You Can Take the Girl Out of the City...

Women's Health (Malaysia) - - LETTER FROM THE EDITOR -

The word ‘camp­ing’ used to send shiv­ers down my spine and, even as a care­free kid, I never joined the Girl Guides be­cause I was afraid of the great un­known. As much as I love the idea of na­ture and an­i­mals, my ver­sion of hell is hav­ing noth­ing be­tween my bare feet and the wet jun­gle floor—not that I will put my­self in that sit­u­a­tion in the first place. I’m the sort of per­son who uses rocks as step­ping stones if I have to cross muddy paths and sprays on enough in­sect re­pel­lent to form a DEET force field. You get my drift; I’m more of a con­crete jun­gle girl than the kind with ac­tual trees.

I don’t want to blame my par­ents, but a big part of me be­ing so afraid of the great out­doors is a com­bi­na­tion of hav­ing an over­pro­tec­tive, OCD mum who wouldn’t even let us play in our own back­yard be­cause she was afraid some­thing would at­tack us or that we would fall down and hurt our­selves. Then there was my dad who would scare us silly with sto­ries about flesh-eat­ing crea­tures to stop us from do­ing stuff that would in­cur our mum’s wrath. Once that fear of critters and un­known dan­gers was cre­ated, they were then used to frighten us kids into be­hav­ing.

Over the years, I’ve learned to ap­pre­ci­ate na­ture more. I think a huge part of me just wanted to get past that fear that stopped me from do­ing fun and ad­ven­tur­ous stuff. Of course, I still do all this on the down low with­out my par­ents’ knowl­edge (yup, I’m still that kid!). And I also still wear enough in­sect re­pel­lent to hope­fully stop a swarm— dengue, malaria and other in­sect-borne dis­eases are real in the tropics—but I am par­tic­i­pat­ing in more out­ings that bring me closer to na­ture. I’m ba­si­cally tak­ing it one step at a time, and grad­u­ally build­ing my­self up for an ac­tual camp­ing trip one of these days. Wish me luck!

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