Neil wants to take me camping. I want to go camping… well, maybe. Let me start with the fact that it’s not easy to plan a weekend away for us due to my unfortunate retail schedule. I’m part-time and often work one or more of my days on the weekend. Neil’s work demands a huge amount of Monday through Friday, so no leaving on a Thursday night for us or anything like that. I may have a weekend off soon and with the weather warming up in our little chunk of England, our discussion turned to camping.
We have a tent. We have sleeping bags. We are both former Scouts. I have a very clear idea of what camping is, but apparently it’s not compatible with what you can get away with nowadays in England. We had a good laugh this morning comparing what this upcoming camping weekend would involve. My first thought: campfire. Evidently that won’t happen. Wait… camping without a campfire? What do you do when it’s dark? Lamps. Or gas-powered thingies. No romantic glow and crackling embers as you wind down from a day of nature and wide open, lonely space around you. I perhaps have a very American view of camping. Maybe near a river, or the edge of a wood (where firewood can be easily gathered), but never did it cross my mind that we’d likely be at a campsite on someone’s farm with other campers (and possibly caravans) nearby and the tent set up next to our car. I’m far from being a true adventure seeker, but I’m prepared to shit outdoors, mind a fire, and wonder what that spooky noise or rustling sound was- but that doesn’t seem to be what camping is here in Southern England.
I’m willing to give it a try, but I have a feeling that it’s not going to live up to the romantic version of camping that I know from my childhood in the US. We just have more space out there perhaps. And maybe our young country refuses to give up the pioneer spirit of camping rough, but to pitch a tent someplace that will likely have toilet facilities and perhaps running water isn’t my idea of getting out in the wild, rather, it sounds like an occasion for me to wonder why we didn’t just spend the night in a B&B.
Prove me wrong, England. Is there still ‘real’ camping here? If so, where? I’ll bring the marshmallows.