This might come as a surprise to you, but it’s easy for me to formulate the 5 top reasons why I (and maybe you?) would not want to join certain group trips. And how I created an alternative. Let’s dive in!

1. EVERYBODY IS FORCING THEMSELVES TO BE NICE/FUNNY/LIKED

After all, you don’t want to be that one person that ruins the positive atmosphere, right? So if you have that day of feeling off because of a short night, sad thoughts, tiredness, or monthly issues, you’ll force that smile on your face anyway, right? And inside you, that really sucks!

At Crazy Camps, ‘come as you are’ is a core value. We’re not interested in theatre. At the start of every Crazy Camp, I introduce the most important house rule: “Feel happy at all times – except when you don’t feel happy!” If you don’t want to join the hike of that day, or you want to stare at the moon just by yourself that evening, I totally encourage you to do so!

2. IT’S ALL ABOUT HOOKING UP AND COUPLING

Did you ever have that experience, that you’re not sure anymore: did I sign up for a group trip or for a meat market? As a woman or genderqueer person, you rarely feel at ease when surrounded by roosters that think that speaking with innuendo will make them the alpha male. And as a man, you’ll hardly really relax because your ‘laydar’ is always on. Wow, the whole trip became a competition.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to experience deep relaxation instead? To be able to let yourself sink in into whoever you really are. To not have the attack radar on, to not have the defense radar on. To be in a space where hunting is not appropriate. That is the space that we create together at the Crazy Camps. And, you know what? The connections that emerge in that space, are so much more meaningful and valuable!

3. FOLLOW THE LEADER, OR YOU’LL SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES

Yeah the guide or leader, that person executing the script of the trip, on autopilot. That person that wants you to follow the instructions because if you don’t, it means extra work, and they don’t have time for that. Let’s stick to the program and please don’t be difficult. Just adapt to the group.

There is no script for Crazy Camps, and there is no autopilot. Of course, there is a collection ready of activities that support the group dynamics and the individual transformations, but what activities precisely will be done, depends on the needs of the (individuals in) the group and that changes with every Crazy Camp. Plus: you are encouraged to be aware of your personal needs and to respect them, rather than to give in to (perceived or real) peer pressure.

4. THERE IS NO WAY AROUND THE AWKWARDNESS

That other group member did or said something really disturbing but you’ll shut your mouth about it and just sit out the week, avoiding contact with that person – challenging, because it was that one loud person that is really demanding attention. Again, this kills your relaxation. Well, at least you now have a reason to look forward to going back home.

More often than not, disturbing speech or behavior comes together with the mask that a person is wearing in daily life as part of their social survival strategy. At Crazy Camps, from day one we playfully work on dropping those masks. Should I witness disturbing speech or behavior (or when you speak up about it), the idea is that it would not be ignored but that it would serve as a learning opportunity, with the principles of transformative justice in mind. Please also check “about safe space and policing”

5. FEELING LONELY IS WORSE WHEN THERE ARE ACTUALLY PEOPLE AROUND

We all know loneliness, don’t we? Be it that evening that you realize that none of your friends have called you lately, or after a breakup, or when you have that feeling that no-one really understands you. Or that everyone in the group is really different from you. Now feeling lonely when you are alone on your couch is one thing, but feeling lonely when there are actually people around is much worse. Because… they are there, but it’s simply impossible to create a connection. Ouch, that hurts!

Connection (with one self and with others) generally comes naturally for new borns, but we often loose that capability while growing up, and especially when we are immersed in the rat race of life. Now the thing with Crazy Camps is that the character of the locations and the activities really facilitate connection (with yourself and with others). Yes, facilitate connection, and not force connection. And the more we let go of our masks and our social survival tricks, the easier meaningful connection becomes. Crazy Camps try to be a space free of judgement, in which you are free to connect or not connect. A liberating experience. And by the way, you will discover that we all have more in common than what we are usually aware of.

That’s my list! Does it resonate with you?

This article appeared first on MeetKlaas.net