Born to be Wild….
‘Wild Camping,’ that is. (and yes, perhaps the latter- too.)
If anyone could look through a looking glass and see what my family vacations were like growing up, it would look almost like we lived in a fantasy land. …I know I thought I did.
*Heads up–Bragging alert ahead!*
Every other year we were insanely fortunate to take a week long winter vacation to a beach OR a tour-tastic trip to Washington D.C OR or a road trip in the station wagon OR skiing down a mountain OR on a cruise in the Caribbean OR encompassed in the glow of Disneyworld. (Which apparently struck it deep in the razzle-dazzle department for my Brother, because I think he and his wife Kristi are on there billionth visit)
And although all the *OR’S* may have not included ‘family camping,’ it wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I took my first REAL camping trip amongst the North shore of Minnesota. The first time I carried everything on my back, didn’t shower for days, ate everything over a small gas fire and of course– had to learn how to ‘squat’ in the woods.
It was like I had opened a new door…The world seemed suddenly so much larger; it was exhilarating. And I couldn’t help but fall madly in love with ‘camping.’
Of course, there are all sorts of camping. Just ‘sleeping out doors’ can be considered as such. Like the night Ray and I ‘tested’ out our new tent for our 6 month trip around the world in 2007 in our backyard in St. Paul. (I seem to remember us coming back inside our house at around 2am to the comforts of our bed). But as we laid there under the starry skies of St. Paul that night, I remember us talking about the idea of zipping up the front of that tent each morning and being submersed in a whole new vista every day. The next 6 months didn’t let us down.
Then we of course decided to step it up a notch…. and got us a ‘tent on wheels.’ And it has opened up a whole new realm of possibilities….which has led me to fall madly deeply in love with ‘WILD CAMPING.’
Our Diva (tent on wheels) is now fully self-sufficient as we have a stove, sink & cooler (with drainage), toilet (no more squatting) and our newest purchase; a solar shower. (Which is basically just a black bag that heats us water in the sun— but incredibly essential.) In other words, as long as her ‘wheels’ can take us there….. we can camp there.
Throughout the last year and a half of our travels, our adventures have been magnified because of this very ability to experience something so raw and so beautiful. Words will never be able to speak for the triumph we feel when we find that ‘perfect spot’ and the satisfaction that our eyes get soaking it all in. Of course, there is the vulnerability that we can feel of ‘being moved on’ at any moment— but that also leads to such an invigorating sensation when you wake up, peel open the red & white checkered curtains and realize nothing stood in your way…. and you didn’t have to pay a penny for the view. (Even a sweeter sensation).
There are actually websites… books… clubs even, devoted just to ‘Wild Camping’- so it is never hard to find a spot along your journey. In fact, Ray and I had the pure pleasure late last year in France of ‘literally’ plummeting down the Mountainous ‘Napoleon Route’ from Grenoble to Nice and using something called ‘Aires of France’ website to find our next place to rest our weary heads. These were not ‘campsites’ but free overnight parking and service points for water collection and sometimes even had bathrooms facilities. Basically, its like a little shove in the right direction and free pass to discover places you would never known existed….vistas so enormous you can’t even wrap your mind around, and small French villages you would never wandered through.
99% of the time we were the only ones there.
100% of the time we were never let down.
Sunday, October 21st- Tarifa, Spain: (Cheating at a campsite called Rio Jara on the beach)
But of course with any kind of camping, especially wild camping its bloody hard work. Everything takes 3x as long…. and where patience is not only virtue but a necessity. Ray and I just made it through one of the most demanding summer work seasons of our lives, and everyone deserves a bit of a ‘convenience’ now & again- hence our week long stay at one of our favorite campsites, Rio Jara right on the coast of Tarifa.
Plus, how else would I be able to blog ‘electrically’ hooked up inside of Diva’s comfy coziness overlooking the beach? ….ah, this might be my most favorite way to write, yet. But tomorrow we ‘de-plug’ and are off on a week long ‘wild camping’ trek along the coast of Spain before we sail off on a 35 minute ferry ride to Africa at the end of the month. (Diva’s 3rd Continent to boot!)
My own personal childhood family vacation to Disney-WORLD….
Cheers to my ‘tent on wheels.’