Top 100 Things I’ve Done – #9

Top 100 Things I've Done Add comments

Live in a tent.

The summer after college, I filled a big duffel bag with books, music and clothes and shipped myself to the middle of Oregon. I was working at an adventure camp for teens (another experience which will appear in my Top 100). When I found my new home, an old tent sitting on dirt patch in a lightly wooded area next to a farm, I was pretty uncomfortable with it.

I had never even been camping before this. At first I tried desperately to keep my things clean. Everything man made was to stay inside the tightly zipped tent. Clean quickly dissipated as even a remote possibility, for sand and dust was constantly blowing around over everything. Oregon is dry, and that summer it was the driest. It was the summer they had all those forest fires. I got so dirty that summer, dirtier than I had ever been. My finger nails were black. I was always barefoot, so my feet were actually stained from the dirt. I was a true hippy.

It was hard to sleep at first, but I adapted. A week in, my one inch thick pad and purple sleeping bag was as exciting to get into as the full motion water bed I left behind was.

Waking up to the sounds of strange animals in the night was intimidating at first, but after awhile it just brought me a sense of peacefulness.

Having everything I owned and needed right inside my tent, made it feel like home pretty quickly too.

When I returned home at the end of the summer, it was nice to be clean and comfortable again. I realized cleanliness is largely a relative term. When I was living in the tent, everyone around me was dirty. Everyone had dirty hands and dirty clothes. Even now, when I go camping I don’t mind being covered in filth…But when I’m home in a modern clean environment, I’m Mr Hygiene.

It was also nice to have more space and stuff when I came back, but I can’t say that I was any happier. The peacefulness that came with the simplicity of living in a tent, challenges the happiness that modern options and comfort brings. I guess I am sold on the modern lifestyle, but the alternative is pretty sweet too.

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