After publishing my first post in the Outdoors Community, I was encouraged by @holm to write about the experience of extended camping. Well, here it is. The quick explanation is that there are no (completed / long-term) buildings at the property where I came for an eco-build. Neither of us are living here, but for the time being we made our base on this land, while we were constructing. However, thinking about it I came to realize that we are actually "camping" a lot more than we'd think. Or if not, maybe we should...
Camping on the Land
The property I'm on in Mazunte is owned by a theater company, who is planing to build an Earthship theater... at some point in the future. For now, we started out with a type of storage building, whose roof still needs to be covered. So roofed structures of accommodation are not anywhere near on the horizon, and one will have to do as best as they can for finding a place to sleep. A tent, a hammock, a van, a bus... Wherever it's comfortable enough for a night's sleep, not too hot, and safe from biting insects.
Once the sleeping aspect was covered, things like showering, cooking, eating, hanging out, etc. only resembled camping due to its lack of walls and roof. Under our kitchen table we set up a long table, which was the center of countless delicious meals, vibrant jam sessions, exciting games from chess to charades, deep discussions about the workings of this world, and the shedding of tears, not once.
Thanks to the comfortable seating group, around a coffee table, another comfortable social area was added. If we needed to work on a computer, or even write down something, we could sit down on a thrown of a desk-chair next to a spacious desk / shelf / electric charging station. All of this furniture was built out of scrap and pallets, but it makes a huge difference in terms of sitting and working surface. And if all that wasn't enough, we could always place a bench from the bus on top of some tires, and a have a place to sit, or even lie down.
Shower and Kitchen: Functional, Minimal, Luxurious
Though the toilet is a dry composting toilet, and the shower is solar, the water for it comes from the same tank our the kitchen sink is plugged in to. So yeah, showering under the open sky may resemble camping, the rest is more like the first year a family in these parts moves onto a property to build their house. At first they live in make-shift huts and the like, but within months they have a roof to move in under. And for us? Four years have not been enough to have roof done! But next year maybe...
On the other hand, it doesn't usually happen that I get to shower in a brighter place. At the same time, the white textile sheets offer privacy in an aesthetic way, not to mention the relatively large area inside. So in a way our outdoor shower is even superior to a regular bathroom.
As for cooking, it all happens outside, but on a regular gas stove intended for indoor use. The fridge also is a conventional one, right next to the a larger one that doesn't work, but is still good enough to keep (the majority of) insects at bay. And this is in fact the only annoying factor, closest resembling camping.
Living in Nature
But don't we get this kind of encounters regularly? Like when we're hanging out in our garden, on our porch, on our balcony? Even when we're at home, we like to keep some close link to nature, either by bringing it into our house in form of plants, fish tanks, indoor ponds, etc. or by placing our living area close to nature, at the edge of the woods or on the bank of a river. We may shield ourselves with mosquito netting, which to me feels a lot like "camping", even if its on a screen window.
In a way, my point with this entire post was to illustrate my momentary living conditions, and show how blurry the lines between camping and not camping can be. As for me, I would love to continue camping in one form or another for as long as I live, arranging aspects of nature and culture together in the best way.