybe you're missing the whole point......or maybe I'm missing it?