It’s late spring in Kansas. Hot, humid and thick with things that scurry, crawl, fly and bite. Unquestionably the worst of all are ticks. I don’t need to traipse through the jungle – they like me and seek me out. Unsurprisingly, I don’t like this at all.
For those unaccustomed to the Mid-west let me assure you there is no good time to be here. People love it for a number of reasons, none of which relate to climate. My mother shared a story with me about a “Field of Dreams” 25th anniversary reunion in Iowa. All I could think about were the things that must have been buzzing ferociously around poor Kevin.
Bugs have been a nuisance but they have alerted me to a deeper malaise – our descent into camping.
Since we started this adventure we have generally moved from campground to campground. Some much better than others, but campgrounds nonetheless. There have been limited forays into the exotic world of boon-docking including a Wal-Mart parkling lot in Atlanta and a US Forestry Service road in the San Juan National Forest.
Never have we really been alone. Even in the San Juan National Forest there were other campers around. Or in the case of our week alone in Petit Jean State Park, there were plenty of state employees to provide uninvited company.
So no matter how we may be guilty of presenting it, this isn’t “Into the Wild.” I am convinced there isn’t any “Into the Wild” left in the states we roam, no matter how crafty we are at taking photographs.
Truth be told, much of the time we’re in the proximity of people without shirts. There are people in golf carts checking on us. There are bugs.
In short, and in truth, we’re camping.
A reasonable person would probably be thinking, “you’re in a camper at a campground. What on earth did you think you were doing?”
Right. We actually really enjoy meeting other people – many of whom wear shirts. This descent into ramble is not really about wilderness camping vs. campgrounds. The shirts thing and bugs are just “lest you forget you are camping” reminders.
The thing is, when we embarked on this adventure our goals were to achieve greater simplicity, freedom and health. We weren’t thinking, “we love camping and wish we could camp every day.” The camping part was rather tangental to the whole thing.
We have made great progress towards our goals. We have downsized, simplified, rekindled our sense of freedom and wonder (and discovered disturbing limits) and our health has improved measurably.
But, perhaps inevitably, we seem to spend a lot more time simply camping now. We could survive a zombie apocalypse – for a while.
It’s a lull that filled us with doubt but we we’re re-committing to why we started. To simplicity, freedom and health.
Most immediately we must leave the bugs behind.
– Anthony, Pomona State Park, Kansas and in the air on AA 3701 to San Francisco