Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Camping's all white, but you can keep it
WA Today ^ | January 9, 2012

Posted on 01/08/2012 1:01:25 PM PST by SJackson

I have just returned from a trip where I lay for hours prone on a thin strip of air with only polystyrene separating my strained back from the ground below. The rain belted down all night and its thud upon the tent sounded like a stream of thunder. I pondered whether nature was overrated while several kookaburras shrieked in unison and dragged me in a kind of aural violence from my first period of restful sleep at 5am.

Welcome to the joys of camping.

According to Monash University academic Bill Garner, camping is essential to the Australian experience. From Sydney Cove to the goldfields, the overland telegraph to the Snowy Mountains scheme, camping has been instrumental to almost every phase of our historical development, he says.

Advertisement: Story continues below It was supposed to be one of those dowdy pastimes that became perversely fashionable for a moment, only to become just as unfashionable again once everybody tried it and found out what it actually entailed.

Yet, according to industry insiders, camping is experiencing a boom, partly due to the lacklustre economy and an aversion to extravagance and environmental unfriendliness.

''Glamping''

sleeping in a luxuriously appointed tent someone else has put up for you - is increasingly seen as an acceptable, if not preferable, alternative to a bed-and-breakfast booking.

In our high-tech world, a striving towards gadget-free simplicity and proximity to nature acquires a greater dimension. This may be more apparent in Australia, where our national identity is partly tied to the rugged environment.

But while it has shifted from practical necessity to leisure activity in the past 50 years, there are large sections of Australia that would never consider camping as an idyllic way to spend their holidays - particularly those from ethnic communities.

As I surveyed my surroundings in a coastal caravan park, I was struck that I was the only non-white person among hundreds of gleeful holidaymakers. For many people from ethnic backgrounds, particularly Asian or Mediterranean, the connection between simple living and poverty is just too strong.

Any attempt to brag about my view of green pastures and scenic lakes to my parents is met by comparisons with their own rise from Bangladeshi villages.

In his popular blog "Stuff White People Like", Charles Lander writes: "Once in the camp area, white people will walk around for a while, set up a tent, have a horrible night of sleep, walk around some more. Then they get in the car and go home."

While his blog is often a satire of the bourgeois middle class - our equivalent of the chardonnay socialist - camping arguably unites the white working class and the white middle class in one of their few shared activities, even if they are unlikely to be sharing the same tent.

The late Oxford-based political philosopher G. A. Cohen even used camping as an analogy for why socialism is still the ideal way to organise society.

He described an imaginary camping trip made by several different families, and argued that the trip proceeded according to two principles - "an egalitarian principle" and "a principle of community" - that together captured the socialist vision of a just society.

Nonetheless, after lying awake listening to the nocturnal sounds of nature, I became grateful for our capitalist ability to generate wealth and modern goods and services, including mass production of pharmaceuticals, when I prescribed myself sleeping tablets the following morning.

The prospect of camping becoming a unifying, cultural experience for all Australians remains a possibility, with latter generations of immigrants far more likely to consider it a viable leisure activity.

In fact, in an age where we lack outlets for transcendence, camping has the potential to become the new Buddhism. It encourages us to loosen our attachment to worldly goods, except for expensive outdoor equipment usually transported to a site in a four-wheel-drive. It encourages extended contemplation free from the constant distractions of hectic, modern life.

And finally, it allows for the priceless luxury of simplicity and enjoyment of pure family time, well worth the complexity of preparation required. As Bill Garner put it in an attempt to sell the virtues of this unique leisure activity, "You do just spend a lot of time sitting."

Tanveer Ahmed is a psychiatrist and Herald columnist.


TOPICS: Editorial
KEYWORDS: camping
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-135 next last

1 posted on 01/08/2012 1:01:29 PM PST by SJackson
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Iowa Granny; Ladysmith; Diana in Wisconsin; JLO; sergeantdave; damncat; phantomworker; joesnuffy; ..
If you’d like to be on or off this Outdoors/Rural/wildlife/hunting/hiking/backpacking/National Parks/animals list please FR mail me. And ping me is you see articles of interest.

Wouldn't get away with that headline in the US. As to G. A. Cohen even used camping as an analogy for why socialism is still the ideal way to organise society., maybe, we can all be socialists on vacation and take an all inclusive cruse. With no add ons. Or similar resort. And let the capitalists make money.

2 posted on 01/08/2012 1:04:13 PM PST by SJackson (The Pilgrims—Doing the jobs Native Americans wouldn't do !)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

Good Lord. What is this wuss gonna do when the whole world goes Mad Max?


3 posted on 01/08/2012 1:06:51 PM PST by Lazamataz (Romney is the Pale Obama. That's all.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

The outdoors would be great if it weren’t for all that damn nature out there!


4 posted on 01/08/2012 1:10:41 PM PST by NYTexan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Lazamataz

The author is talking about vacations. We can’t all do an Obama/Pelosi Hawaii trek. I guess camping vacationers will be prepared, though I’ll hang with the deer camp guys.


5 posted on 01/08/2012 1:10:41 PM PST by SJackson (The Pilgrims—Doing the jobs Native Americans wouldn't do !)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: SJackson
"Glamping"? Australia? Jeepers!...
Australia
6 posted on 01/08/2012 1:12:09 PM PST by PowderMonkey (WILL WORK FOR AMMO)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

I concluded years ago that “Having to put on shoes to get to the ice machine” is about as ‘roughing it’ as I care to get....

;)


7 posted on 01/08/2012 1:12:40 PM PST by Uncle Ike (Rope is cheap, and there are lots of trees...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Lazamataz
He will have to deal with Wez


8 posted on 01/08/2012 1:12:56 PM PST by xp38
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Lazamataz

Indluding the “wuss” you beat me to it.

Such a sheltered child he is.


9 posted on 01/08/2012 1:16:12 PM PST by Puckster
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Uncle Ike

I agree with you. It was fun camping when I was a kid, tried it once as an adult and hated it.


10 posted on 01/08/2012 1:16:30 PM PST by beandog (Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

I guess there’s some point in there somewhere that pulls the title together with the content of the piece. But damned if I know what it is.


11 posted on 01/08/2012 1:16:41 PM PST by Minn (Here is a realistic picture of the prophet: ----> ([: {()
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: beandog

The trick is to find a place with decent bathrooms and showers.


12 posted on 01/08/2012 1:18:22 PM PST by cripplecreek (Stand with courage or shut up and do as you're told.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: SJackson
Here is the link to the article on camping mentioned in this piece. Hilarious but mostly true.

I did my share of sleeping under the stars when I was in the Marine Corps. I spent more than a few nights dragging my sleeping back out onto the desert floor in the Mojave desert to watch the starry skies and hoping that scorpions don't crawl into my boots while I sleep.

I kind of liked camping out back then because the alternative was sleeping in a crowded, hot tent listening to other Marines scratching themselves and snoring all night.

Since getting out of service, camping with the family is not so much fun. Listening to my sons whine about mosquito bites and having to walk everywhere. Getting up in the cold morning to get the coffee heated up and breakfast ready, feeling scuzzy for lack of hot showers. Trying to keep the bugs and animals away from the food. No thanks, the closest I'll get to real camping is renting a cabin or an RV.

13 posted on 01/08/2012 1:19:20 PM PST by SamAdams76 (I am 31 days away from outliving Marty Feldman)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: PowderMonkey

ROTFLMAO!


14 posted on 01/08/2012 1:20:42 PM PST by dfwgator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

For many, camping is the only way to afford a vacation.


15 posted on 01/08/2012 1:21:57 PM PST by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

16 posted on 01/08/2012 1:28:06 PM PST by raybbr (People who still support Obama are either a Marxist or a moron.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

Knife, firestarter, meds. I'm ready to camp!

17 posted on 01/08/2012 1:28:59 PM PST by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Lazamataz

“What is this wuss gonna do when the whole world goes Mad Max?”

LOL I imagine he will long for the good ole days of turndowns and mints on the pillows.


18 posted on 01/08/2012 1:30:06 PM PST by freeangel ( (free speech is only good until someone else doesn't like it)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: SJackson
Tanveer Ahmed is a psychiatrist and Herald columnist.

A guy from a brown country full of blowing sand and devoid of infrastructure wrote this...?

19 posted on 01/08/2012 1:30:38 PM PST by gaijin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

20 posted on 01/08/2012 1:31:52 PM PST by raybbr (People who still support Obama are either a Marxist or a moron.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

Ping me please. We love camping...


21 posted on 01/08/2012 1:37:14 PM PST by ExCTCitizen (If we stay home in November '12, don't blame 0 for tearing up the CONSTITUTION!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: PowderMonkey

LOL!

Didn’t know who the Minogue character was - Did a google search that yielded this enticing lead-in:

Dannii Minogue
www.danniiminogue.com/www/home/Dannii, Dannii Minogue, Danni, Dani, Danni, Dannii, Minogue, Dannii Minogue, dannii minogue, Dannii Minogue Screensavers, Dannii Minogue Pictures, ...

. . . followed by a Wikipedia entry with the usual ho hum litany of celebrity credentials, and an entry with glamor shots of some dime-a-dozen, commodity-style beauty.

I think I’d head south and risk the giant spiders, myself.


22 posted on 01/08/2012 1:38:17 PM PST by dagogo redux (`)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

Camping is fun.

Especially since the one I went to had an open Wi-Fi signal, running water, electrical hook-up and a great shower/restroom facility, and is next to lake Michigan.

It was more of an outdoor hotel.


23 posted on 01/08/2012 1:39:46 PM PST by VanDeKoik (1 million in stimulus dollars paid for this tagline!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

The author is a complete pansy.


24 posted on 01/08/2012 1:48:05 PM PST by Scotsman will be Free (11C - Indirect fire, infantry - High angle hell - We will bring you, FIRE)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

Seems a bit sensitive, doesn’t he. Any non-white in a majority white country has been alone many (without ethnic-mates), many, many times. No doubt the same in reverse, for whites in South Africa now.


25 posted on 01/08/2012 1:49:32 PM PST by BobL ("Heartless" and "Inhumane" FReepers for Cain - we've HAD ENOUGH)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: PowderMonkey

I had to look for the extremely deadly fluther/smack, but I guess “stinging” is as close as it gets.


26 posted on 01/08/2012 1:49:36 PM PST by Calvin Locke
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

“For many people from ethnic backgrounds, particularly Asian or Mediterranean, the connection between simple living and poverty is just too strong.”

We have that problem with some segments of society here, too. A pair of Air Jordans or a 52” flat screen means you’re successful - even when your living off the backs of others.

You can keep the sneakers and the TV - I’m pretty tickled to be part of this Great thing that God created.


27 posted on 01/08/2012 1:51:02 PM PST by APatientMan (Pick a side)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson
I'd like to be on the list

We spent October camping. We camp in our Sprinter van I fitted out with a queen size bed, drawers, refrigerator, micrwave, portipotty and other good stuff. The trip covered 5800 miles through 17 states.

We wandered down the Great River Road from Lake Itaska Minnesota to the Mississippi mouth south of New Orleans. The river flows through the heart of America and the in depth experience of flyover heartland America is hard to beat.

We camp mostly in State Parks but check into an RV park once in a while to do laundry and catch up on TV news.

On topic, we saw one black woman camping with her white husband at Lake Itaska State Park. After that we saw only one more black camper, also a woman with a white husband in Mississippi at Natchez State Park.

Lest you chide us for van camping, we are back packers who have lost the urge after we turned 65

28 posted on 01/08/2012 1:52:41 PM PST by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 ..... Crucifixion is coming)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

Call BS on this guy(gal) unless there just wasn’t any other “colors” that one time. We go camping a LOT and there a blacks and hispanics every single time. In fact, sometimes you can’t get a spot unless you can get in during the week (we can being retired) for the hispanics. Nice people too. Love to camp, swim & fish.


29 posted on 01/08/2012 1:53:11 PM PST by gopheraj
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gaijin
A guy from a brown country full of blowing sand and devoid of infrastructure wrote this...?

The limousine liberal pointed out that "...the connection between simple living and poverty is just too strong".

30 posted on 01/08/2012 1:53:37 PM PST by Calvin Locke
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: ctdonath2

“For many, camping is the only way to afford a vacation.”

...AND in my youth, it was an excellent opportunity to get away from school work and farm work!

JC


31 posted on 01/08/2012 1:57:04 PM PST by cracker45
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: APatientMan

“For many people from ethnic backgrounds, particularly Asian or Mediterranean, the connection between simple living and poverty is just too strong.”

We have that problem with some segments of society here, too. A pair of Air Jordans or a 52” flat screen means you’re successful - even when you’re living off the backs of others.

You can keep the sneakers and the TV - I’m pretty tickled to be part of this Great thing that God created.


32 posted on 01/08/2012 2:01:12 PM PST by APatientMan (Pick a side)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

If I had the time, I would camp every day. I sleep like a baby under the stars (I only use tents in winter)...and in my tent in the snow with my thermarest, it is pure sleep heaven. However, I only like camping in the desert...I will avoid camping anywhere there are mosquitos at all costs because for whatever reason they attack me ferociously even while everyone else just gets just one or two bites. I don't consider "camp grounds" real camping...which works well with desert camping, because you can find the most beautiful spot on the planet, there will be no bugs, and not another human being within a 50 mile radius. Just stop, unload, and get the food going (not hotdogs or any crap like that...we do prime rib in the dutch oven, stir fry's, crab legs, and anything else good we can think of...I can cook anything in the desert that I can cook in my kitchen...I have even made fried ice cream...and this is with minimalist equipment. I have introduced girly girls to desert camping who hate camping, and they have all loved it (especially the remote hot springs). If you do it right, it is the best experience you can have...and doing it right requires not overthinking, not over packing, just head out in the cruiser...I can be ready to go from ground zero in under 20 minutes for a 4 day trip...with a stop at the market on the way out of town. One trip we do yearly is we drive from the utah border to the california border across the whole state of Nevada without touching pavement (except to cross a couple highways). We cross many many mountain ranges covered with extensive forests and wildflowers up to 10k feet, huge plateuas, deep canyons just wide enough for the landcruiser, and long valleys that seem to go on forever. Average is about 700 miles over 7 days, and we try to stop at all of the itsy bitsy tiny mining bars along the way. Camping is wherever we see a nice spot, we simply stop and that is home for the night. Most people think Nevada is Vegas...it most certainly ain't. Nevada in July at only 7000 feet (before I finished restoring the '66)
33 posted on 01/08/2012 2:17:35 PM PST by dsrtsage (One half of all people have below average IQ...In the US the number is 54%)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: beandog

Count me in on that. I was forced into camping because my foster family said I was going to be a Boy Scout whether I liked it or not and I hated it.

A day trip to the countryside? Fine. Riding boats? Cool! I hope to try water skiing someday.

Shivering in a tent at night while creepy-crawlies investigate my shoes and bears pillage the food supply? Count me out!


34 posted on 01/08/2012 2:21:46 PM PST by Ronin (If we were serious about using the death penalty as a deterrent, we would bring back public hangings)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Uncle Ike
I concluded years ago that “Having to put on shoes to get to the ice machine” is about as ‘roughing it’ as I care to get....

We bought our first RV because my wife said, when we took the kids "camping," she wanted "instant luxury." I've been tent camping, and while it can be fun, putting up a tent in the rain isn't my idea of a vacation.

35 posted on 01/08/2012 2:23:18 PM PST by JoeFromSidney (New book: RESISTANCE TO TYRANNY. A primer on armed revolt. Available form Amazon.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Uncle Ike
I concluded years ago that “Having to put on shoes to get to the ice machine” is about as ‘roughing it’ as I care to get....

We bought our first RV because my wife said, when we took the kids "camping," she wanted "instant luxury." I've been tent camping, and while it can be fun, putting up a tent in the rain isn't my idea of a vacation.

36 posted on 01/08/2012 2:24:06 PM PST by JoeFromSidney (New book: RESISTANCE TO TYRANNY. A primer on armed revolt. Available form Amazon.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: dsrtsage

Nice.

My express intent when I go is to simply get as far away from people as I can.

Heading for an area that doubles in fishing and rock collecting is a plus.


37 posted on 01/08/2012 2:28:31 PM PST by bigheadfred
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

This is what we call “car camping”. Sorry, but it isn’t camping. Driving your car to the mountains to set up a tent in a parking lot is silly.

Need to the tent and gear into a back pack and hike to a camp spot. That is camping.


38 posted on 01/08/2012 2:32:12 PM PST by garjog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

My idea of roughing it is a 10 year old Holiday Inn.

Personally, I like a comfortable bed, room service and not having to hide behind a tree to do muh bidness. And no bugs. I don’t like bugs. Oh, and I like tv. And a cold beer. And ice. And doors. And locks. And heat and air conditioning. And a bar. I do like a bar. With good bar food.

Nope. Not gonna go camping any time soon.


39 posted on 01/08/2012 2:33:12 PM PST by Cowgirl of Justice
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bigheadfred

“Heading for an area that doubles in fishing and rock collecting is a plus.”

Surprisingly, there are some huge huge fish in some of those itty bitty creeks and rivers way out there in middle of nowhere, because nobody ever fishes them.

Also, the desert seems to have a preponderance of rocks (everywhere) lol. Gemstones can be found if you know where to look.

And best of all, no people, no bugs, no critters, and in the unlikely event you do get rain, it is an exciting 30 minute booming spectacle in the late afternoon, which cools the day down nicely.


40 posted on 01/08/2012 2:33:47 PM PST by dsrtsage (One half of all people have below average IQ...In the US the number is 54%)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: APatientMan

Hear hear!


41 posted on 01/08/2012 2:38:15 PM PST by Ladysmith (The evil that's happening in this country is the cancer of socialism...It kills the human spirit.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: dsrtsage
Surprisingly, there are some huge huge fish in some of those itty bitty creeks and rivers way out there in middle of nowhere, because nobody ever fishes them.

SSSSHHHHH! What is the matter with you???? ;-))

42 posted on 01/08/2012 2:39:40 PM PST by bigheadfred
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: JoeFromSidney
The last time I roughed it was a few days in a mountain-top Special Forces camp on Nui Ba Den, near the Cambodian border. That's been over 40 years. Jury-rigged latrine, "sleeping" in a commo van? Color me wuss.

I've never been to OZ but from what I've seen on TV, there are just too many bugs and snakes and other lethal creatures out there for me, and I've spent a whole lot of years in the tropics.

43 posted on 01/08/2012 2:43:05 PM PST by Ax
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

What a whiner! Camping is fun! Take the right gear and food and you will not be cold, hungry, bored or cranky. We used to cook some great meals on an open fire, including steaks and shrimp. You won’t melt in the rain unless you’re the witch in a fairy tale. It’s only water, as I said ‘what a whiner!’. I love camping and wish we did it more now that the kids are grown.


44 posted on 01/08/2012 2:46:36 PM PST by Jenny217
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: Jenny217

No better way for a father and son to bond together than going camping.


45 posted on 01/08/2012 2:48:00 PM PST by dfwgator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

After getting married 4 years ago, camping ended. My wife’s idea of roughing it is Holiday Inn.


46 posted on 01/08/2012 2:48:21 PM PST by SoDak
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: VanDeKoik
Our club has nine gold claims in north CA where we go camping every year.
The best part about camping on a claim is that there's something to do. Oh,
And the only running water for ten miles is the river.
47 posted on 01/08/2012 2:48:47 PM PST by MaxMax
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: bert

I think that’s great. I’m a couple years short of you and still backpack, but my wife leaves that alone. Trailers and vans are fine. With the crazy luggage restrictions, I’d love to see a conversation about flying and camping/backpacking


48 posted on 01/08/2012 2:51:42 PM PST by SJackson (The Pilgrims—Doing the jobs Native Americans wouldn't do !)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: gopheraj

Very few Africans and Central Americans live in Australia. Probably less than 0.5% of the population. The largest nonwhite ethnic minorities are aboriginal Australians, Vietnamese and Indians.


49 posted on 01/08/2012 2:52:34 PM PST by wideawake
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: raybbr

Camping is good for everybody. The key is having too many hungry kids at the site. Hungry kids in packs will do anything: collect every splinter of kindling and burnable wood and leaves, neaten up the whole campsite using branches as brooms, collect rocks to encircle the fire, everything in their power and imagination for those s’mores.


50 posted on 01/08/2012 2:52:57 PM PST by txhurl (Perry/Pence 2012 OR Perry/Ryan 2012 or even better Perry/Abbott 2012!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-135 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson