The outdoors and camping have been a big part of my summer manifestos over the last two years. If you would have had me do a summer manifesto three years ago, I would have never had any outdoorsy stuff on the list. Not because of fear or lack of wanting, but because I thought I wasn't rich enough for outdoor adventures. Let me back up and work my way to how online media built this up in my mind.
I grew up near the Everglades and spent many a evening by a fire, days walking around swamps, or afternoons swimming in the ocean. All these things I took for granted as a kid - as long as you had the transport to get there (walking, a friend's car, the bus...), doing the activity was free. I don't know why I forgot about this free aspect as I got older, but it caught me into a weird spot that I finally wriggled my way out of.
Last year I was reading a magazine on the couch while C read a book. The magazine "article" I was reading about had to do with camping and was full of glossy photos with expensive axes, fancy plaid sleeping bags, hefty cast iron cookware...all items that were lauded as must haves for camping. These were the same products I saw shown in people's Instagram photos, blogs, Tumblr; they were everywhere dictating the proper way to relax and vacation. That article was the last straw in my head. I looked at C and sincerely told him "We'll never have enough money to go camping for a vacation." He stared at me with a stunned face and asked what I was talking about. I showed him the magazine article, for which he judged by saying "You don't need all that shit to sleep in the woods." That snapped me into reality where upon I realized two things:
1) I was brain washed by Pintrest/Instagram/Magazines into thinking vacations and the outdoors was an expensive privilege.
2) I should consult C about camping plans, not Pintrest/Magazines, as he's camped every summer since he was able to walk until he went away for college.
This is something I've been thinking about for over a year and have debated talking about on here for just as long. It is embarrassing to admit that you were hoodwinked into thinking you need the Filson thingermabobber and Best Made hookymadonker to make a proper camp site. Or that you even need a picture perfect camp site. I'm not bashing these companies or anyone who owns their stuff (hell, I'm one of those people), but it is very easy to get sucked into a niche sector of consumerism without realizing these items are not "needs" for hiking in the woods or a picnic on the beach.
I've luckily snapped out of this delusion and will (hopefully) be enjoying the outdoors as much as possible this summer without giving my wallet a workout. Ah, so now that my little realness rant is over, what are your favorite free or low cost things to do outside?