A small lamp is flickering its last breath
of gas, the night chirps loudly in my ear and a bush pig is eyeing me for some
I am camping, all by myself. Under a roof
of stars and on a carpet of leaves my tent stands proudly tiny. No gadgets,
nothing fancy, just the basics. The past few days have been all about spending
time with big old trees, making fires and getting my feet dirty. The weather
was perfect, Mother Nature gently forced me into a mini digital detox and the
sights and sounds were serene…but the trip got off to a somewhat-almost literal
It all started a few too many kilometers
down the road when I realised that I’d forgotten my mattress. I grabbed the
next best thing and threw a few borrowed sofa cushions in the car.
Everything about the trip screamed
impromptu, nothing about the trip whispered planned. Years had passed since my last
solo-alone-dinner-for-one camping trip and from my recollection it was a lot
easier in my twenties. Somewhere along the non-solo-camping years I have lost
my solo-camping-mojo. I’m pretty sure I had more hands, a better memory and a
lot more comfort last time.
During this trip I needed a GPS for the
logistical nightmare called unpacking; locating the toilet paper required a
highly-trained search party and getting hold of a coffee mug asked for caffeine.
I found pots without lids, salt without pepper and firelighters without
matches. I walked to the scullery without dishes, charged batteries without
switching on the power and aimlessly reached for the shampoo I left behind in
the car. When nature called I packed up everything, from food to cameras, and
locked it in the car out of the baboons’ reach. Pack up, lock, unpack, repeat.
Every. Single. Time. Pack up, lock, unpack, pull-my-hair-out repeat.
I flirted with the mosquito repellent and
single-handedly killed an entire clan of mozzies. Angry long-lost brothers and
sisters of the clan munched on my feet the next day; deceased members came back
as Lazarus and religiously found a chewing grace in my blood.
Insects formed fossils in the butter, a
home on my cracker and an exit strategy in my stomach. Every braai required a
third hand to operate the flashlight and with every humble meal came the hungry
protests of bush pigs ransacking the camping grounds with a grunt-grunt here
and a grunt-grunt there.
I stumbled over the same tent pen hourly,
dropped my pillow in the mud, walked into every possible spider web and unwillingly
attached my hair to the sleeping bag’s zipper.
The milk spilled inside the crate, ants found the leftovers and
dishwashing liquid seeped into my coffee pot.
Somewhere along the non-solo-camping years
I have lost my solo-camping-mojo but tonight, like every other night, it is all
fires and laughter in the distance until the pensioner campers switch off their
lights and call it a night. Under a roof of stars and on a carpet of leaves it
is just me, limited signal, minimum light, a clock counting down the minutes to
nine, the clan and a bush pig ready for a tug of war.
Tonight, like every other night I will
puzzle the pieces of sofa cushions together and tomorrow morning, like every
other morning I will wake up on the floor, on the somewhat-almost literal rocky
start and plan the next trip with no gadgets, nothing fancy, just the basics
and a mattress.
Anje Rautenbach is the writer behind the blog Going Somewhere Slowly, find her Facebook,Twitter or on Instagram!