Making Sense of My Sense of Adventure

Sense of AdventureI know I had a pretty good childhood with very loving parents who wanted to provide for me as best as they could and  that they did.  But sometimes I felt I missed out on certain things in my childhood. Things that many of you probably took for granted.  Although loving, my parents were also very overprotective of their first-born daughter, especially my dad. I wasn’t allowed to go to sleepover parties for quite some time. I was only allowed to sleep over at my cousin’s because they knew her parents. Initially I had to have a chaperone at birthday parties. I wasn’t enrolled in organized sports because they were considered “dangerous”. I dabbled in various different sports in high school, but never found a particular sport that I could focus on in excelling in. I often wonder if I would have been a decent soccer/basketball/volleyball/tennis, etc player if I had started playing any one of those sports at an early age. Instead, I joined the dance team, student council and the student newspaper to improve my chances of getting a scholarship.

I was enrolled in things such as piano (which I hated), dance classes (jazz I liked, ballet I HATED) and enrichment math classes (definitely hated that too). I had to beg my parents to let me go on a week-long high school trip.  I had to beg my parents to let me go clubbing. I didn’t  have the guts to sneak out.  So it was quite apparent that I needed to go away to university. Of course my parents suggested local universities and disagreed with me applying to universities that were more than a 3 hour drive away. So we settled on a university that was an hour away. Far enough to be away from my parents, but close enough to come home on the weekends for groceries and laundry. This was the first adventure for me.

Living on your own in residence, being away from home and friends, juggling a demanding workload in a tough program, trying to make new friends- eventually it all got to me. As many frosh had experienced, university life was a huge adjustment. First year was a big adventure I did not end up conquering. I ended up switching programs, having to start over and make new friends, which I was never really good at in the first place. Eventually, everything did end up working itself out. I adjusted to student life, made a great group of friends and enjoyed my program.

My bf lived a completely different life. He grew up with pretty laid back parents who let him do whatever he wanted. He played organized sports and did all the things that most kids were allowed to do. Sleepovers and birthday parties were never questioned. He was so comfortable that he lived at home while he went to a local university. I hate to say it, but he had the childhood I wanted. I actually envied him for being able to have so much freedom at such a young age.

When we talk about  how we each grew up (and not too far from each other either), my bf says he felt he got all his sense for adventure out of his system at an early age.  I believe it had a lot to do with our individual upbringing and the fact that I was the first born daughter.  But also we are of different cultures. His dad grew up in Canada and his mom’s family has lived in Canada for several generations.  Now that I am an adult, I almost feel I have to make up for lost time. Do the things that I never got to do as a kid and more.  I constantly want to try new things and go to different places. Where has this sense of adventure taken me? Backpacking in Europe, treetop trekking and ziplining,white water rafting, surfing, mountain biking in Whistler, glacier hiking, portaging, rappelling off a cliff  and  eventually hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Every time I tell my parents I’m doing these things, they still say its dangerous. But life can get boring if you always play it safe and don’t tap into your sense of adventure.

 

Does “Glamping” defeat the purpose of camping?

What is glampingAs much as I consider myself to be an active and somewhat adventurous person, I don’t think I can consider myself outdoorsy. My parents were not outdoorsy people, thus I did not have a lot exposure to the great outdoors until I was a young adult in my early 20s. That may seem quite shocking, considering I live in a country (Canada) where it is known for its beautiful landscape. Who wouldn’t want to experience what the national and provincial parks had to offer? Well, my parents. The idea of sleeping outdoors and cooking outdoors never really appealed to them. It seemed like hard work. (When you really think about it, it is! But if you really enjoy doing that stuff, then it probably doesn’t seem like work to you). I often wondered if this reminded them more of their childhood and they saw it more as a chore, rather than a fun experience.

I have gone camping on several occasions, ranging from car camping to backcountry camping/ portaging for four days in one of the largest provincial parks. For those of you who are unfamiliar with portaging, it is the method of hauling your water craft (such as a canoe) and equipment ( food, clothes, water, tent, cooking gear, and the list goes on) over land between two bodies of water. My ex and I would canoe for 3-4 hours each day and carry our canoe and cargo to our campsite and set up.

Was it an amazing experience? Absolutely. The water was so clean, calm and peaceful.  It was just us and the sights and sounds of nature. We didn’t encounter any bears, thankfully, but still put our food in a bag and tied it up in a tree, away from our campsite.   Imagine being able to seeing a night sky full of stars and city noise pollution being a million miles away.

Would I do it again? It’s a definite no. Why? If you think plain old car camping is a lot of work, then backcountry camping and portaging is not for you. It helps to be in somewhat good physical shape, since you are constantly hauling gear and paddling to your campsite. There were no garbage cans at the sites. We had to bring EVERYTHING with us. Getting to your campsite to set up before dark is everyone’s goal. But just imagine trying to PADDLE to your campsite before dark.  I went portaging several years before I was fit, but even now I still wouldn’t do it again. It was just one of those, I’ll try it once, to experience it and say I did it.

So you must have already figured out now that I’m not too fond of camping. I do appreciate the scenery though. I just can’t sleep properly in our big comfy king sized bed, let alone sleep in a sleeping bag with the sleeping mat. Mosquitoes LOVE me, I mean REALLY love me. Just how caffeine doesn’t seem to keep me awake, bug spray does not seem to work on me either.

I do appreciate the fact that camping is a frugal and fun (for some people) form of vacation. That is one of the reasons why my bf and I did it during our East Coast trip, to save money on accommodations.  However, “glamping” is a not so frugal form of vacation. Glamping is one of those new words that you’ll hear and have to look up on urban dictionary. It is a fusion of the words glamourous and camping. Glamping is luxury camping.

This is how glamping.com defines glamping:

“Recently, a global trend has caught fire that offers outdoor enthusiasts an upgrade on rest and recreation. It’s called glamping, a new word for a new kind of travel, defined as glamorous camping. When you’re glamping, there’s no tent to pitch, no sleeping bag to unroll, no fire to build. Whether in a tent, yurt, airstream, hut, villa or treehouse, glamping is a way to experience the great outdoors without sacrificing luxury.”

So you’re not sacrificing luxury, but from what  it seems, you may be sacrificing your wallet. This is an extreme case: the  Four Seasons Tented Camp in Thailand goes for $1729 USD/per night.  Whereas a yurt rental in California goes for $145/night. Might as well get a hotel room. Does an actual bed in a tent seem ironic? Or just plain weird?  One would think that because I am an odd person who likes experience adventure, but hates rolling up sleeping bags, glamping would be perfect for me. Probably, but the frugal side of me doesn’t seem to think so. I almost feel like it defeats the purpose of really experiencing camping. Call me crazy, but I like to experience things in an “authentic” way. I like to think of myself as more of a traveller, than a tourist.

Perhaps glamping is only meant for extremely wealthy people or celebrities, because they are perceived to be high-maintenance (Hello, J. Lo).

What are your thoughts on camping and “glamping”?