Matt Heath is a radio host on Radio Hauraki and Herald columnist

Matt Heath: Camping - slum it like our pathetic ancestors

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Roughing it at a camp site in the holidays shows us how far civilisation has advanced in the past 8000 years.
We can afford to slum it outside for a week a year just for a joke. Photo / Getty Images
We can afford to slum it outside for a week a year just for a joke. Photo / Getty Images

How good is camping? Spending your holidays free from the distractions of modern life. A reset of the simple things that make us human. A pure way to exist for a week or so.

Also a great way to remind yourself how crap it would have been to live 8000 years ago. Back then humans didn't have towns or houses. They just walked around camping all the time, living in horrible mud huts and caves but without inflatable beds, sleeping bags, board games, iPads or cricket sets. No head torches, gas cookers, fly zappers or baked beans with little sausages.

I began 2016 sitting in my tent looking out at the rain thinking how great houses are. Heat pumps, high-pressure showers, large-screen TVs, WiFi, roofs, walls and floors. These comforts we take for granted have been with humans for only the tiniest end tip of our time on earth. People living today are the luckiest of the lucky.

Our great species has spent most of its existence nude in insect-ridden holes, covered in sores, eating crappy unflavoured food while everyone and everything tried to kill us.

Short, painful, rotten-toothed, shoeless lives with no flushing toilets or Star Wars: The Force Awakens to entertain us.

That's why we go camping. To laugh at our ancestors and their crappy lives. We have come so far technologically that we can afford to slum it outside for a week a year just for a joke. Camping is like yelling "losers" back across the ages at our pathetic forefathers. Prehistoric men and woman had to camp outside. They had no need to take a break and get back to nature. Nature was beating the hell out of them on a daily basis. Whereas us 2016 people can flirt with nature just for kicks.

This summer the tent two down from my family had four bedrooms, a lounge, kitchen, generator, fridge, TV and an Xbox One. I went down there and played Rise of The Tomb Raider on their couch for three hours straight. Compare that to primitive man who spent his life sitting on the hard cold ground playing with himself. We have it so good.

This year our campground was packed with drunken teenagers. When it started to rain they cleared out in minutes. Most of them didn't even take their stuff with them. The camp site became a ghost town of abandoned $19.95 Warehouse tents. Prehistoric man would have given his right arm for a $19.95 Warehouse tent. Treasured it. Handed it down from generation to generation. He would have drawn low-level pictures of it on stone walls. In 2016 most of us can't even be bothered carrying ours back to the car. What an amazing time we live in.

When we humans finally invent time travel we should go back to hunter-gatherer times and rub our cool stuff in their stupid primitive faces. "Nice fire dick. Check out my stainless steel six dual burner BBQ - and that's just for holidays. I got a whole kitchen back home."

Of course in 50 years people will look back and laugh at our brutal existence. They will say things like "did you know in 2016 people had rooms in their houses where they would sit down and defecate into a bowl of water? What a bunch of losers." In the future our excretions will most likely be zapped from our bodies into space where they can float around forever. I can't wait.

Still, it's bloody good to be alive in AD2016 rather than 6000BC.

Compared with the past, most Kiwis live a life of luxury. That's why it's so great to head off once a year and slum it like our pathetic ancestors did. Camping is big middle finger back across the ages and a lot of fun for the whole family.

- NZ Herald

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Matt Heath is a radio host on Radio Hauraki and Herald columnist

Matt Heath is a breakfast radio host on Radio Hauraki, and a television producer, writer and director. He made a name for himself with Back of The Y Masterpiece Television, Balls of Steel UK and the feature film The Devil Dared Me To. Matt was guitarist and singer for the band Deja Voodoo which released two top twenty albums. He is currently a producer on Best Bits, a cricket commentator for The Alternative Commentary Collective, and the director of Vinewood Motion Graphics. Matt is a father of two living in Auckland City.

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