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How to Survive in the Wild*

Photograph by Instagram

“This year,” my husband strongly declared, “this is the year when we take up camping.”

Then there was the sound of crickets. No, not the kind you’d find in nature but the metaphoric ones coming from my stony silence. “Seriously, it would be awesome,” he added. He rarely uses the word, “awesome,” so that’s when I knew he was serious. This is one of those situations where I should probably just suck it up and as Elsa famously sang, “Let it go.” That is if “it” is a roof, electricity and indoor plumbing.

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Here’s the thing. I was ONCE a camper. I was even a Camp Fire girl. When we weren’t selling Almond Roca or baking cookies, we were camping. My parents enjoyed camping and we’d occasionally head off to the woods. And there were those big old school group camping trips. But it’s been decades, yes DECADES, since I have pitched a tent, built a fire or peed in the woods. It’s not just that I’m out of practice, but I am, yes, mildly terrified. So . . . in the interest of giving my daughter those wonderful camping childhood memories and to give my husband the “awesome” he seeks, I’ll give in and give this whole sleeping in the great outdoors thing a try. But, how will I survive? I’ve made a list, one that will make me more comfortable with taking this non-luxurious leap:

• We will pick a campsite close to home

There was a time when I could sleep on the floor, use a jacket as a pillow and drink a non-Sumatra bean cup of coffee.

I don’t want to commit to a long drive there and back my first time back to camping. What if I were to freak out in the middle of the night (there is a 30% chance of that happening) or someone breaks a limb? Or what if those creepy ghost stories put terror into us all? Being an hour or two outside of our city limits will surely give me a bit more peace.

• There will be bacon

In order for me to literally get out of my comfort zone, one should provide some yummy food to keep my stomach happy. Bacon, BBQ and s’mores are just a few of the tempting treats that would totally make that whole tent dwelling thing worth it.

• Be prepared

If you think I’m the kind of gal who would pack light for a camping trip, think again. I won’t just be lugging a whole variety of clothing to ensure that I don’t become too hot or too cold, but I will be bringing a mini-pharmacy that will include and will not be limited to: aspirin, allergy medicine, Band-aids, sunscreen, bug repellent, moisturizer, toilet paper, Kleenex, soap, hand-sanitizer, Neosporin, water, water and more water.

• Bring my own comfort zone

I am at an age where I like, nay need, to be comfortable. There was a time when I could sleep on the floor, use a jacket as a pillow and drink a non-Sumatra bean cup of coffee. But those days are over. There are certain things I like to have to make me happy and those are things that I will, no doubt, be bringing with me on our trip. Such as my favorite down pillow, my coziest pajamas, and yes, my Sumatra beans.

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• Let it go

One of the biggest joys of camping is the change in routine and venues. But for someone who is a creature of habit, this can be hard to do. The number one thing to survive camping is to just let go and enjoy it. As they say, I will let nature take its course.

Are you scared of camping?

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