There was a time when I thought I’d be a person who is really in to camping. In my early twenties, I slept outside in a tent a few times — along the Rifle River in Michigan; in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland; one night on the Appalachian Trail, that time on the lawn of an A-frame house in Woodstock, Virginia when I woke up in my steamy tent with a corneal abrasion.
Given my moderate interest in camping and appreciation of the outdoors and Mr. Em in Jerusalem’s interest in hippyish things like Ultimate Frisbee, it seemed a no brainer: Together, we’d be couple who camps. We even received a nice tent and sleeping bag as wedding presents.
Five years later, and I couldn’t tell you want that tent looks like. Turns out we’re not a couple who camps after all. We’re a couple who stays in hotels and AirBnbs and Ecolodges and sometimes in the comfy guest bedrooms of our parents’ and friends. But that changed this past weekend when I got that tent out of our storage room and roughed it for a night on a gorgeous Mediterranean beach.
Mr. Em in Jerusalem was fighting off a cold so he stayed in the comfort of our apartment and my friend and I drove a few hours northwest to Hof Dor Habonim, an Israeli nature reserve located on the Mediterranean Sea (an hour north of Tel Aviv).
The beach is sandy and gorgeous and the shoreline is marked with lots of bays and inlets. It was warm enough, I would have jumped in the water. Instead, our group set up our tents (I only required a small amount of assistance with mine), poured some wine, watched a stunning pink and orange sunset and, what else, got an elaborate dinner ready (because if great food isn’t a part of the camping experience, then I’d probably have zero interest). The night reminded me what I’ve what I loved about the few camping experiences I’ve had: Sitting around the campfire, drinking, listening to music, singing, laughing, and being slightly scared of what lurks in the dark.
Speaking of which, my friend took this selfie on the dark beach (she was wearing a headlamp). If you can explain why there’s an alien lurking in the bottom part, I’d appreciate it.
I retired to my tent at 1am to await alien abduction. Four hours later, everyone in our group awoke in our respective tents to a punishing storm – driving winds and rains, thunder and lightening – the works. I trusted the stakes I’d driven into the sand with a mallet would hold, but I figured there was a non-zero chance I’d be struck my lightening. Lucky for us, someone in our group has already been struck by lightening, and they say it don’t happen twice. My tent started to flood on one end. Finally the storm passed and we all packed up, drenched and caked with wet sand. I ditched the elaborate breakfast burrito bar I had planned for the morning and we all hightailed it to dryer places. (Note, if you’re doing this camping trip, it’s really close to Caesarea, a town with lots of beautiful Roman ruins. If the weather was nice, the beach, Caesarea, and a winery, such as Margalit or Amphorae, would be a perfect weekend getaway).
So, am I the camper I always wanted to want to be? Not quite. I’ll probably always pick a warm bed if given the choice, but I’m willing to get a little more use out of our neglected wedding present tent. I will however, check weather forecasts first.
Em in Jerusalem