Thursday, July 16, 2009

Personal Growth...

It has taken me up until a month ago to be able to admit out loud and to other people a certain fact - I am not an outdoor kind of girl. For years I lied and told myself and others how much I unequivocally liked outdoor activities and being in nature. 

This is simply not true. 

There are distinct limits to the amount of nature I can take at any one time. I do like being outdoors, as long as I can go back into the air conditioning when I get hot. I like going for a walk into town to shop, but I do not like seven-mile hikes. And do not even get me started on the beach. The only body of water I truly love is surrounded by concrete and can be tended to by good-looking men who also bring me pink drinks. 

Awhile back, before vacation season started, had a story on a new budget travel trend - camping. I have been camping exactly three times in my life. All three ended badly - one with a trip to the Lake Placid Children's Hospital with an ankle the size of a grapefruit. I believe the last time I went camping was about 20 years ago, and I could live the rest of my life happily if I never do it again. But this story makes the excellent point, for you hunters and gatherers out there, that a week in a state park is equivalent to a night or two in a hotel. And it does connect city folk to nature, which is always a good thing. I grew up in the country and loved the freedom and fresh air. It's the dirt I have a problem with. Add Image

These next two stories are more in line with my grapefruit ankle experience. 

The Globe and Mail newspaper out of British Columbia, Canada had a story on a toddler who survived an eight-mile river ride clinging to his flipped-over motorized truck. Apparently the three year-old wandered off while his family was camping, and drove directly into a river, which swept him downstream. When the boy was found two hours later, he seemed fine, getting treated only for mild hypothermia at a local hospital. When asked about his spontaneous trip, the only thing he had to say was "truck, boat, river." 

Hiking is another of my least favorite activities. I still like to tease one of my old roommates about a hike we took a few years ago outside Boston. Every time we had the choice between the sunny path with birds dancing on the tree branches singing and the one that went straight up a craggy path that was certain death if you tripped, we opted for the rocks. I've also read Bill Bryson's "In a Sunburned Country," about Australia and how dangerous most of the center of the country can be. Combine those two things and you have the experience of British backpacker Jamie Neale, who improbably survived 12 days lost in the Aussie bush country. According to Yahoo! News, he went on a six-mile hike (leaving most of his things, including his phone, at his hostel) and somehow wandered off the trail. Experts say he only survived because of water available due to a recent rain. 

(Photo courtesy of the Globe and Mail)

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