3 days, 30 kilometres and yet another hike where I'm forced to embrace mother nature. Surprisingly though, this time camping wasn't too bad. In fact, I enjoyed it. My goal was to be more positive on this trip than the last, and I could say I succeeded because of the company, but to be honest, it was probably just my change in attitude towards everything. Somehow I got past the idea of how unhygienic the entire experience was, and the nostalgia is settling in now that my last 'school camp' has been completed.
This was the last of those trangia-made dinners, and breakfasts featuring milk powder. I may never have to pee behind a tree again, or worry about my toilet paper touching the ground. This was the last of those night-time tent conversations - truths being spilled at this sleepover under the stars. I don't know if I will ever walk for hours with my house on my back again, playing word-guessing games to pass the time.
I've never really swam in the ocean. It's always been this ambiguous body of water we look at occasionally from different parts of the world. Of course I was the only person who didn't pack their swimsuit, so I summed up the bikini courage I don't have and stripped into my underwear to run into the water (my underwear was white so it wasn't the best idea, but it was worth it). At first jumping over the waves was fun - the water carrying me higher than I could've jumped on my own, bobbing as the water went from deep to shallow to deep again - but then they got rougher.
And then I didn't know what to do and the waves would dunk me, and I was scared because it had never happened to me before. My mum had told me stories of people on school trips drowning in riptides, and suddenly I could see how easily possible that was. Once you're under you're pushed under and twirled around until the wave subsides. Running away is only a moment of panic before the wave catches you and you're dunked under again. It's ironic how the perfect solution is to dive straight into the wave as it hits.
Paranoia has been one of my favourite truth games lately. I've brought it up at every get-together, every sleepover - and it's actually crazy how often we seem to want to play these sorts of games. I don't understand the appeal but I know it's there. We have this desire to know what people think of us, and then we start doubting ourselves based on what we know. It's an unhealthy cycle but I love it.
We had a photoshoot on the beach because along with truth games, taking photos seems to be a huge part of our culture too. Either you're creating artsy photography, or you're modelling yourself. You need proof that you've been there. You need to show that you're having fun. You need to show the world that you're having the time of your life. That's what candid laughing shots are for, even if they're completely posed. The fun thing is though, fake laughs turn into real ones.
Sleepovers huddled in tents aren't so bad, and neither are day-time adventures to beaches and bushes. Maybe I'll take up the offer the next time someone asks if I want to go camping voluntarily.