Here are answers to questions that have been asked; some only once, some more often.
Why is this called a ‘Camp’? Do I need to bring camping gear?
Read Answer Crazy Camps are in a building, mostly a hut or chalet. There might be an exeptional Crazy Camp in a tent, but in that case I will provide a group tent and you will still not need to bring your tent. In the description of the individual Crazy Camps it is clearly stated what kind of accommodation is provided.
You do not need to bring camping gear except for a sleeping bag or a sleeping bag liner (Hüttenschlafsack, sac à viande). You do not need to bring a tent.
So if the Crazy Camps are not about camping, then why are they called Crazy Camps? In our context the word Camp represents the concept of a group of people that is temporarily staying together in a specific place in order to spend time together and do activities together.
crazy /ˈkreɪzɪ/ adjective Out of the ordinary; unusual.
camp /kæmp/ noun A group of people that is temporarily gathered in a specific place in order to do specific activities together.
Crazy Camp /ˈkreɪzɪ kæmp/ noun A diverse group of people staying (usually in a house or hut) in the middle of amazing nature, having an incredible time together.
Why do I have to pay an advance payment?
Read Answer Two reasons. First of all, I have to pay a (way bigger) advance payment when booking accommodation for the Crazy Camp. Second, it is the best way for me to find out if you have a serious intention of joining.
What happened to the “Gender Pay Gap Compensation”?
Read Answer For a couple of years, there were two different participation fees for Crazy Camps: a standard one, and a lower one with “Gender Pay Gap Compensation”. In most countries of the world women receive a lower per hour payment for the same activities as men. In my opinion this is injustice. In the European Union for example the so called Gender Pay Gap is 15-16%. See this animated infographic for an explanation.
My little protest against this injustice was that I offered female participants (and genderqueer people, that usually suffer from similar discimination) the possibility to get 15% reduction on the Crazy Camp participation fee, as a futile compensation for the Gender Pay Gap. If women and genderqueer people don’t get paid the same, then why should they pay the same?
My justification of the Gender Pay Gap compensation and quite some discussion about it can be found in this public facebook post.
I decided to stop with the Gender Pay Gap compensation for one single reason: several women indicated to me that they experienced it as patronizing. Which is te absolute opposite of what I wanted to achieve.
If you counted on the Gender Pay Gap Compensation still being an option, please reach out to me.
How can I know that I can trust you? Will you not disappear with my advance payment?
Read Answer I will not disappear with your advance payment but technically there is no way that you can know that I will not. You’ll have to trust me. Just as I will have to trust you: will you really show up? Will you not steal things? Will you not be drunk and annoying all the time? If it helps: there have been 35 Crazy Camps so far (as per summer 2019), the whole Crazy Camp thing is my passion and joy, and there are better ways of making money than to run away with your advance payment. By the way, please read the testimonials of previous Crazy Camp participants and feel free to check out the references that 160 people that met me in real life (in non-Crazy Camp context) wrote about me on Couchsurfing. And if you want, we can have a skype conversation. The link is on the Contact page :)
What organization is behind the Crazy Camps? Some travel agency?
Read Answer Originally it started out with no organization at all. Just one private person sharing his passion with you. Basically I organize these trips just for myself and I share time, space, activities and fun with you. In return, you participate in the activities and pay your share in the costs. More info can be found in the About page. However, now that there are more and more Crazy Camps and more and more Crazy Camp participants, it became necessary to create a legal structure. So now I founded a not-for-profit association under Dutch law. When you participate in a Crazy Camp, you become member of this association for the duration of that Crazy Camp.More details about the association and your membership on this page.
How is the trip to the Crazy Camp location included or organized?
Read Answer It is not. You will have to find your own way of getting to the Camp. I will provide information about the arrival time that you are expected, the nearest train/bus station, the nearest airports, how to get from the bus station to the Crazy Camp location… In the forum you can discuss with the other participants about traveling together etc.
What kind of people have signed up for the Crazy XYZ Camp? Age, gender, etc.?
Read Answer It doesn’t matter. The Crazy Camps are about inclusion, not selection. So far, every Crazy Camp has been very mixed: different ages from under 20 to over 50, different levels of education, different cultural backgrounds and nationalities. Anyway, to give you a general idea, here’s a cute infographic
What is the group size of a Crazy Camp?
Read Answer Usually groups are between 7 and 16 people big – or small, depends on how you look at it :-)
What language(s) is/are spoken at the Crazy Camp?
Read Answer Crazy Camps attract people from all over. In a recent one, out of 9 participants only 2 had the same mother tongue. In general, English is used as the common language. But if you are having a chat with that other participant that has your native language, then no one expects you to have that chat in English. You don’t speak English? For sure you know some 10 or 20 words in English. You will be amazed about how you will still manage to communicate. And I will translate essential things into French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Italian or Lingala if that helps you.
Why is the exact location not indicated in the info page?
Read Answer The main reason for this is that I want to make sure that you sign up because the Crazy Camp concept appeals to you, and not for some other reason, such as for example that you really want to go to that specific resort but everything is booked, except for the Crazy Camp, or that you are looking for a cheap holiday, no matter what kind of trip it is.
The information that I give about the resort should be enough information for you to estimate if it will be satisfying for you. If you want to have an idea of the beauty of Crazy Camp locations: there are pictures on some of the ‘past events’ pages, and please check out the blog at crazycampadventures.tumblr.com, where there is a growing collection of pictures of Crazy Camps – as well as at our instagram account. Of course, I do tell you the exact name of the location where we are staying as soon as you have paid the advance payment.
In a way, Crazy Camps are “Blind Breaks”: a holiday you book without knowing the destination. These surprise trips originate from the “experiential travel”: traveling with the goal to get out of your comfort zone.
What facilities are in the accommodation?
Read Answer This is mentioned in the info page of the Crazy Camp that you are interested in. If something is not mentioned, then don’t presume that it is there… what is obvious for you, might not be obvious for that location. So if you miss something that is important for you in the description, better ask me :-)
Can I contact other participants before the trip?
Read Answer Before every Crazy Camp we meet virtually, in a private forum. This is usually two or three weeks before departure. In the forum we give a short introduction of ourselves, we discuss ride shares, logistics at arrival, what to bring, what we will eat, etc. If you would like to contact a participant of one of the past Crazy Camps before deciding to sign up, I can establish the contact if I understand that you are seriously considering signing up.
Is smoking/drinking allowed?
Read Answer Don’t smoke in places where it can bother others: in the house, at the terrace, in the sauna or hot tub, etc.
Crazy Balance Camps are strictly alcohol free and drugs free. At other Crazy Camps, a glass (or two) of wine or beer is not uncommon. Being wasted, however, is not common and not welcomed. Hardcore drinkers should better book some party trip elsewhere.
The only drug that is common in Crazy Camps is adrenaline – the best drug anyway.
Am I fit enough?
Read Answer Good question. The Crazy Mountain Camps and Crazy Snow Camps are activity trips (mountain hiking, skiing/snowboarding etc.) so you need a certain stamina for that – especially taking into account that you are at a higher altitude (less oxygen) then your usual location. Of course you can skip the longer hikes or go softly with the skiing. In case of serious overweight (not just ‘chubby’) or never-have-done-sports-before you might want to reconsider your participation. You don’t have to be an athlete though, the activities are recreational and not competitive. Please check out the next FAQ item as well.
I have physical limitations or mental health issues, can I still join?
Read AnswerHaving mental or physical limitations is rarely a binary thing. Fifty years ago we would simply classify people as ‘crazy’ or ‘handicapped’ but I think that we evolved away from that.
1. About mental health issues. During the 5 years that I was working (as a layperson) in psychiatry, I came to understand that on the one hand there are people that clearly have heavy mental health issues and on the other hand we all have mental health issues to some degree – some more noticeable, some less; some are accepted as ‘normal’ by society (eg. many religious convictions could be labeled as ‘delusions’ which is a psychiatrical condition). Also often it depends on social status and coincidence if someone gets diagnosed/labeled or not. In psychiatry they work with diagnostic check lists; if for example on the ‘bipolar disorder’ checklist you check more than … out of 10 symptoms, you are diagnosed as ‘having a bipolar disorder’. You will be surprised how many boxes we all would check for ourself on all those checklists! Maybe less than the threshold for being labeled, but on all of these checklists we all will surely find items that apply to us. So as for me the answer to the question “I have mental health issues, can I still join?” could be “Yes! If not, nobody could join…” If you have been diagnosed with a mental health issue then keep the following things in mind: a. Crazy Camps are intended to be a non-judgemental space. So the ‘quirks’ that come with your issue are welcome, because YOU are welcome. b. If there is a risk that you would need intervention during the Crazy Camp, for example because you have a psychosis coming up, then be aware that we are far away from towns, clinics and doctors. You are responsible for yourself so you are responsible for assessing if and when this applies to you. If you depend on medication, make sure that you bring enough.
2. About physical limitations. Here also, it’s really not binary. Yes it is clear that Stephen Hawking was having severe physical limitations and I can’t imagine how he would have participated in a Crazy Camp. On the other hand I am pretty sure that many people that participate in the Paralympics have less (or at least different) physical limitations than myself, being a not very sporty and not very flexible person. During a Yoga session I definitely encounter my physical limitations! I have seen people hiking in the mountains on one leg; I have seen someone going downhill on the ski slope with no legs. Rather than stating something like ‘Crazy Camps are not suitable for people in a wheelchair’ I prefer describing the situation so that you can make your own assessment. Because I don’t know how agile you are with your wheelchair and what you can do with your body. And wheelchair is just an example of course, there are many physical limitations that don’t involve wheelchairs.The Crazy Camp accommodations are never adapted to physical limitations. Usually there are narrow mountain trails to navigate in order to reach them; the toilet (sometimes a simple outhouse) is not adapted; the dorm is usually reached by climbing ladder like steep stairs. If you have questions about specific items or questions in relation to your own limitations, please ask!
Can I opt out of certain activities if I want?
Read Answer Yes you can. Crazy Camps are a group thing – if you count spending your evenings quietly in a corner reading Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” then it’s not the right trip for you. But if you have an off day or are exhausted after a long hike, then of course you will skip a night of crazy games. As long as you come to the Crazy Camp with the intention of participating, everything will be cool :-)
What can you say about Safe Space and policing? (And a trigger warning)
There is no ‘leadership team’ or ‘staff’ at the Crazy Camps. I (Klaas, the organizer) will participate in the Crazy Camp activities just like the other participants. At best I am ‘primus inter pares’. And the same goes for example for the yoga facilitator if there is one, etc. We’re all in it together :)
This having said, I do actively pursue my ambition to create every Crazy Camp as a welcoming and judgement-free space for all participants and with the help of all participants. Crazy Camps want to be a space where you feel empowered to try out new things – and equally a space where you feel empowered to not participate in something if you feel too uncomfortable with it. No judgement! For example: during a Crazy Snow Camp, one evening we had a rice dish for dinner. I suggested that we would all eat with our hands from one big bowl (as is common in many countries on our planet) but for some of the participants this was beyond limits, so they ate from their own individual plates. No problem :)
Of course it is at all times your own responsibility to say (and act) ‘no’ when you feel ‘no’. You are invited (not forced) to challenge your own comfort zone and you commit to respecting the expressed boundaries of the others.
The Crazy Camps facilitate a state of absence of judgement and facilitate space holding. This, combined with the fact that at a Crazy Camp you are far away from your habitual social, geographical, relational and professional environment, makes it easier for you to drop the masks, express your authenticity (the full spectrum of it, not just the ‘pleasant’ colours) and experiment, without having to dread for the consequences.
The magic happens outside of your comfort zone and as stated before, at the Crazy Camp you will feel facilitated, not forced, to make that step.
Nevertheless it can happen that you get triggered during the Crazy Camp. If that happens, there is no need to ignore or hide it; on the contrary, your expression of being triggered is welcome. It is an invitation for the group to hold space for you and not judge; and at the same time an invitation for you to connect with your feeling and to research what is inside you that caused you to be triggered. This is potentially a liberating and transformative experience for you and for the others.
This does certainly not mean that the intention is to trigger you on purpose! But let’s face it, it is impossible to predict who will be triggered by what. Things that pass almost unnoticed for one, trigger (or touch) the other. It is impossible to avoid that some people might be triggered during the Crazy Camp experience.
I would like to add the following. I try to be very aware of, and spread awareness of sexism, racism and queer phobia and of how these things traumatise individuals and society as a whole. If a participant expresses themself in a sexist, racist or queer phobic way, the idea is to not judge that participant but rather facilitate them in embodying why a world without sexism, racism and queer phobia is a better place for everybody.
As I said I try to be as aware as I can, and also to be aware of how everybody experiences situations differently. But I am a middle age white European male (and thus member of the most privileged group on this planet) so I have many blind spots and if you feel the urge to point me out to them I encourage you to do so.
Are Crazy Camps about sex?
Read Answer No. As far as I am aware, only in 1 out of every 10 Crazy Camps there has been sexual interaction between some individuals (that’s fine, as long as it’s consensual). Crazy Camps are not really a suitable place for that; usually your personal privacy is close to zero anyway. If you’re looking for sex, I would recommend you to book an all inclusive flight to Ibiza; your chances of getting laid are tremendously bigger there.
What type of luggage should I take?
Read Answer Usually Crazy Camp locations can not be reached by normal road. So oftentimes we have to get our stuff to the accommodation skiing/snowboarding or hiking. You’re better off with a backpack than with a suitcase!
What is this with clothing is optional that is mentioned in the description of some Crazy Camps?
Read Answer Usually the Crazy Camps offer little privacy because of shared bedrooms, shared sanitary facilities etc. If someone likes to sleep naked, they will not undress under the bedsheets, right? And the wellness-elements of the Crazy Camps (sauna, hot tub or whatever) are normally used unclothed. ‘Clothing is optional’ means just that: clothing is optional. No one forces you to wear clothes and no one forces you to not wear them. It is unlikely that you will be surrounded by naked people all the time at a Crazy Camp. So just relax; nothing to worry about.
A lottery for allocating the beds?
Read Answer The Crazy Camps usually take place in locations with a mixed bed situation; no gender separation. In most huts we sleep in one or two group dorms; rarely there are also double rooms, twin rooms etc. So on the first evening we do a lottery. This indeed means that there is a possibility (in the rare cases that we’re not in a group dorm) that you end up sharing a double bed with someone that was a complete stranger to you until some hours before… and so what? Just sleep, it is not relevant who is sleeping next to you.
If there is some rational reason to change the outcome of the lottery (for example: a tall person got a small bed and a small person got a big bed) then we change. If you have some weighty emotional reason to not participate in the lottery, then please let me know BEFORE the start of the Crazy Camp.
By the way, this lottery implies also that there is no way to influence who gets the ‘best’ beds (should there be any difference in comfort or quality). We all have equal chances. Ah and one more thing: should there be bed rooms with an attached bathroom, then that bath room will not be the private bathroom of the people in that bed room. All sanitary facilities are there to be shared.
Can I leave before the end of the Crazy Camp?
Read Answer Of course you can. It has been extremely rare that someone leaves early for other reasons than medical or logistical (catch the flight home).
Can I sign up for just two or three days?
Read Answer No, sorry. Crazy Camps are no walk-in walk-out events. We’re in it together :-)
What about the risks that I run during Crazy Camps? What about liability and insurance?
Read Answer Some activities during the Crazy Camps have a higher risk than sitting on the couch at home. Obviously this goes for sport activities like for example skiing/snowboarding and mountain hiking, but it might go for some group games also and practical things like for example hot wood stoves in the middle of the room. You are always responsible for assessing the risks yourself and you are always responsible for your own do’s and don’ts. You are yourself liable for the consequences of your own decisions. No insurance is provided on behalf of the organiser; please arrange a travel insurance yourself and make sure that it covers the appropriate risks (for example: are winter sports activities covered? This is not always the case).
Can I bring my pet?
Read Answer No, sorry. The nature of the accommodations and the group dynamics do not allow for this. If it is about a help dog eg. because you are visually challenged, please contact me so that we can discuss (im)possibilities.
Can I join together with my child(ren)?
Read Answer It depends. The same that is written about couples, counts for parent/child constellations as well: you are supposed to participate in the Crazy Camp and its activities as individuals. Of course you don’t have to pretend that you don’t know each other, but will your child feel free to express themself freely, will they be able to have their own autonomous experiences while a parent is around? The same the other way around: will you as a parent feel free? And more challenging: will you as a parent be able to grant your child their freedom? Will you be able to be non-judgemental and not over-protective? Only if you can honestly answer all these questions with ‘yes’, we can start discussing your participation :)
So far there has been no parent/child situation at a Crazy Camp.