We're pretty anti-RV. It's not because we don't like the idea of it - it's that when we're camping and we see families roll up in their beasts, it's hard not to judge. Can you really unplug and connect with nature in the same way when you're rolling around in a 16-wheel portable home?
But glamping - or glamorous camping - is a Cerberus of its own design. We first experienced it on a safari in Tanzania (apparently this is also a thing in upstate NY). Tents with beds, chairs, and a potty! We thought it was a one time thing. But then we discovered Tentrr and decided to give it a chance. It was an inbetween - a few creature comforts but still rustic.
If you've ever camped on a large campground before, you know that there's a strange comraderie that develops when you eliminate doors, fences, and any veneer of real privacy and protection. A thin sheet of plastic is all that separates you from not only your neighbors, but whatever nature has in store for the night. It's a powerful and humbling feeling.
So I was both amazed and surprised by the rush of emotions that I felt laying in a tent - yes, on a air mattress - surrounded by nothing. It was at first exhilarating and freeing. And then, just as we were becoming adjusted to our settings we encountered our other neighbors.
Bear poop is a funny thing. It's cute at first when you see the undigested berries and imagine a cute little bear nibbling on nearby plants having the time of its life. And then you remember the 'nearby' part. From that moment on I was sorely missing my camping neighbors - even the ones with RVs.
What's odd about this particular experience is that we've been deep in bear country before. Not just in the Catskills with far less than a thick canvas tent to protect us, but in Grizzly country too. We took the typical precautions - singing silly songs, clapping, bear bagging our food - but it never really invoked deep fear. The one time we actually saw some bears I'll admit I did the stupidest thing possible and tried to get closer for a photo. So why did an unseen bear provoke such different reactions?
I think part of it is the pressure that being in a place that should be peaceful, meditation-friendly, harmony-bringing can also be straight up spooky. Seeing bear poop should also trigger some amount of reasonable fear. That's a good survival instinct. But ultimately it was the pressure to be at peace that made the adjustment so difficult. So when I awoke (and woke up my partner) at 5:30 fearful that something was outside, I realized I had a lot of work to do. It was hopefully the one and only time I was scared of the sun.