The most memorable parties I’ve ever been to?
The loveliest weekends?
Where people are the best version of themselves?
You know that shed hidden between orange trees?
Where you completely disconnect, from everything: from Internet, noise, social pressure, compulsive maintenance, fashion addiction, keeping up with the Joneses?
That inspires pulling out a guitar, picking fruit, eating at a wobbly table under a tree, serving home made wine?
That monthly, beneficent bath in fresh air, fresh fruits, fresh thoughts?
At someones Andalusian “Campo”!
That shed slash storage room, slash couches here and there… that is both own fruit supermarket, chicken run, weekend couch, breathing machine, iPod with nature sounds, Zen Resort, Star Gazing Platform, walk in the park, gatherer of thoughts, …
OK, you get the picture. “Mi campo”, say the Andalusians. “My field“.
You have a siesta in a hammock under a tree, and after midnight you all withdraw to icy cold corners with bedding dating back to the 1950s.
NO need to pay attention to having the right, designy pillows, and if the coffee machine doesn’t work, it’s not a problem, but a great advantage adding to the simplicity of life.
You don’t care if the shed falls down. It’s the whole point. The campo is there so you have a spot where you don’t care.
I always think that if we all had a campo, there would be no need for psychiatrists, Big Pharma wouldn’t exist, burn-outs would be unheard of, and the viruses of complaining and moaning would get extinct in a heartbeat.
The photo on the left is of a “dacha”, the Russian equivalent. You live in the city or in town, but somewhere out there in the countryside you have that hidden place where nothing matters. All you do there is get aware of breathing, feeling the limbs work, and connect again with the poetry and mystery of life.
The Andalusian campo is at risk of disappearing.
On one hand there’s the loss of human connection to the land, on the other the world wide gentrification.
Regardless of how remote the spot: also sheds are being subject to IKEAfication, forever widening circles of parking lots and British and French gardens and easy, concreted roads, and having to be showcases for friends.
All again bringing so much maintenance, worries, work, security, internet connection, rapid supermarket shopping, traffic, etc, that it defies the original intention. The holiday home just becomes another first home.
“Each man kills the thing he loves”.
I believe this is why people are at their best at their campo. They are at their most relaxed, the best singers, the best dancers, the best cooks, in the best mood. For not a grain of their being is busy with wondering if the bath mat fits the curtains, nor whether the tapa is designy enough, or their conversation fitting social norms.
For a few days a month, they’re not studying life, but let life study them.
They have the energy, creativity, healthily emptied mind to take control of their lives again… right because sometimes they get a break.
Get that plastic chair standing at the bins! Take in that 3-legged vagabond of a scruffy dog! Sweep the snake out of the barn and start having that one-man party, that life is supposed to be.