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I like being outdoors. I like it a lot. For the first 18 years of my life, I was able to step outside and be in the woods. Moving away from that has been difficult to get used to. More, I don’t think I want to get used to it. I hope to move somewhere with trees and no very close neighbors as soon as I finish grad school. Definitely no traffic outside my bedroom window.

But until then, I get my outdoor fixes where I can. And now that it’s officially summer, my thoughts have turned, obsessively, toward camping.

Fort William, June 2013

Fort William, June 2013

I love camping. It’s been the vacation of choice in my family for years. Probably forever–somewhere, there’s a picture of my parents and me winter camping when I was about a year old. There’s just one problem: transportation.

Renting a car immediately ups the price tag on a weekend from “every weekend” to “every summer”. No, thank you. So we’ll be carrying our gear. Confession: I’ve never been camping without a car.

Actually, now that I type that, I realize that we did go camping once without a car. Sort of. We drove to a state forest somewhere in ME, loaded the gear for two adults and three children into dry bags and two canoes, and took off for an isolated peninsula. That’s the only time I can remember actually having to purify my own water. I still have fond memories of that trip. In my memories, it didn’t rain the entire time. The water was clear over the pretty, round rocks, and as my parents packed up in the rain, I splashed in the shallows and learned what huckleberries looked like by eating as many as I could reach. So I’m pretty sure that trip was a success.

FarOuterHebrides 2013

Fort William, June 2013

But besides that, I’ve never been without a car, or friends with a car. I’ve definitely never had to camp with no more than I could carry in a single trip. And I’ve never had to trust my gear entirely to the elements, knowing that if a huge thunderstorm rolls up and floods the area, there’s no leaving until the train pulls out the next day. And if my food prep doesn’t work out, there’s no way of getting more. It ups the ante a little. Not to mention that I have no idea what to expect from Scottish campgrounds. There had better be trees. (Not like that time in Mystic, CT. Let’s just say that there were no trees there, and leave it at that.)

So I’ve been reading up a little on camping without a car, although I haven’t found much that I couldn’t have guessed. This was my favorite little gem, from Uncle Dan’s Travel Secrets:

In Europe, campgrounds have been taken to a fine art. Europeans are great campers due to the frequency of hosting world wars that turn whole metropolises into instant tent cities.

I don’t think I can beat that, so have a good weekend and try not to get involved in any wars.

Fort William, June 2013

Fort William, June 2013