Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Things I learnt about myself at Reading Festival...

They always say that life begins outside of your comfort zone, and last weekend I saw exactly why. Maybe I'm a bit of a princess, but before last week, I had never been camping. Sleeping in a tent is something I've never done before, because I fail to see why it would be fun for anyone. I don't mind the cold and the rain, but when it comes to sleeping, comfort is key. So deciding to go to Reading Festival was a big deal to me, with the prospect of four nights of sleeping in a field and no showering. Having been born and bred in Reading, I vaguely knew what to expect, but that didn't stop me feeling any less like a fish out of water. It was an all-round challenging experience, but in hindsight it was totally worth it, because I learnt a few things about myself there.

Gal pals: Emily, Me, Emilie, Aimee and Rianne
  1. I am not a camper. Pretty obvious to be honest with you. The nights I spent in a tent were pretty horrible, and I'm not sure if it was because psychologically I was aware I was sleeping in a field surrounded by strangers, or that my tent was pretty rubbish. I felt claustrophobic and trapped in my little plastic prison on the ground, and my only reprieve was that it didn't actually rain that much whilst we were there.
  2. I am an over-packer. Even when I think I've only packed the absolute basics, I've still overpacked by a tonne. And that gets pretty heavy after you've lugged it around on trains, boats and through fields.
  3. Heatstroke is very real, and if you don't look after yourself you will end up in a medical tent. I spent a good chunk of my Friday being beyond dehydrated and exhausted, after suffering from heatstroke. It wasn't exactly the highlight of my weekend, but it taught me that you need to always look after yourself.
  4. Family are a godsend. After the Friday fiasco, I called time on sleeping in a field, so I could look after myself. Thankfully my grandparents only live down the road from the festival, and they let me stay there each night after the bands had stopped, and then dropped me back each day. Without them, I think I would've quit altogether. Sometimes you need to ask for help.
  5. I am pretty comfortable being alone. A few times I found myself going to watch bands on my own, and that was okay. I didn't feel lonely, or that I needed anyone else to be with me, I just got on with it. As I did when I trekked in and out of the site everyday to meet my grandparents. Basically, #MissIndependant
  6. I am a lot stronger than I think I am. Even though to begin with things all seemed to be against me and I was so ill, I didn't want to give up. I'm proud that I still managed to spend two nights sleeping in a field. Although it might seem pathetic to people as an achievement, we all have different strengths and weaknesses, and I'm happy I actually gave it a go. I believe if it wasn't for getting so ill I would've done the whole thing and been so much prouder of myself, but I really did do my best. And that's all that counts.
Left: Biffy Clyro (ft. giant inflatable giraffe)   Right: Raleigh Ritchie
 
Regardless, I had the most amazing time. The music and the crowd atmosphere was incredible. It was liberating and freeing, and just so much fun. I saw so many of my favourite bands, (Disclosure, Raleigh Ritchie and Chvrches) and a few I wouldn't have normally gone to see (Blossoms and The Hunna). Plus there's the added benefit that I saw a few cast members of Game of Thrones whilst I was watching the Red Hot Chili Peppers (hello Bran Stark and Khal Drogo!) And maybe I really am crazy, but I would definitely consider going to Reading again next year.

Camping; the aftermath
 
Em and Aimee trying to fold up a pop-up tent in the rain
 
So to clarify, I didn't die in a field, I genuinely enjoyed myself, and I feel like I came out it a lot stronger. It definitely pays to step out of your comfort zone and do something new.
 
Much love