September 18, 2016

New Hipness

There’s a new hipness in the air in Lebanon. It’s called camping. It’s been a hype in Europe since the 1940’s, but had been already a ‘thing’ among the more affluent since the turn of that century, and recently, the Lebanese have seemed to discover it. 

The scouts of Lebanon always camped out, but recently others have taken to the tents as well. 
Maybe because many have encountered camping abroad, or maybe because Decathlon has made camping gear more accessible, whatever the reason, camping is ‘in’. If you've been following LiveLoveLebanon on Instagram, all you see these days is pictures of mountain tops, starry skies and campers.

I notice it on my early morning hikes in the mountains with the dogs. It used to be just the scouts I encounter in summer. This morning, I walked along five encampments.

Some camp on their own, just boyfriend and girlfriend. Some are hunters, who are too lazy to get up early and drive to the mountains, and who - complete with argilehs and barbeques - sleep amids the birds they will kill the next morning. Others are groups of friends that just want to hang out among the stars at night, and chill. 

One of the groups looked more like a hammock convention. You need trees for hammocks, and there’s plenty of those around. It was a wonderfully colorful displays, hammocks strung up everywhere, creating an intricate spider web.

I am all for this new camping movement. Spending time outdoors should definitely enhance your appreciation of nature, and the importance of conserving it, although how these hunters fit into this picture, I cannot quite explain yet.  Apart from environmental awareness, it seems to have all sorts of other positive side-effects.  

Right now it’s mainly a thing here among the generation that is sandwiched between high school graduation and marriage - but that may be because that’s the only time in their lives in Lebanon when they have actual freedom - but taking your kids camping has ‘educational, psychological and social benefits’ , according to this study.

Camping is a humbling experience; the realization that living with less clutter is liberating, and whenever I come back from my 6-week summer camping trip, I rage through my house and get rid of things. Hubbie is now well aware of that annual de-clutter drive. He warns me in advance “Throw away what you like, but don’t touch my things.

And so camping should – in theory – function as a reminder that this consumer society we live in, is of course not a trend we can continue.

Groups of fiends camping in the forests and fields indicates there is a mentally shift in the air. There’s one thing, however, they haven’t figured out yet:  what to do with their trash? Their shit is literally all over the place. If I were mayor of a municipality that has campers hanging out in my town, I’d provide garbage cans, and signs reminding them to pick up after themselves.

But in the end, it’s the campers who should take that responsibility themselves. Hopefully that mentally shift will follow.


Pierre K said...

Again, thanks for your exciting articles.
Unfortunately, I am coming to the conclusion that we, Lebanese, are very dirty !!! I hope that I am not offending any of your readers, but this is the sad truth. We need to face it and admit it to get it solved.

Littering is something that turns me angry. I avoid fights a couple of times every day. I am very sensitive to this issue because I do believe that nature and environment are "red lines". Unfortunately, I see children asked by their parents to dump the garbage on the road, university students throwing trash from their car windows... This is not linked anymore to educational status. This is becoming a "Tradition". It is upsetting
and I do not know where to start, simply to raise awareness if possible !

Sorry for the negative comment.

Keep going,


Anonymous said...

I have seen how much garbage is left behind when Lebanese have a picnic, much much more would left after camping.