Somerville, Mass – Daddio and I went camping once. It took several tries to set up the tent (borrowed, in our defense) and we never did manage to get the fire lit. Still, we had a fun weekend and it was a mostly positive experience.
I always thought that we would one day learn how to camp. Daddio even bought me a tent for my birthday.
The first time I used it was about 10 years later. When I rode my bike across Southern Africa, I slept in the tent for 10 nights straight, with only one disaster. Of course, somebody else was in charge of choosing the site and preparing the food, so all I really had to do was ride my bike and set up my tent. But again, it was a mostly positive experience, and it renewed my enthusiasm for learning how to camp.
Nonetheless, the tent has not really come out of the basement since then, whether for lack of opportunity or lack of confidence. Camping with the twins seems incredibly daunting, considering the consequences of a misstep like an unlit fire or a flooded-out tent.
Enter the Great Urban Campout. This annual Somerville event is held every year during the last weekend in July in our neighborhood park. Somebody else fires up the grill for burgers and dogs. Somebody else bring loads of toys and games for kids, who run around and go crazy. Somebody else lights the fire for marshmallows. It’s an amazing neighborhood event, drawing families from all around the city.
And all we have to do is set up our tent (which I have mastered). And buy marshmallows (Daddio’s job).
Even better, when the sun goes down and the twins start to lose it, we can walk home and sleep soundly in our beds. That’s my kind of camping.