What happened to simple, old-fashioned camping or the quintessential road trip?
And have we forgotten how to K.I.S.S.? (You know what that means, right. If not, I’ll get to it.)
Back in the day—if that phrase is still “hip”—it used to be that when you left the relative comforts of home for the envisioned wilds, you had three basic categories of “roughing it.”
1. You went backpacking, with your bag of GORP, a Dacron sleeping bag that weighed over ten pounds, and kitchenware put together from equipment left over from your Boy Scouts days. (Motto: why use one cooking dish when you can use a dozen.)
2. You went car camping—with all the above, plus a tent made of heavyweight canvas and dozens of dissimilar poles, which was big enough that Kadafi (Gadhafi?) wants to pitch one like it, in order to house his entire retinue on his U.S. Tour.
3. Your family stayed in a roadside motel with two twin beds, one of which you had to share with your sibling, and a cheap TV that maybe got three channels. If you were lucky, there was one of those Magic Fingers bed massagers that you could feed quarters into.
I kind of hit on this topic last summer.
Nowadays, those basic choices have morphed into a litany of non-descriptive names that have something to do with how much electronic equipment you are schlepping along, the price point of your lodging, and your distance from home.
I am not sure where the term Flashpacking came from, but some sources apply the term to traveling with sufficient electronic equipment that MacGyver could fashion it into a new International Space Station (maybe one with a more reliable functioning toilet).
Other websites take the term to apply to loosely defined, and mostly in name only, backpackers who prefer to stay in ritzy hotels rather than a shared hostel setting or sleeping on the rock-covered ground.
Then came the Big Crash, you know the one where your 401 became a 40.1 (or maybe even a 4.01) account.
That spawned the concept of a Staycation, wherein one stayed home, or nearby, and just pretended they were somewhere else, having fun. This is old news, as you read it here early last year.
Fast forward to today’s newspaper (yes, the paper-bound, smudgy-ink covered version of the once prolific source of daily news) to a story of yet another type of travel lodging—or at least represented by a new name.
What do you get when you combine conventional tent camping with outrageous accoutrements that might include a:
“Coleman company air mattresses with built-in alarm clock and night light and a tent outfitted with an integrated lighting system and auto-roll windows,” and a “DirecTV portable satellite dish.”
This, according to a Washington Post story, is the brave new world of Glamping, which is supposedly intended to describe camping of a glamorous nature.
You know the kind. The camps that are pictured in National Geographic Adventure showing fabulously fancy tents with beds bearing 1000 count Egyptian cotton sheets.
The Post story goes on to mention a,
“Gander Mountain portable battery-operated mosquito repellant system in forest-friendly camouflage colors.”
Ah…who are they camouflaging it from, anyway? The mosquitoes?
One other item from the story you should not find surprising yet a total understatement. They point out that:
“In 1987, the average person spent zero hours on the internet. By 2003, it was 174 hours in a year.”
In a year. 174 hours. Yeah, right. How many of you have spent 174 hours on the internet DURING THE LAST MONTH, especially if you include access via your Blackberry or iPhone?
In any regard, they describe the result of this virtual habituation:
“There’s an expectation of a certain level of comfort or people won’t go outside,” said Jeff Willard, senior vice president of global marketing and new product development for Coleman. “It needs to be comfortable. Otherwise, people are going to stay inside and do Facebook.”
Well, wouldn’t you know it? Today I found yet another new trend for the outdoor-phobic but those who wish to maintain some level of fitness.
The September issue of the U.C. Berkeley Wellness Letter describes an indoor fitness activity that you probably thought was just video gaming, yet provides some level of a physical nature:
“Exergaming or exertainment is the latest video game craze, which allows you to play sports virtually…using new interactive computer technology.”
Yes, I know you know what they are talking about. Can we all spell wee together? (What…oh, sorry, I meant Wii.)
Oh, I almost forgot. K.I.S.S. = Keep It Simple, Stupid.
In other words, quit worrying about what to call all these various manifestations of getting the hell outside and Just Do It.
Hey, that’s a catchy phrase…maybe I will copyright it.