Tents in a floodI don’t think us South Africans really know what camping is. Accommodation across the country is far more affordable than in other countries (if you have the luxury of affording travel at all) and my only experience of seeing people camp is crowded laagers of caravans (or campers as they call them here) in fields in places like L’Agulhas (much to the chagrin of my folks, especially at Christmas time when the town swells like a bloated tick).

And there’s camping in B.C.

My other half adores it, has grown up with it, can’t wait to do it. While I do love adventure and I am not scared of dirt, I have, however, realised that I am not always a happy camper. In fact, I tend to be rather grumpy because I don’t sleep well in a bed, let alone on the ground, and then there is the notorious Canadian weather…

While it can be glorious in summer (all two days of it…), invariably if you plan to camp, it will rain. And especially if you are in the temperate rain forest that is most of British Columbia. I just spent two miserable nights in Tofino (on Vancouver Island on the exposed western side – open Pacific for miles) in the pouring rain and realised it’s just not for me.

I love sitting around a fire making S’mores, but I am not good at setting up or tearing down a tent and tarps (oh the tarps! and ropes!) in a downpour or making my way through the forest in gumboots with an umbrella to the bathroom building. And most campsites (the provincial ones especially) only have outhouses and no showers, so there’s no way to get warm or to avoid the grossness of it all.

I love the outdoors and I love the sensation of being in nature, but I am afraid that I don’t enjoy wearing four layers of shirts to bed, cooking in the rain, wet feet, and worrying about leaking tents or bedding getting soaked. I have now camped in Northern B.C., Eastern B.C. on Vancouver Island, on Newcastle Island, and in Alberta (in Lake Louise and in the Badlands) and survived  yes, and it’s hardly suffering, but I have to finally acknowledge I just don’t enjoy myself.

It’s hard to say, because I just don’t like to give up on anything, but this trip may have been the last. It’s time to earn more money to buy a camper or to stay in hotels/resorts, because this African just can’t cope any more.