Like many young people, my first solo trip, finally, without my parents since I was accompanied by my girlfriend, was a camping one. We left for a month, each with our huge backpack which contained tent, sleeping bag, bowls, canvas, ropes, burner and all the paraphernalia necessary for life in nature. We had our Via Rail student pass, which allowed us to hop on and off any train across the second largest country in the world.
The clean air of Jasper, the crystal clear waters of Lake Louise and the epic hikes on the mountain peaks overlooking Banff are ours. Up there, I pitched my tent and, on fine evenings, I didn’t even put up the protective canvas.At this altitude, nothing separated us from the stars through the screen: they were right there, bright, twinkling, illuminating the night, and we only had to reach out, lying on our backs, and point the index finger to touch them.
During my twenties, I continued to do a few camping trips, but they became increasingly rare. At the beginning of my thirties, I didn’t do any more at all, because everything happened: work, marriage, house, children. During this period, it seemed to me that I had done everything that is expected of a good adult who, in return, for having done things right, would achieve some success.
However, although I had a nice little house and a big cozy bed, there was always this gripping fatigue that was watching me. On sleepless evenings, on my balcony bathed in the cold light of the lamp post, I could not make out a single star. The city is filled with these lights that prevent seeing. During these moments, I sometimes had the impression of being as far from myself as the stars.
Towards the end of his thirties, the urge to camp returned, irresistible. My partner hating camping, so I opted for an old second-hand tent-trailer, the kind you crave to put up the roof and from which come out two beds on each side, with their canvas. The children were already used to a certain promiscuity, because at home, there are two of them per room. But there, in the tent-trailer, they sleep the four in the same bed. The kids love it. At bedtime, they always end up messing around a bit in bed, then boom! they fall steeply.
Today, my girlfriend hates camping a little less than in her memories, but sometimes, and until very recently, she still tries: “Children, for the next vacation, would you rather go to the hotel or camping? ” ” At camping ! they answer in chorus, a forehead as united as it is extremely rare.
It’s true that you have to go to some trouble to go camping. But once installed, with so much less than at home, you finally end up rediscovering this distinctive feeling: that of being closer to you. Lying on my back in my old tent-trailer, I see the stars shining brightly; they’re right there again, very close, and all I have to do is reach out and pinch them one by one to turn them off and fall asleep.