Thanks for taking time out of your busy life to gaze upon this blog. I’ll do my best to keep the posts here short and snappy.
What is Urban Camping, you may ask?
I recently Googled the phrase “urban camping” and found a few other websites and blogs, and they had different ideas about what it meant. So for now I’m going to make up my own definition. Think traditional camping, only in a city environment. Homeless people are professional urban campers.
If you could learn to live off the land, how cool would your life be if you didn’t have to pay rent? And rather than living out in the sticks, you’d be right down town. Think of the time you’d save on the commute to your job!
Ok, that’s maybe a bit of a stretch, but consider this.
Earlier this year, I took a trip, from my then current home of Tacoma, WA, by train, down to San Luis Obispo, to shoot a wedding. I “was” a wedding photographer. I say was, because that business pretty much dried up for me. Mostly my fault, but the economy didn’t help either! Anyway, I’m just about finished writing a book based on what I learned from that trip.
I did get to sleep 3 nights in motels, thanks to a friend of mine who didn’t want to see me sleeping out in the street. There were a couple nights I slept on the train. But there were also 3 nights I slept outside, in the open. 1 night in a park, one night on the beach, and the last night in an alley. This was mostly because I chose to sleep outside to save some money. Or said another way, if I didn’t sleep outside, I’d have had to go home sooner, since I didn’t have any money left!
What made that a bit more interesting, is I had about 8o pounds of gear with me, including 2 cameras, 2 laptops, and related accessories for photographing the wedding. I also had to have some nice clothes for the wedding, I had a jacket for the nights outside, and bought a folding cart while on the trip.
There were some long walks in the trip too. I walked from home to the train station, that was the short walk of only 3.3 miles. Then at San Luis Obispo, I walked from the train station to the first motel, should have been a reasonable 3.5 miles, but I went in the wrong direction at first, and managed to add on an extra mile of walking, through a field, and on the side of the freeway. Not good!
After the wedding I added a couple days in San Diego, so went AMTRAK again, and then got to do more walking, including a 10 mile walk down the Silver Strand from Coronado to Imperial Beach. Then it was a Trolley ride back up to the AMTRAK station, where I slept the last night in the alley, and then a 30 hour ride home.
So, why would I even bother?
I’ve spent years working, trying to keep my business afloat, and never taking vacations. Finally this year, I decided I was going, no matter what. While I can’t recommend this for everyone, I think its worth at least considering! Sleeping on the train is pretty comfortable. If you go with a friend, you’d be a lot safer sleeping outside too. And think of the story you have to tell when you get back.
I mentioned I’m writing a book about the trip. I’ll have it available shortly. In the mean time, I’ll also be putting a lot of content on the blog that will support the book. Photos from the trip, some of my receipts and maps, tips I learned, etc.
Thanks for reading, and Enjoy!
PS be sure to follow me on Twitter! @carlincomm