Tag Archives: camping

On winter, seasonal affective disorder, and lack of self-perception

I’ve always liked gawking at those tiny houses online – so sweet! So perfect! So tidy and small and cute! How I’d love one, I think.

I wallow, again, in my insane self-delusion. I’d love a tiny house – for about ten minutes. I’d love it in the summer, where the great outdoors was easily tolerable and filled with life. Maybe even in the spring and fall, the warmer bits.

The idea of being in a caravan, light-footed and agile, appeals to me in various seasons, but never more so than now, when I feel trapped inside by a combination of cold, snow, ice, new knees, and you know, pure laziness.

Imagine a tiny house now….or say in DC today…


See, for me that just feels like hell. Cozy for a bit, but then I’d start snarling at the walls and dig myself out.

Of course, until lately (like last night, as I lay awake wondering what my post yesterday was all about when I have everything I could possibly want here and should just stop complaining about my wonderful life), it hasn’t occurred to me that my restlessness and desire for open spaces, changes, and such happens EVERY YEAR AT THIS TIME.

I like to think I am a bright woman. I like to think I have a smattering of self-perception. But this hit me like a bolt out of the sky. See, when I get my SAD symptoms, I eat badly, which throws my system out of whack, which makes me feel worse, which makes me eat worse, and so on. I drink too much, I eat sugar and suck back coffee, I avoid exercise, I just generally mess myself up. And then I realize this is no way to live and straighten myself out, around March. But in the meantime, I usually have done something foolish like booked expensive travel I can’t afford or plan to move to a different place, or whatever. It’s insanity and I am posting this now so that next year when I am feeling blue and restless in my delightful apartment in paradise by the sea, I will give myself a shake and get me some eggs. Or steak.

I already ran away from home. I ran here, because I love Nova Scotia. I love the sea, I love the people, I adore the way teenagers here say hello to you as they walk along the sidewalk, even if they have to speak through multiple piercings. I love the small view, the lack of self-important mindset. I can be myself here in a way I probably couldn’t be anywhere else, and everyone just puts up with me because that’s the type of people who live here. When I do my “yes/no” list of whether to move or stay here, yes ALWAYS wins.

Time to shake off these winter blues and get back to creative endeavours!! Creative cheap endeavours. You see, I’m still paying off the past winters’ foolishnesses….


Connecting to the wild world, or where the hell is that mosquito?

Last night I crashed into bed after a lovely day connecting with my inner islander, wallowing on the beach, soaking up sun, wading in the frigid ocean, relaxing with friends.
It was all totally exhausting and I was so ready for sleep when I crawled into my bed…
Only to find several islanders were trying to connect with me.
Their high-pitched whines screamed in my ears, but I couldn’t spot them – just the occasional fly-by at high speed to torture me….
It was too hot to pull the covers over my head, and I knew I’d be covered in bites if I didn’t. What to do?
I swatted at them ineffectually. I pulled open the window to cool off the night air, to slow them down, maybe? I opened my bedroom door, sacrificing my friend to their gentle mercies. What’s a friend for, right? She always gets bitten by things. They LIKE her better. I was just trying to be kind to my island friends…
Finally, I fell asleep…
I don’t dare look at my face today, though. I imagine they connected with me many times, I probably look like a hormone-ridden teenager…

The joys of decrepitizing, or how to avoid pit toilets

I trotted off to the CAA today to pick up some travel books for my long-suffering sweetie (LSS), who is planning a trip with his gang of hoodlums (GOH) Picked up a Campbook for the Eastern Provinces, and two things immediately occurred to me.

First, it’s way thinner than it used to be – the whole of Eastern Canada, including Quebec and Ontario, fits within a mere 159 pages. Are campgrounds vanishing? Are they just degrading to the point where they can’t score a spot in the guide? Do people just not camp anymore? Will I eventually be expected to stay at some of these places?

And so to the second point. I glanced over the listings, and even the very “swish-iest” (as my mum would say) sound absolutely dreadful. How fun can they be when the biggest thrill they offer is “lawn games”? There seems to be a choice in quality, between:

1. places with dubious access to toilets and no showers, in swamps or deep dark bug-filled forests, and

2. places named after cartoon characters with all mod cons and 500 sites on a two acre lot, many of them “pull-through”.

I can’t help but imagine hundreds of screaming, yelling, ice-cream-sticky children racing around, many of them from the GOH. The last time I stayed at such a place I woke up to the sound and shadow of a young lout peeing against the side of our tent. It was in a place with the best aspects of types one and two, so I couldn’t fault him.  The toilets were fifty miles away across the tarmac, which was simmering in the heat. The lineups ended thirty miles away.

That was a different family and a lifetime ago, but I can’t help but flash back to endless camping trips, always in the rain, always involving way too many insects and burnt hotdogs and charcoaly marshmallows (okay, I liked the marshmallows), and usually some construction site that hadn’t been mentioned in the guidebook.  There were other parts I loved – the tranquility of the early morning before the construction started, nighttime campfires when the wood wasn’t too wet to burn and the smoke blew away from our faces instead of right into them, the closeness with the kids as they rolled their sleeping bags over my face, those marshmallows.

The kids?  They remember the marshmallows. So we figured out how to do them at home and put the gear in the shed, where the insects could camp merrily, undisturbed.

When I picked up the guides, the frazzled woman at CAA asked me, “You mean camping?  Like…in tents?” She pulled up her lips in horror.

I smiled and said, “Well, what’s a girl to do when her guy has kids?” (I didn’t mention the size of the GOH, which is considerable, not including electronic appliances that talk.)

She snorted. “Find another guy, that’s what!” The she paused, considered that perhaps that wasn’t the caring approach….”Or at least, separate holidays for a start!”

And here is where the joy of decrepitizing comes in. I’m a wee bit older than the LSS, you see, and I have a couple of health problems that get me easily out of the camping scenario.  A little whimper about walking being too hard, or the need for good rest or air conditioning, and I’m off the hook. So, instead of having to smile bravely at the hordes of children and their ice cream smiles, I can shrug and say, “oh sorry, just can’t do that…” and then go and book my escapes to inclusive “every whim catered to” resorts, or to B&B’s filled with delicious antiques that just wouldn’t survive a GOH assault, or even to a humble cottage that at least has a roof and a fully functional bathroom and a place to store food where it won’t get suspiciously warm and sweaty.

It gives me such guilty pleasure to have this out, to be able to avoid the uncomfortable beds, the bug scratchies,  and those cold walks to the toilet late at night, pushing through spiderwebs and listening for wandering skunks. Been there, done that, still have the scars on my legs.

Now I camp at coffee shops, sipping hot liquids, listening to adult chatter, watching people.  It’s good stuff for a decrepitizing old gal.