My First Camping Experience

My name is Saron, I was born in Ethiopia and grew up in the capital Addis Ababa, until the age of 7. I later lived in Cincinnati, Ohio for several years before finally moving to Washington where I now live. Growing up I was always outdoors–playing with my older sister, my many cousins, and neighbors. I lived in an open neighborhood where all the kids in it were really tight and we were outside almost everyday. I didn’t start watching much tv or using any electronics until I was 9 years old because it just didn’t intrigue me. So, moving to Ohio and especially Washington was a big transition for me because the customs and relationships with people here are really different and distant.

My first camping experience was in Washington with my sixth grade class. I remember I was so excited I didn’t sleep the night before, little did I know I was in for a bigger surprise. In my head I was imagining that we literally had to live off of nature with nothing but us and trees in the middle of nowhere. And that we would have to hunt our food and make a fire, etc. but as I walked farther into the campsite my dreams were crushed. After all, the only thing I knew about camping was what I had seen on tv and from books. The first sign of disappointment was the paved parking lot and then the paved walkways and then the large kitchen and eating area and finally the cabins. The cabins were the most surprising because each cabin had a full bathroom–showers, sink, toilets, etc. It had three bunk beds and even a separate bedroom. That was my first camping experience, but I haven’t given up, one day I hope to go camping for real “Man vs. Wild” way.

BY SARON – National Park Service Intern

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