As an islander, being outdoors usually means sunbathing at a beautiful beach and snorkeling or diving in crystal, blue waters. Rarely will you get an invitation to go camping. My concept of this was basically based on Hollywood movies where the characters sit around a bonfire and sing Kumbaya.
As a first time camper, my immediate question was, “Where would we shower?” And the usual answer was, “You don’t.” I shower twice a day and the thought of going on for days without showering was terrifying. Baby wipes, as friends suggested, would not suffice.
Another concern of mine was safety. I don’t have a fear of ghosts but I am absolutely terrified of being attacked. And again, no thanks to many suspense Hollywood thrillers, I was afraid that we would be prey to some psycho-killer on the loose.
So those were my main concerns – hygiene and safety. “How dare they laugh,” I thought. Those are pretty valid concerns, right? Thankfully, Mike always reassured me that everything would be all right. But the truth was, there was no appeasing this shower-loving and semi-paranoid Filipina. I prepared myself for the worst.
So on our first night, just as I had predicted, I was thrown into what seemed to be the worst-case scenario. After hours of driving and being tourists, we finally decided to camp out in Monterey. We passed several state parks along Big Sur that charged an average of $35 but thought that they were too pricey. We didn’t know any better and didn’t realize that that was as cheap as they would get in touristy areas. We basically drove around for 2 hours in the dark of Monterey and had no idea where we were going to spend the night. Finally, Mike thought he had found the perfect campsite – a secluded parking area by the Monterey marine sanctuary. At that point, all I could think of was my imminent death. In fairness to my fears, all I could see was darkness. Long story short, Mike realized that it was probably best that we moved somewhere better lit. So this is where we camped out on our first night.
Morning came and I saw everything in a different light, literally. I realized that there was nothing to be afraid of and couldn’t help but laugh at the how silly and afraid I had gotten the night before. It was then that I realized that Mike wouldn’t take me anywhere unsafe and that I should trust his judgment more. It was also then that I made the decision to take more risks and to refrain from letting my unfounded fears stop us from living such a great adventure.
After that night, I learned to embrace everything about the North American outdoors – being in the middle of nowhere, sleeping amongst a sea of trees, waking up to the sound of birds singing and the wind rustling the leaves, cooking with a camp fire, bumping into wild life and yes, even peeing in the woods – and had the time of my life.
This city girl will never be the same again.