I've never really been camping before, so when a friend asked if I wanted to go camping over Labor Day weekend, I gladly accepted. In the past, I've mentioned that living in the truck feels like perpetual camping. Think about it: I practically live outside, I forgo a lot of modern conveniences (namely heat, A/C, and a nearby bathroom), and I fall asleep to the sounds of nature every night (there's a shocking amount of wildlife at the edge of my parking lot). So I expected camping to feel like just another day for me, and I packed for it almost like I'd pack for a normal day: a few t-shirts, a pair of shorts, and my handy dandy battery pack. So, how was it?
When your entire life fits in a parking space, leaving it for a few days (on twenty minutes of notice) is super easy. There's no sense of homesickness or yearning for first-world amenities. You never catch yourself thinking, "Gee, I miss my television and refrigerator right now"...because you didn't have those things to begin with. In the same vein, because you have so little to even consider bringing with you, the cognitive overhead for packing is minimal. In a house overflowing with assorted objects of questionable utility, you have to mentally iterate through them and decide what makes sense to bring with you on a three-day excursion. Like I said above, I just tossed all my useful belongings in a bag, and that was that. Granted, if I was camping alone or with other truck people, this wouldn't have worked in the slightest. It's only because everyone else was able to bring things like tents, utensils, and food that I was able to pack so lightly.
As for the actual weekend, it was a total blast. There wasn't anything truck-related for the three days I was away, save for my recounting of a few particularly strange truck stories,. I certainly didn't drive the truck to the campgrounds, I doubt it would even have survived the journey. It was just three days of cooking over an open fire, stargazing with a clear view of the Milky Way, drinking to excess, and swimming in a lake of questionable quality water, all perfectly legitimate camping activities.
It wasn't entirely sunshine and rainbows though. Sleeping on the cold, hard ground did make me miss my truck bed a little bit, and it's true that I've been pampered by my corporate fitness and hygiene facilities over the past few months. We did have a bathroom at the campsite, which came with a complimentary coating of dirt and a potpourri of random insect infestations. Several bouts of tiny, uninvited truck guests have made me pretty unconcerned with bugs, so I definitely appreciated the unintentional conditioning. Those negligible gripes aside (one could and should even consider them part of the experience), truck life was good preparation for camping, and in turn, camping was a nice departure from truck life.