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The Camping Virgin: Finding Meaning without Plastic or Cash in 48 Hours

 article about The Camping Virgin: Finding Meaning without Plastic or Cash in 48 Hours
2008-12-26 06:25:37

This article belongs to Money theme.


At the beginning of December, 2008, I went camping in New Jersey for a live action role play (LARP) event. I went with my boyfriend and an entire group of friends, all coordinated in warm two-tone matching costumes.

I was a camping virgin. I've never been truly camping out in the woods with a tent and a fire, etc., but I was willing to learn. We picked quite a weekend for my first time. With temperatures dropping below 30 degrees (F), my focus was on staying warm.

My boyfriend was in the United States Marine Corps and had trained in artic survival techniques in Europe. Having full trust in him as well as my experienced camping friends, I knew not to worry. In case of emergency, there were also two heated cabins on the campground.

Since we took with us enough food to make it through the weekend as well as enough clothing and a tent for shelter, I quickly found myself completely forgetting about money. I knew how long I would need to be out in the elements, and money was no longer a key to survival here. My wallet was zipped in our tent through most of the game along with my money and cell phone.

At two o'clock AM on Saturday morning, I was barely able to sleep. The other ladies in our camp had left for the heated cabin along with their boyfriends, but I was willing to stick it out in the cold even though it was my first time camping. Through my shivering, I realized that thinking about survival in harsh conditions was surprisingly invigorating.

Huddled under the blankets, I confessed this to my boyfriend. He replied,

"You lasted longer out here than I thought you would."

I grinned and continued to shiver, realizing that my body was attempting to keep myself warm. I knew I was safe, though cold, and that the difficulties I was experiencing due to the weather were only temporary. Light soon began to illuminate the tent a bit, and I realized that sun meant warmth and light.

I smiled at the approach of the sun, realizing why it was so important to ancient cultures. Moreso, I smiled at the fact that I hadn't thought about my credit card balance in an entire day, nor did I incur any further debt while I was out camping.

By 6:45 am, the sun was offering just enough light for us to scramble to the cabin, which was necessary because I was still refusing to go to the bathroom outside (we had no toilet paper and I am female, so going indoors for such things was eventually mandatory).

When it finally happened, I was well-rested and clear of thoughts. Money was not on my mind. While posing for some pictures in costume, Rick got down on his knee and proposed to me. No prior experience could have cleared my mind so adequately in preparation for such a momentous occasion. I said yes.

Because this is my second wedding, we do not have assistance in planning or paying for the upcoming nuptials. Usually, this type of thing would cause near-panic for me, but since the camping excursion, I've been able to keep worries about money under control so long is there is an eventual solution. I'm able to actually enjoy time with my fiancé as well as the planning events, seeing budget as a challenge, almost like a quest in a video game—one that I will win.




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The Camping Virgin: Finding Meaning without Plastic or Cash in 48 Hours

At the beginning of December, 2008, I went camping in New Jersey for a live action role play (LARP) event. I went with my boyfriend and an entire group of friends, all coordinated in warm two-tone matching costumes.

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