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The Great Escape

  • Date Submitted: 04/07/2013 09:13 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 53.8 
  • Words: 651
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Economy is one powerful motive for camping, since after the initial outlay upon equipment, or through hiring it, the total expense can be far less than the cost of hotels. But, contrary to a popular assumption, it is far from being the only one, or even the greatest. The man who manoeuvres carelessly into his 20 pounds' worth of space at one of Europe's myriad permanent sites may find himself bumping a Bentley. More likely, Ford Escort will be hub to hub with Renault or Mercedes, but rarely with bicycles made for two.


That the equipment of modern camping becomes yearly more sophisticated is an entertaining paradox for the cynic, a brighter promise for the hopeful traveler who has sworn to get away from it all. It also provides and some student sociologist might care to base his thesis upon the phenomenon -- an escape of another kind. The modern traveller is often a man who dislikes the Splendide and the Bellavista, not because he cannot afford, or shuns their material comforts. but because he is afraid of them. Affluent he may be, but he is by no means sure what to tip the doorman or the chambermaid. Master in his own house, he has little idea of when to say boo to a maitre d'hotel.


From all such fears camping releases him. Granted, a snobbery of camping itself, based upon equipment and techniques, already exists; but it is of a kind that, if he meets it, he can readily understand and deal with. There is no superior 'they' in the shape of managements and hotel hierarchies to darken his holiday days.


To such motives, yet another must be added. The contemporary phenomenon of car worship is to be explained not least by the sense of independence and freedom that ownership entails. To this pleasure camping gives an exquisite refinement.


From one's own front door to home or foreign hills or sands and back again, everything is to hand. Not only are the means of arriving at the holiday paradise entirely within one's own command and keeping, but the...

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