The story of my camping trauma.


My name is Natalia and I’m afraid of camping.

Actually, that’s not true: I’m traumatized by the idea of camping.

If a camping proposal is made to me, I may flip out and leave the room screaming loudly. Or simply try to strangle the innocent person who casually made the offer.


                                      C-a-m-p-i-n-g ?!?!?!?!


At first I thought everybody hated camping. Because let’s be honest, the shower-less mornings and mosquito bites involved in this so-called entertainment are a hassle, right?

And don’t get me started on the lack of a proper 21st century toilet to poop in! Since when is shitting like a dog behind a tree fun?


                                         Family camping might be fun only in Playmobil world!


Some time back, I noticed that the people around me actually kind of enjoyed the idea of camping. Which not only surprised me, but also made me wonder if I may have been traumatized during a camping trip when I was a toddler. And now I am broken for life.

After few days and sleepless nights (thinking hard and getting my thoughts together have not been my strong suit recently), I was enlightened and realized that I had been traumatized. And I started to wonder why there was still this constant, inner fear of camping. Because as far as I could remember, I had only experienced camping a couple of times – unfortunately for me, both were awful.


So, the first diabolical camping trip took place when I was 8 or 10. My grandmother and her boyfriend at the time (plus his entire family) took me and my little cousin camping. For a 10-year-old girl, camping in the woods with a big funny family sounds like super-duper fun, and this probably got butterflies in my belly. They would play guitar, sing in the evenings, play hide and seek, make pancakes for virtually every meal, and crack jokes all the time.

But it was far from that. The big funny family nailed their part, but for an unknown reason, my cousin and I had to sleep in a teeny-tiny caravan, with only two itsy-bitsy beds. One for us and the other for grandma.

Being stuck with a snoring old lady in a metal box with no toilet was not exactly my idea of a great vacation. Even though I didn’t mind her snorks, I was terrified by the prospect of peeing outside during the night.

Why? Well, I was more than sure that wolves and bears were going to SEE me peeing. Yeah, I know I should be more scared of a wild animal trying to suck blood out of my throat.

But apparently, for a 10-year-old girl being spotted peeing in public is worse than anything else.

Anyway, I tried to do my best fighting my fears, which meant no liquids after 6pm for me. My plan must have worked, because I can’t recall any encounters with wolves or bears, which by the way are difficult to find in northern Poland anyway…..

Grandma and her boyfriend loved spending time at the beach.

Fishing, topless sunbathing, swimming, having lunch – you know, the usual. And it was pretty nice, I must admit.

Until one unfortunate afternoon they took us to a virgin beach. And in hindsight, I totally understand why they called it virgin. I am more than convinced nobody would go there, even if paid.

The beach was hidden between trees, far far away from a parking spot. And covered with sharp rocks. The bottom of the lake was full of sharp rocks as well.

I really would have appreciated it if someone had told me. But nope, my knees got hurt before they even had the chance to warn me. I remember screaming (me), tears (mine), a lot of blood (mine) and a huge amount of bandages around my knees that wouldn’t allow them to bend (grandma’s nursing skills). Walking was beyond my abilities and I couldn’t bend my knees when I wanted to sit. I became the Robocop of the trip.

So that was pretty much my first camping experience.


The second happened about 2 years later.

Guys, I’m not a professional psychologist, but based on my personal experiences, I believe that when you’re young, your mind is able to erase bad memories pretty quickly. Good thing I guess, but not in this particular case. I wish my mind had kept the bad memories and warned me before I went on another camping trip.

And by the way, I was totally responsible for this second camping trip.

Imagine 12 or 13-year-old me being a pain in the ass and begging my parents for a whole month to go camping – to spend some days in the woods close to a lake, sleep in a tent and make fires in the evening. Yeay, excitement running through my veins!!!

I felt like eating protein bars and preparing meals was a posh idea for a hot summer weekend. I got obsessed with the idea of potatoes baked in a camp-fire. However, I cannot recall why I would want to do such a thing in the first place?! I probably saw it in a movie…

But now, after years I can understand why my parents were so reluctant.

Anyhow, we finally went camping.


                    I had had a dream we would’ve had THIS MUCH fun. Spoiler alert: we didn’t.


It rained cats and dogs THE WHOLE weekend. We were stuck in a tiny tent with our BIG DOG and my claustrophobic mum.

The poor dog was probably more stressed than the rest of us and was unable to stay still for a second. My mum was “too hot” or “too sweaty” the whole time (you know, menopausing) and my father was snoring like an old Russian train (you know, cigarette addict). Yeaa, fun, right?

No potato baking. Actually no making food at all since it was raining, and using a camping stove inside the tent would have been kind of a stupid idea.

We decided to go back home first thing on Sunday morning, before dawn. Everybody was pissed and tired as hell. Even the dog wouldn’t look at us for days.


So that’s pretty much why I am done with camping or any other “no-sleeping in at least 2-star hotel” related adventures.

Kindly do me a favour and don’t pitch a camping trip to me. Instead, help me find a good shrink who can fix my trauma. Thank you!


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