Do i look like I camp?

It seems to be, for me, a curiously British invention. Bar the exception of a teenage drinking ‘get away’, I must admit I hadn’t even considered camping for the best part of a decade. That was, until we toyed with the idea of a camping ‘work social’. It was beset with the usual administrative difficulties – but overwhelmingly, it was the creature comforts and weather unpredictability that really saw it bite the dust.

Aside from other 17 year olds without a house, making their own amusement (little of which was centred on sleeping), I wasn’t aware camping was something people still DID when they were old/earned enough to pay morgages/rent/package holidays. I was surprised to hear that it wasn’t just ‘done’ amongst my colleagues but that it was rather  popular. Indeed, those involved harked back to it with a misty gaze recounting the joy of heavy rain and slopping around in dirt.

Camping may have shed its hippy dippy badge, embraced by the mainstream festivals, recession friendly holiday makers and those who Q for tickets or limited-edition this-and-that but I suspect not everyone is so enchanted. Looking at Sinéad, her immaculate hair and impeccable nails don’t scream “tent lover”. I dare say, she also wouldn’t be wild for considering the joys of trailer living for any extended length of time either.

I then turned to thinking of the other cultural groups of Britain and how they react to this ‘institution’. Perhaps its the traditionally larger families of Irish and Asian communities that make camping appear to be such a frightfully ‘Anglophile’ pass time. I, for one, have no nostalgic pull towards outdoor countryside life – perhaps an outlook shared by the many thousands of ‘non native’ Brits whose families have arrived in the past few decades. I had always associated ‘simple living’ and basically any practise that involved sleeping minus a roof with poverty and wanted no part of it.  I had never before considered it a cultural marker.

I’m clearly not alone, as a satirical website puts it
“If you find yourself trapped in the middle of the woods without electricity, running water, or a car you would likely describe that situation as a “nightmare” white people refer to it as “camping.”

Am I sorry it didn’t happen this summer? A little, I feel like I’ve missed a bit from my ‘cultural exchange’.

Would I do it with my kids? Well, I suppose that depends if I like them.

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