Good morning beautiful souls,
Last weekend I went on my first proper solo trip! I went camping, to a festival all by myself and I’m glad I did! I get huge travel anxiety so this was a big deal for me, but I coped! Woohoo! I didn’t have a panic attack and best of all I had great time and met some lovely people! The festival I was attending was the Vegan Camp Out Festival at Newark Showground. With this being a very new festival (only it’s 3rd year running) I’d say it’s still a learning curve for the organisers too, but considering the number of attendees more than doubled from last year, it went down super well, there were no major hiccups and everyone had a blast.
I departed lunchtime on Friday with far too much stuff (but hey I was only used to going camping with the car where you can chuck as much as you like on the back seat aha, so considering this I think I managed to reduce my camping kit considerably!). Jessica kindly helped me carry all my things to the train station and from there on I just about coped; luckily I had a direct train and once I arrived in Newark it was a just a taxi ride from the station to the showground and a little walk to the campsite.
It was soo windy when I arrived that being by myself and with a brand new tent (which I hadn’t practised putting up beforehand) I really struggled to set up camp. Luckily some kind stranger next to me asked if I needed any help and together with the tips of two passing guys who had a similar tent we eventually, after what felt like hours, managed to erect it although I was a bit dubious as to whether it would stay up with the way the wind was knocking it around. Once I had my sleeping mat rolled out and the fairylights put up though I was very happy with my spacious but cosy home for the next 2 nights (I had a 4 person tent all to myself which was rather lovely I’m not going to lie).
Before going to the Vegan Camp Out I’d joined a Facebook group created for all the lone travellers, so that we could interact and arrange somewhere to all camp together. However I also knew that my experience would be ruined if I were to be kept awake all night by loud neighbours haha so I decided to camp in the designated Quiet area. I had been nervous about plonking my tent amidst strangers but before going I by chance ended up making friends with a lovely girl named Molly via Instagram. She was coming to the festival with her boyfriend and they decided to camp with me for which I was very grateful. About three hours after I got there Molly and her boyfriend Will finally arrived and set up camp next to me.
After settling in, we decided to check out some of the talks and went to listen to guitarist Jona Weinhofen’s personal vegan story, before ALF (Animal Liberation Front) founder Ronnie Lee took to stage and gave a very motivating speech about why we should not just be passive vegans but take to the streets and become activists. Having spent a good 9 year in prison himself for being an animal rights activist this guy’s passion for animals and their welfare is seriously inspiring!
Later in the evening I met up with Sam (a guy who’d messaged me from the Facebook lonelies group a day or two before the festival). We went to listen to the reggae legend that is Macka B and then sat down to chat the night away. Okay, okay you got me, we didn’t actually chat the night away. I mean I would have loved to, it was so lovely just chilling and chatting and Sam was super nice but I was literally yawing like every 2 mins come 12pm haha, so we called it a night.
The next day Molly, Will & I went to some more talks and workshops, including one by founder of the Carnisim Debunked website, which were all very informative and thought provoking. One of the talks held by Earthling Ed had such a huge crowd I only just managed to squeeze in at the back, but I’m glad I did – it was amazing hearing him talk in person, what a guy!!!
We treated ourselves for lunch and had some vegan pie & mash (I went for the mushroom one) which was so yummy and went off to listen to more talks such as by Peter Hammarstedt a Sea Shepherd Captain.
In the afternoon we decided we wanted to go to the screening of Dominion. Watching Dominion was so difficult, not everyone made it through the whole film. It was very harrowing to watch – it’s a stark & emotional reminder of why we as vegans do not eat animal produce! Hearing the cries of anguish from mothers and calves being separated, bearing witness to the thousands of animals repeatedly abused, watching as foxes are skinned alive for their fur, seeing baby chicks get conveyorbelted into a shredder just because they are male, having hidden cameras reveal the disgusting dirty & cramped conditions farmed animals live in….. the list of unnecessary, inhumane cruelty we inflict is truly endless, terrible and heart-breaking!
PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE, START DOING SOME RESEARCH TO INFORM YOURSELVES MORE ON THE IMPACT ANIMAL AGRICULTURE HAS ON ANIMAL WELFARE, OUR EVNIRONMENT & OUR HEALTH! IT’S SUCH AND IMPORTANT TOPIC!
Here’s some sites to get you started:
Well after a difficult afternoon, we went back to our tents to rest a little more before having dinner. I’d brought most of my food for the weekend with me (far too much in the end aha) and so I made an avocado salad sandwich but joined Molly and Will by the food stalls to treat myself to some vegan Churros for dessert. Annoyingly they ran out of chocolate sauce, 2 people infront of me?! Say what?! But they were just as tasty with just sugary cinnamon!
In the evening we went to see the last bit of Simon Amstell’s show on the main stage and have a good laugh. Molly and Will went back to their tent after this and I headed off to find Sam and hang out with him and some other lonelies grooving away to JME! After JME it was time for the afterparty, but I was pretty tired by then and knew I had an early enough start the next morning so I made my way back to my tent. Sam came back with me to my tent (I was forcing my leftover booze on him as I did so not want to have to carry it all the way home again aha) but instead of going back to the party straight away he stayed a while and we talked a bit more which was really nice as I felt like we’d just clicked really well. Eventually I did go to bed though and Sam went off to continue the party, well into the early hours of the morning apparently (I’m so glad I’d listened to myself and did not sleep in the lonelies area of the camp as this had apparently been the afterparty of the afterparty area where I would have got 0 sleep).
Anyway I woke the next day to a grey sky and chilli morning which made getting out of my toasty sleeping bag rather difficult. I had hoped both mornings to be up and awake to join in on the morning yoga sessions, but totally failed both mornings, preferring my cosy lie ins aha! But this morning I couldn’t lie in too long as our taxi was booked back to the station for 11.30am (following the horrendous queues for taxis to the festival we made sure to book on Saturday for Sunday, and I’m glad we did otherwise who knows how long we’d have had to wait!). I’d packed my things together quite quickly and was having my breakfast by the time Molly & Will woke up and in the end our tents were all dissembled quicker than I thought, which was good though because it meant we could still go to one of the morning talks before leaving. I was also a good call getting up earlier as it started to rain and so we just about had everything packed away before it got too wet!
Once we made it to the train station the last leg of my trip began as I had almost 4 hours to wait for my train home. It wasn’t too bad though, I read my book (The Handmaid’s Tale), drank coffee and before I knew it 4 hours had flown by and I was on my way home.
I apologise for this essay of a blog post, but I guess I’m not good at being short and precise aha, so you get the long winded ramblings of my weekend adventure! I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about what I got up to and might even be inspired to check out some of the links 🙂