I’ve recently stumbled across an opportunity to do some real camping. Like, camping in the Midwest can be as extreme as you want to make it as long as you want to go Survivorman style, but for us [extended] weekend warriors, we normally try to make it as comfortable as possible.

The camping I’m talking about is a possible trip out west to Wyomming and climbing a 12,000+ foot peak. I gotta be honest, the furthest west I’ve ever been in the U.S. is Baudette, MN. Not only will elevation be brutal (for breathing and walking purposes), but there definitely would not be any luxury items in my pack either. We’re talkin 5-6 hours of hiking per day, up a damn mountain, for several days. We can’t really simulate that where I live in MN.

This is the place I'd be going. Base camping by the lake = relaxing. Climbing that sumbitch of a peak = stressful.

Anyways, the trip is still being planned, and I’m not even sure if I’ll go so this post isn’t about that trip per se. I more or less just wanted to see if I could get people’s opinions about taking one of these kinds of trips as a relaxing vacation.

As much as I love the outdoors (and I am still considering just living as a hermit in a shack in the middle of some Canadian woods if my plan to be rich falls through), I don’t really get the chance to fully relax like when I’m sitting on a white, sandy beach with someone that speaks very little English feeding me beer until I have to go pee in the ocean.

Extended camping trips, while amazing, still require some essence of survival. You have to cook, clean, keep stuff organized, keep essential gear dry, always plan for emergencies, not get eaten by bears, not drown in a rapid, etc. etc. Again, all simply awesome things. But let’s compare it to how I vacation in tropical lands…

Wake up, go to pool, have bartender make me a bloody mary, stare at gorgeous women in bikinis (and the occasional fat guy in a speedo), have someone make me food, go to beach, stare at gorgeous women in bikinis (and the occasional hairy guy in a speedo), drink way too many beers, pee in the ocean, stare at gorgeous women in bikinis (avoid the guys in a speedo), go back to an already cleaned hotel room, go to a restaurant, take a nap, go out to clubs, dance with gorgeous women wearing just barely socially acceptable amounts of clothing, rinse, and repeat.

I like beaches.

Where is the stress in that?! No bears, no cliffs, no starvation, no hypothermia, no death. That’s really the difference between the two: stress levels.

So, if you only get 2 weeks of vacation time per year, would you spend it by escaping a (most likely) high stress job by going into another stressful situation or going somewhere for a week where you can relax all over the damn place?

I just don’t know. Chances are pretty high that I’m NOT going to pass up this opportunity for extended, real mountaineering/camping if it’s still available (hell, I’ve never even seen snowcapped mountains much less been on one), but the voice inside my head is still saying, “hey, asshole, you haven’t gone on a ‘real’ vacation in almost 3 years; why don’t you do that instead?”

So what do you think? Can you fully enjoy the outdoors in a stress-free manner? Am I doing something wrong? :p

Don’t Miss Your Chance

I was stuck in Corporate America for 9 years. I was miserable.

Then I took control.

You can too, and it starts right here.