The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Monday, February 13, 2006
I do not tent
My mother recently wrote about some of her favourite summer memories from when she was a kid. They mainly revolved around her trips to the lake with her father and sister, renting a cabin, and getting back to nature.

When I was a kid, she decided that her outdoor nature experiences should be carried over to the next generation: to my sister and me. So, sis and I joined the Brownies and Girl Scouts, went on a few camping trips as Scouts (earned a couple of badges), and went camping with my mother and father once or twice.

idyllic cabin in the mountainsI learned a lot on those camping trips. As Scouts, we stayed in cabins, on folding cots. We enjoyed everything about camping, with the exception of being kept up all night. In fact, it was so perfect, I often fantasized about having my own little cabin in the woods, as long as I wasn’t bunking with 16 other girls who snore and giggle all night. My mother came with me on one of those Scout trips, and it was the best camping trip ever. None of the other moms had indoor activities planned for a rainy day, but my mother, with her experience as a teacher, came prepared. So, we had sing-alongs with the lyrics drawn in large letters on huge sheets of white paper, visible to all in the room. There’s nothing funnier than a room full of 12-year olds singing “Georgie Girl” and “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.”

Camping with my family was a bit different, however, even with Mom there. I have figured out why. It’s because we slept in tents. I’ve decided that tents are no fun, and, as an adult, I’ve never had the desire to buy one.

Tents are hot and sticky in the summer. If you want to take a break during the day and have a rest in a cool place, a tent is not the place to go.
Bear in a tent
Tents do not keep out the bugs and nature. I know of people who have woken up with a) a snake in their sleeping bag, b) a bear in their tent, and c) wearing their tent in a downpour. On these tenting trips, I woke up covered head to toe in mosquito bites. I am severely allergic to mosquito bites. I looked like I had chicken pox.

Tents are great for backpacking, but how much can you get to know an area if you’re just walking through it? I’d rather spend a few days in one area in a cabin and discover my favourite spots.

I’ve gotten sick on camping trips. You do not want to be stuck in a stifling, sweaty tent when you are sick. Especially if they smell of mildew and you have a sensitive stomach. I usually wound up getting sick on camping trips, after the S’mores. At least I got to have S’mores.

My sister and I used the two little 2 man tents we owned, to camp in our back yard. It was fun camping out in the summer, to sleep in the yard, as we felt a sense of adventure overtake us. We had our pocket knives for whittling, some Tang in a thermos, and our flashlights and books. By 2 am, however, we were back inside because the mosquitos were eating us alive, even though we covered ourselves head-to-toe with OFF! repellent. You have to understand – our property bordered on a marshy creek. It was mosquito heaven and we were the banquet.

So, I don’t do tents, as much as I love the outdoors. People have tried forcing me to try to reconnect with tenting. It’s never worked. Thankfully, I am married to a man who does not tent either. We’re a match made in camping heaven.

posted by Melanie O. at 4:25 PM -
  • At 8:36 AM, Blogger chimera said…

    Ha, I don't tent either. Or camp, or generally do anything that involves being away from electricity and running water (and no, I don't mean a babbling brook or mountain stream) for more than several hours at a time !

  • At 11:36 AM, Blogger LivinginOz said…

    chimera - we are kindred sisters, LOL! Actually, I can live without the electricity, but a nice spring water pump for running water is good. Just no tents - not even large 6 man tents with built-in awnings and mosquito nets. Maybe a yurt would be OK though.

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About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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