There’s a certain point in your life when you need to stop sharing a room with other adults you’re not in an intimate relationship with.
It’s nothing personal. There are just some nocturnal emissions from other adults that can’t be justified or tolerated unless you’re getting something romantic in return.
And yet, adults over the world are giving themselves over to the joy of spending a weekend doing craft, staring into campfires, singing Savage Garden and sharing a dorm with a group of other like-minded adults.
I enjoy at least 50 per cent of those things (and the stories I had read about adult summer camps in the US were very raunchy), so I decided to give an Australian adult camp go.
Jamboree – a creative weekend escape on the South Coast – was held for the first time last month, and I went along.
Here’s what I discovered about the camping trend giving grown-ups the chance to get away from their kids – to do things that only kids get to do.
Getting away is one thing, but how else do you look after your mind? Post continues after video.
1. Craft is good. Craft with wine is better.
Adult summer camps are licensed. Think you’re not a creative person? Perhaps you haven’t drunk enough wine.
I thought I didn’t know how to decorate an arrow with feathers, string, paint and glue. Add some wine and hey presto!:
It helps to have a really supportive environment. When I expressed concern about my abilities, I was told: “There is no wrong way to decorate an arrow”.
The combination of wine and the company of supportive women made this true.
2. There are beautiful places near Australian cities that haven’t been turned into Eco Lodges.
I stayed at a Scout Camp in the hinterland above Wollongong, less than two hours south of Sydney.
After a night of not sleeping (see below), I staggered around looking for coffee and I inadvertently wandered into a leafy grove complete with its own waterfall. It turns out it’s impossible to stay angry at the world when waterfalls pop up out of nowhere.
There was a view of the ocean. I heard lyre birds. The cliff face wore red lilies. At one stage, a musician played by a campfire while lightning flashed in the background.
I wandered around thinking: It’s so lovely here. How has this place not been sold off?
3. Sharing a dorm is not still not great. So you really need to tire yourself out.
You might think that sharing a room with five other women in the forest is like a Norman Lindsay painting.
It may even sound like a scene from a film about Norman Lindsay’s paintings.
But the truth is, sharing a dorm with five other adults can be a very average experience, even if you force two pairs of compressed foam deep into your ear canal.
If you don’t prepare yourself emotionally, you might wake up like this:
The cure for sharing a room with five other women you’re not intimate with?
Step 1: Run around in the wilderness using a torch and pretend you’re in Stranger Things.
Step 2: Dance to some 80s, 90s and Rihanna-associated bangers.
Step 3: Eat yourself a bellyful of delicious carbs. If that doesn’t immediately deliver you eight hours of blissful, zonked out slumber (the kind you haven’t had since you were a child), then return to Step 1 and repeat the process.
4. It’s less Hot Wet American Summer and more Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants.
Before I went to camp, I read up about the adult summer camp trend in America, which saw over one million people reliving their childhood last year. Melia Robinson from Business Insider wrote, “I recently had the opportunity to attend summer camp for adults, which was a lot like how I imagine kids' summer camp is -- except with booze, sex, and gossip.”
Now, when I went to camp last month there was booze – but it was organic and made by a local South Coast producer.
The crowd was predominantly women and the vibe seemed to be one of self-care, rather than devil-may-care.
But debauchery? Unless you avoid the demon drink (and the devil’s dancing), it was all good, clean, healthy fun.
It was all good, clean, healthy fun. Image supplied.
5. Summer camps are wasted on children.
Children never appreciate the good things in life. Like napping.
Arriving at a place and being handed a schedule of things I’m going to do over the following two days is actually pretty wonderful.
Close your eyes and picture this:
• Someone else has booked the accommodation.
• Someone else has made the food.
• Someone else has done the cleaning up.
• Someone else has organized the activities (and you don’t need to do anything else but turn up).
Did I mention napping whenever you feel like it?
Being told what to do is under-rated. Putting your happiness into the hands of someone else who knows what you’ll enjoy more than you do is well worth the experience.
If you’d like to check out the adult camp I attended, the website is www.jamboreesouthcoast.com.au.