Posted On January 22, 2016

Camping Is Not Required

I’ve never understood the attraction of camping. Although I have plenty of friends and relatives who are avid campers, it’s always seemed strange to me that someone would work hard all year so they can go live outside for a week. I get the togetherness stuff, but why do it in tents with community toilets?

As an adventure, I sort of understand camping. You strap a pack on your back and go hike God’s creation. Cool. But packing up the van like Noah’s ark and driving to a mosquito infested campground where you reconstitute an inconvenient version of your kitchen and your bedroom just doesn’t make sense. Who decided that vacation should be like normal life, only harder?

Every year our church advertises “family camp.” Every year my wife wants to go, and every year we surprisingly end up in some other state during our church’s allotted week. As best I can tell, the appeal of family camp is that the kids, unbothered by parental involvement, run around free and dirty sunup to sundown—a sort of Lord of the Flies for little Michiganders.

But as appealing as it sounds to have absentee offspring and downtime with my friends, there must be a cleaner, less humid way to export the children for a week (isn’t that what VBS is for?). And even if the kids have a great time, the weather holds up, no one needs stitches, and the seventeenth hot dog tastes as good as the first, it will still be difficult to get all the sand out of my books.

I know there are a lot of die-hard campers in the world. I don’t fault you for your hobby. It’s just not my thing. I didn’t grow up camping. My family wasn’t what you’d call “outdoorsy.” We weren’t against the outdoors or anything. We often saw it through our windows and walked through it on our way to stores. But we never once went camping. We didn’t own a tent, an RV, or Fifth Wheel. No one hunted. No one fished. Even our grill was inside (seriously, a Jenn-Air; look it up).

I’ve been largely ignorant of camping my whole life. And I’m okay with that. It’s one more thing I don’t need to worry about in life. Camping may be great for other people, but I’m content to never talk about it, never think about it, and never do it. Knock yourself out with the cooler and collapsible chairs, but camping is not required of me, and I’m fine without it.

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