For this story, we will call our hypothetical camper Joe. Joe Man. He's your average man. Works a 9 to 5 job, probably in accounting or something. He has a wife that he loves (even if she’s a nag) and two kids. A real "nuclear family" kind of guy.
Joe tells all his friends at work that he'll be taking Thursday and Friday off of work so he can get an early start on his camping trip with the wife and kids. After work, they all pack up, head out to some remote area with their fishing poles, their food, and all of their amenities that they want to take out of their house.
The weekend is super fun for them. Sure, the kids get yelled at a bit because they won't stop bothering dad and scaring the fish, but what can you do? The little rascals. On Sunday they pack up all their things, go back to their house, complain about how much they have to unpack, and spend the rest of the night at home, watching the newest episode of whatever show is popular on TV.
The next morning, Joe goes into work and tells all his coworkers about the family trip and how great it was. ‘Caught a fish thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis big I did’. ‘Became one with nature we did’. He brags about how great of a camper he is and how he can survive anything. All his coworkers eat it up, tell them about when they go camping, and how the gang all need to go camping together sometime.
Now. Now is this a joke to you? Is this a joke to you Joe Man from probably accounting? Can you actually survive anything? Do you actually live for the uncertainty of kickin' it in the wild?
Then actually do it you coward! Don't go back home to the suburbs, to the urban cityscape. Don't work a 9 to 5 job. Live in the woods! If you love camping so much marry it! I bet that wouldn't be a ball and chain like your nagging wife, am I right folks?
You love the adventure, you said so yourself. You can survive anything. You are the ultimate survivalist. You know the perfect technique to catch fish. You have the entire encyclopedia of flora memorized and stored in your mind. Living in the woods would be a breeze, and from what you say it is your passion.
Yet you settle for the minimum. Tell me, did you stay in a camper? Or did you settle in a tent? Did you camp for a week? Or only a day and night cycle? Did you have your phone in your pocket? Was it to take pictures to memorialize the occasion? Was it to still connect with the news? Was it to post about your adventures on social media? Was it a just in case; a way to call for help if something out of your hands happened?
Before I get the torches made from logs in the campfire, no, camping isn't the issue for me. Me and the boys like to visit the woods once or twice to eat a berry, see a raccoon, and just hang out together.
No, the issue is with those who call themselves "campers." "Campers," or people who consider themselves savvy to the act of camping. These people constantly camp. And campers are a joke. I keep saying different variations of camp. Maybe I should give definitions to those words like my old teachers used to tell me to do in my MLA format essays.
Camp - a place with temporary accommodations of huts, tents, or other structures, typically used by soldiers, refugees, prisoners, or travelers
Camper - a person who spends a vacation in a tent or camp
Camping - the activity of spending a vacation living in a camp, tent, or camper
Something all of those definitions have in common? The idea of this being a vacation. This only being temporary.
Camping is society's way to normalize the idea of living off of the grid, distancing yourself from society, and avoid everyday expectations of modern life while still having your place, your foot, in normal culture.
Your foot is still in normal culture, and you just want to dip your toes into the escapism fantasy of not having to deal with the culture that our society has cultivated. The idea of 'roughing it' in the woods is entertaining until you have to give up all your monetary worth and social status to truly live like that. If you truly wanted to live like that, you couldn't go into work to brag about how great you are at camping and living away from everyone. If you truly wanted to live like that, your likes on social media wouldn’t matter.
Campers are only cowards who wear a veil of survivalist confidence. These people cannot live the life of what they want to be. They cannot live a hermit’s life. Hermits, who are the true deviants to society. Now what is a hermit you might ask?
A hermit, in its dictionary definition, is a person living in solitude as a religious discipline. The modern colloquial usage of the word, though, means a person who is living apart from the rest of society.
Someone who is living off the land, away from humanity as a whole. Someone committed to the lifestyle that campers so desperately want. You would think that people who adore camping would look to hermits as a reference, or a mentor of sorts. Someone to look up to.
Except they do not. They see a person who voluntarily chooses to live in the woods and they label them as the creepy homeless person who lives in the forest. They must be crazy. They must have something wrong with them. Look away, fair children! These low lives will ruin our vacation time.
The ‘return to nature’ isn’t as appealing when you can’t have man made technological items at your disposal. Living among the trees isn’t so easy when all you truly have is your own knowledge.
You stare at the trees in confusion, and they stare at you back, knowing you do not have the resolve to survive. Knowing you are not a true survivalist.
Go eat a berry. You'll feel a bit better. And you're still appreciating nature's boon.