And then there is my camping stuff. It takes up a whole section of the garage. I haven't been camping in about a year and before that it was more like two years.
I love camping. And I am not getting rid of my stuff!
But, while I am trying to make sense of the garage, I hear the voice of my phantom spouse in my head nagging me about my camping stuff. Am I really ever going to go camping again? I have a house and a dog and I no longer live in beautiful California where the weather is perfect and there are alpine mountains and rivers and beaches. Nor do I live in Utah or Wyoming where there are even more mountains and lakes and vistas and trees and wilderness galore. Its hot here. There are lots of sketchy bugs and snakes and flash floods and other nasty things and anyplace nice is at least 2 hours from my home in the the city.
So basically, I have a sitcom episode going on in my head where the wife wants the husband to get rid of his precious whatever and he resists and they have a whole freaking episode about whatever it is. In this case its a tent and a sleeping bag and a backpack and a camp stove, etc.
I think it's interesting that I am the man in this episode. I find myself being the man is most of the sitcoms episodes which play only in my mind.
And I am glad that this is my house, my garage and I can keep all my camping stuff no matter how much room it takes up!
This whole experience should make me simply smile and spend another day thinking how grateful I am that I am single. But, when it comes to camping, one of the reasons I don't camp anymore is lack of company. I have no problem with camping by myself. I'm not scared of the dark or anything like that. But camping, most of often, is a social activity, an opportunity to bond without all the distractions of technology and modern life. It is about simplicity. I could always go with my dog and we could bond an marvel at the immense creativity and engineering brilliance of nature. And if I have a chance to go camping and nobody to do with, that is what I'll do.
But I do miss camping with friends. I miss ambling conversations and ambitious hikes and lounging in whatever body of water we are next to. I also miss the combined energies and the building enthusiasm, the mutual excitement surrounding a trip.
I am a member of several meetup groups which have camping and hiking outings on their calendars but I can never seem to get the right days off from the rest of my life to go with them. Plus, if I have to choose between going with a group and going by myself, I would rather go solo. I don't want general company. I want good company. Camping is a test of compatibility.
If I were sitting around with time to go camping saying: "But I can't go camping by myself. Its too hard. I'm too scared. Blah. Blah. Blah." Then I would kick myself in my own Singlution and tell myself to throw that stuff in the car and just start driving until I found a pretty place to pitch my tent.
But I have camped solo. And it was wonderful and it was also boring. After 24 hours, I was tired of my own thoughts and just went to bed early. I guess, when it comes down to it, the thing that I love about camping is not merely being alone in nature but sharing that experience with someone.
So my mission now is to find someone new to share it with. And to put a priority on finding some time to go camping which is hard when there are so many things to do with the house and in the garden and when I have commitments six days a week.
Maybe if I go camping I'll end up making friends with other campers. Of course the last time I did that I ended up making friends with a guy who might very well be featured on America's Most Wanted. I didn't know how sketchy he was until after I got home but something had prompted me to leave a day earlier than planned.
So. Practical ways to go about meeting a camping kindred spirit:
1. Go on day hikes with meetup groups and try to find a friend
2. Just go camping and be open to meeting other (non-criminal) campers
3. Invite friends to go camping even if I'd usually assume that they're too busy
4. Actually make time in my own life to go even if it means going solo for a day because anything is better than pitifully pining away for a night in the pine trees.