Every activity seems to sprout its own jargon, as every lawn or garden sprouts weeds. Oddly enough, camping doesn't seem jargon-intensive. In fact the only jargon that comes to mind is 'boondocking', a term I dislike and seldom use. There might be more jargon that is obvious to an outsider, but not to an insider.
I finished out the night by listening to the "History of English" podcast again, and found the episode on the woolen cloth industry in medieval England so interesting that I had to get out of bed and start this post.
In particular, Kevin Stroud went through the cloth-making industry in the order of its major processing steps, and mentioned the new English surnames or words that were associated with that step: Spinner, Weaver, Webster, Fuller, Walker, and spinster, napkin, apron, blanket, and mannequin.
Perhaps this episode was especially fun for me because, as a camper, I have 'slept with the sheepies' on BLM land, seen warning signs about staying away from the Great Pyrenees guard dogs, and even had a rudimentary conversation with a Peruvian shepherd.
|A shepherd's wagon, near Silverton, CO|
You could think of the primitiveness of that conversation as not being due to his inability to speak English and my 15% ability to speak Spanish, but of traveling back in time to the beginnings of human language, when people pantomimed and got by with mere names, while lacking grammar and syntax.
But it is more general than sheep, wool, and cloth. When we go back in time and look at word etymologies, we break life into more basic component parts, and see how they affect your surname, language, and even how you think today.
The same thing happens when you go camping: you are breaking the modern edifice down into more basic parts, and starting to understand how that edifice came to be and what its significance is.
The limiting case is somebody who converts their own van or trailer into an RV. Here a person is essentially going back in time to think about water usage, cleaning themselves, heating and cooling, the discomforts of climate, the nearby presence of wild animals, using tools, and generally being more self-reliant.
Perhaps we should call camping 'the etymology of life and culture.'