Summer has arrived in the land of the long white cloud. All around the country, people in the urban centres are packing up their trailers, utes and minivans and making for the countryside (yay!) to camp (say what?).
Camping. Sleeping on the ground. No running water or electricity. Meals cooked over a fire or small gas stove. The call of nature answered ... where exactly?
I know so many who enjoy camping, being in the outdoors, disconnecting from the hustle and bustle of modern living. But I myself am not so keen. Which confuses people sometimes. Aren't you from the islands where you may have had to live like this? That's precisely it, Einstein. When you have had to "camp" out of necessity and not for the fun of it, the word holds a completely different connotation.
The recent cyclone hit in Samoa took me back to the days of Cyclones Ofa and Val that hit Samoa when I was a child. I remember several neighbouring families taking shelter at our house as theirs were destroyed. I remember sharing bedding, clothing and pretty much all else we had with the neighbours. When meals were cooked in a huge pot over a fire surrounded by a crudely built "wall" to keep the cyclone winds out. When "entertainment" was singing and story telling and playing cards in the dim light of the moli matagi. The frequency of showers were directly proportional to the number of times it rained. And when the cyclone left, life continued that way as the neighbours worked on rebuilding their houses, and as the power and water people worked on restoring the infrastructure.
I definitely don't regret having experiencing such times, and I think I am a better person for it. One day, when the zombie apocalypse hits (or I move back to Samoa...whichever happens first), I may have to live like that again. And that is perfectly fine with me. But until then, until I actually have to, I will not stay in a tent, pee in the bush or go where my mobile phone doesn't have more than two bars.
Stay safe out there, campers :)