Ecoventure – the wild camping experience
The wild… such a powerful way to start a youth exchange. Disconnecting 24 motivated, ambitious and creative youngsters from society and connecting them with nature.
26th of June, a moderately depressed day, with the tiny and cold drops of rain piercing the degraded fabrics that I was wearing, touching my skin and making me aware of myself. That’s what I encountered after stepping out of the car that brought me to the green and lively plateau that we were positioned on. I was among the first to arrive. I noticed some people sheltering from the rain, waiting with excitement for the others to arrive, smiling and preparing food.
The night was approaching, more and more people started to show up, and the bonds among ourselves started to form. We collected some resources (wood, water) so we can pass the night. The set-up of the tents was a bit challenging at first, because for some of us it was the first experience of the such, and also it was almost dark. But we managed. We gave a helping hand to one-another, and this was the first achievement as a group.
Thankfully, the rain stopped at some point, and even if the ground was still a bit wet, we didn’t hesitate to light up a fire and sit around it to know eachother and tell stories. I was so happy to see people engaging in productive conversations, but I noticed something that I haven’t seen in a loooong time: NOBODY was using their phones (maybe because there was also a heavy lack of signal). That was the moment when I told myself “this is gonna be a good project”. I think that everyone escaped the apotheotically depressing habit of internet/media addiction in that moment.
The sun.. was rising! (or the earth rotated enough for us to absorb the rich and lovely rays of the life-giving celestial body). Birds were humming peacefully while some tiny insects in the tent were committing suicide on my sweaty skin. It felt like a natural alarm!
We started the day gloriously, not thinking about what will we eat or where will we shit (ups!). We served a small breakfast, then we proceeded to some activities. We established some rules, including as many eco-oriented rules as possible (“leave no trace”, for example), talked about some eco-concepts and so on.. basically we tried to get a little bit more familiar with the environmental issues from a theoretical point of view.
As nice as it might sound to be out there trying to “green” yourself, it’s not always the case… In fact, problems started to come on the surface relatively quickly. At the beginning people were often upset about the varying time necessary for preparing the food, the lack of running water at all times, and, probably, the grass tickling their doo-doos (ups again!), but very soon we started to organize better. Everyone knew what to do in the next days, and slowly we started to productively evolve as a group. Everyone seemed to adapt to the circumstances. We always helped eachother when we saw struggle.
Getting back to the wild camping part… sleeping on hard ground with your snoring like a bear soon to become friends, taking shower every morning and every evening in the little shores of a river (we had also some camping showers, but it’s “wild” camping – who needs that?), cooking together with basic tools for so many people when you are barely able to cook for yourself, going to sleep every night watching the stars, breathing the cold air of the mountain and not being worried about what is going to bring you the next day, because you are just happy… happy for being able to find a spot in nature that is not touched with brutality by the humankind, for being surrounded by apocalyptic people (in the sense that you will forget their memory only when the apocalypse will hit), happy just for taking these days off, right there, and for giving you the chance to get disconnected and to live for once, just for yourself.
Personally, I would say that every camping experience is unique and it’s worth enjoying once in a while. I would strongly agree with the fact that it contributes to the empowerment of the brutally dilating time that we deal with in these fragile contemporary traps.
And, from a humble, former nihilistic person, going out in nature seems to give life a more sustainable meaning. That and falling in love (not the author note :D).
Ecoventure bit: „The war in our tent”
It’s 3AM… BZZZZZ, BZZZZZZ, BZZZZZ! You wake up with the idea that an entire hive of bees conquered your whole external auditory meatus, BZZZZZ, BZZZZZZ, BZZZZZ, broke your fragile tympanic membrane and now it’s marching to your Eustachian tube, BZZZZZ, BZZZZZZ, BZZZZZ, to reach your treasure… your peacefully resting brain. You remember the anatomy classes and you are certain that the grey matter it’s just smoke from your brain that is now on fire, full of anger and distress. BZZZZZ, BZZZZZZ, BZZZZZ… you open your eyes and see two little shadows dancing between the two layers of your tent. BZZZZZ, BZZZZZZ, BZZZZZ. You think they will get tired of that pale green fabric and will soon search their way out to live their lives, or die, or.. you don’t care.. just to go anywhere else but not there.. BZZZZZ, BZZZZZZ, BZZZZZ you wait for a couple of minutes and it’s a certainty that your strategy has failed and just waiting is not going to stop this guerilla. BZZZZZ, BZZZZZZ, BZZZZZ. You go out, bouncing around like a boozer, but you find your strength and fight with the two little mercenary like a true Hercules. It’s a tight, exhausting battle but you are the hero of the story. Proud and happy you return back to your improvised bed, huddle in your sleeping bad and close your eyes, hoping for an apocalyptic end of the story (in the sense that it’s gone for ever). Yes, it’s coming! BZZZZZ, BZZZZZZ, BZZZZZ, BZZZZZ, BZZZZZZ, BZZZZZ, BZZZZZ, BZZZZZZ, BZZZZZ, BZZZZZ, BZZZZZZ, BZZZZZ, BZZZZZ, BZZZZZZ, BZZZZZ, BZZZZZ, BZZZZZZ, BZZZZZ… oh Sisyphus….
The content for this post is part of our online blog called “Ecoventure” which aims to share our experience in the Erasmus+ Youth Exchange ”Ecotourism Ventures for Youth Environmental Education”. The project was financed with the support of the European Commission through Erasmus+ Programme. This blog reflects only the author’s views, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
We got to work… One morning amidst our adventures in Greece, we all gathered for a brainstorming session. What we had were a bunch of people, tons of ideas, a lot of enthusiasm. Of course, we had to make use of all our resources, including the beach right in front of our camping and the drone we had with us…
Chalkidiki except for a great place for vacation or an Erasmus+ program is a natural gem of Greece. Lying in the Macedonia region and being one of the 13 units of it, it is the end of Central Macedonia in the Aegean Sea, which penetrates deep into it (talking about geology please concentrate)…
During one of our last days in the project, we came across a very unpleasant surprise… while in Greece, at the far end of the rocks, we found a dead baby dolphin. It was an infant, no more than a couple of days old.
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