Like many people around the world, I made the decision not to travel for leisure this year. That means I get to explore my island home. This past weekend I went camping with my uncle Everton, godfather Keith and his wife, Marla.
I had a plan. The weekend before, Mark and I went shopping for a small tent. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money just in case camping wasn’t my thing. He and I went back and forth over my options. He wanted me to get a $400 tent (he wasn’t planning to join us) and I was going with the cheapest option.
With a $50 tent in my possession, I was now ready to take on nature. I packed everything I thought I needed for camping. Sleeping bag. Check. Change of clothes. Check. Wine. Check. Cigars. Check. Nature. Here I come.
I was excited about my adventure. I haven’t been camping since I was a child – under controlled conditions. I arrived early. I set up my tent for maximum breeze, positioned my chair to take advantage of the shade, organized my camping culinary contributions and sat down to relax. We listened to music, talked, laughed, reminisced. Time passes quickly in the wilds of Bermuda and soon it was dark and we felt sprinkles. We secured the campsite and quickly retired to our respective tents.
The sprinkles soon turned into a deluge but I was comfortable in my tent until the monsoon invaded my miniscule living quarters. As the rain gushed through the porous tent material, I quickly realized that while the top of the tent wasn’t waterproof, while the floor was made of plastic. Soon the water levels in my tent began to rise. I did all that I could to quickly sop up the water but it was coming in faster than I could bail. I was sinking quickly. I soon understood, there was nothing I could do, I was going down like the Titanic.
I figured, if I was ever going camping again, I needed to take drastic measures. I needed a new tent. Stat. I found my phone in a puddle of water, and like any forward-thinking, drenched, camper I logged on to Amazon and purchased two waterproof, easy assembly tents. One for me and one for Uncle Everton who had a similar tent to mine but it seemed to be waterproof. I felt we both deserved a better quality tent for our next excursion.
The rains soon stopped and Keith, bless his heart, had a solution. We quickly moved my tent under the food pop up and that protected me from the next downpour.
With no options in sight, I settled down to sleep on my sopping sleeping bag, in wet clothes and shoes and on a hard ground. I felt every rock and twig under me. I didn’t sleep for more than 15 minutes at a stretch. I was tired, cold, wet and maybe slightly hung over from the wine we consumed during the dry portion of our evening.
At some point, I called out to Marla and Keith – who are camping experts and have a top of the line tent that can sleep a family of 120 comfortably. They even have cushions which they sleep on. So in my most pitiful voice, I called out and asked if I could come into their tent to sleep. I may have heard muffled laughter – I could be wrong but I did not mistake the joint, one word response. No.
In the dead of night with the rain beating on the top of the pop up I revisited my tent purchases to make sure they met my requirements, I awkwardly positioned myself to wait out the night, listening to the wild animals foraging in the undergrowth nearby.