Shopping for an Adventure

I spent most of yesterday online researching various camping products, such as a solar charger for my phone. What a frustrating task! There are dozens of reviews for every product as well as descriptions galore from the manufacturers. Not surprising, every opinion is different. The products work. They don’t work. They chargers charge fast. They charge slowly. Sheesh.

It does seem silly that a phone is necessary equipment for backpacking considering how new the technology is, but the device is too valuable to leave behind, or to take and leave uncharged. GPS, maps, emergency calls, blogging, photos. Amazing what that little thing will do! (And my phone is very little. A mini.)

I had to close up my computer and get something to eat to stave off the circular thinking hunger was creating. (Remember H.A.L.T.?) I kept wondering what I was doing, buying all this stuff for a life I might not even like. I truly am a homebody, and therein lies the problem. When I settle down, I gradually give way to inertia, and then stagnation sets in. Oh, my. That is not what I want at all!

So far, there is little chance of my settling down. I checked out an apartment over the weekend, and though it was nice (but pricy), it depressed me. I could feel the walls closing in on me after just a few minutes. Was thrilled to escape when the tour was over.

So back to researching. And buying. I never have understood the joy people get from shopping. That, too, depresses me. I don’t like spending money, don’t like looking for things to buy, and I don’t like trying things on. Not only did I try on an apartment this weekend, I went tried on shoes. (Can’t go walking without adequate shoes, so those are a must.) I bought two pairs, one of which I will have to return. The shoes felt good in the store, but when I tried them on today, they seemed big enough but felt like ill-fitting casts. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

And then there is gear. Sleeping system. Tent. Backpack. Water filter. Clothes. Food. Emergency supplies. Daily necessities. The challenge of fitting one’s home into a backpack is incredible. Even the lightest of the items add up. Three pounds for a backpack. Almost three pounds for a tent. Almost three pounds for a sleep system. (What makes it worse is that some equipment like sleeping pads are not geared for shorter and wider people. To get the width, I have to get extra length, and that adds to the weight, but I did finally find a sleeping pad that was wide without being long! Yay! And I decided on a sleeping quilt instead of a sleeping bag. Double yay.)

I could go lighter on all that equipment, but then there would be no point to any of this because I would be so uncomfortable at night, I would hate every step I took during the day. It’s possible I’ll hate it anyway, because carrying thirty pounds of gear for any length of time seems nigh impossible, but I will, of course, try to get acclimated little by little and see where that takes me. If nothing else, I could use the things for car camping. As someone pointed out — if it can fit in a backpack, it certainly could fit in my car. (There was a snide remark somewhere in the comment from that person about my car being a backpack, and I hate to admit it, but there is some truth to that. A VW Beetle is not the most spacious vehicle ever made.)

I thought the hard part of all this would be to actually go on an adventure, but I have a hunch by the time I set out, I’ll be so delighted the shopping is all done that I’ll just float away on a bubble of glee.

Or not. I always seem to be shocked by the difference in how I expect to feel and how I really do feel.

I am also surprised by some of the reactions I am getting. One sister is delighted I am planning a solo hiking/camping/backpacking trip. One brother is freaked out by it. I guess I’ll just have to wait to see how we all end up feeling.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.