I have several friends who are mystified by my love of camping.
It was a source of particular confusion when my husband and I decided to camp outside in our own garden one night. Why would you choose to go and sleep in a tent, I was asked, when you have a perfectly good bed right there?
Now, as it happened the reasons were mundane and boring (testing out equipment ready for Greenland) but the experience was incredible and we'll definitely do it again. I was woken up by an owl coming in to hunt something very close to the tent... you simply can't buy that kind of experience. And the dawn chorus was loud and clear and beautiful.
But the main reason I love to go camping is because it gives me chance to stay in places where there simply is no other accommodation. I love isolation; in a tent, I can spend time in the kind of silent and beautiful place where I would choose to live, if it weren't so impractical. I suppose this is why we spend so much more time wild camping than on campsites. It gives us the chance to 'live' - however briefly - in the world's untouched places, whilst leaving them fundamentally untouched. By the time we've packed our tent up in the morning, our temporary campsite is returned to its natural state, with only a small patch of flattened grass to show that we were ever there.
By the time you read this, we will (ash clouds permitting) be on our way to Greenland. One happy couple and one slightly-leaky tent. You may very well think we're mad, but we're happy-mad, and that's what matters.
Posts will be scheduled in my absence and I promise to catch up on comments, and come round and visit you all, just as soon as I get home. I'll also try to text updates to my Twitter account and my Facebook page to keep in touch.
Camping by the glacier in Iceland (2007)