It’s May and this is the fifth time I am “glamping” (glamorous camping) in an empty apartment. I am so, so sick of living out of suitcases and packing my life into boxes! Given the circumstances of my life the past year, however, camping out in a semi-furnished apartment has fortified and toughened me up, which I don’t think would have happened if I had taken the easy way out and checked into a hotel. For starters, once the movers left, I still had enough basic furniture to get by, and in all cases, I had a fully functional kitchen.

When my daughter was younger we would make a game out of it, and pretend we were back on our Girl Scout adventures. At some point it stopped being fun for both of us and we agreed that it was a depressing state to be in, but at least we were together.

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Glamping ©MTHerzog

Last year I had my parents and my best girlfriends to get me through the initial patches of settling down in Manila. This year, when I moved out I had my entire support network rallying behind me, which made parting even more sorrowful because my days of a spoiled Filipina were over. Mind you, I can’t really complain about my glamping in Berlin because I have to admit, it lives up to the “glamorous” part of the word! Not only do I have the basic necessities of a bed, a table and chairs, but a fully functional kitchen again and a view to die for.

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Bare Necessities ©MTHerzog

If I couldn’t run to my Jesuits for my yearly retreat, Life had a strange way to nudging me into solitude and silence to reflect and recover. I may not be within the confines of a retreat house, but without the company of even my cat (who is still in Manila) the silence in my own home is deafening. I can’t crank up the music because it would violate the building rules. Dusk, in particular, makes my conservatory feel like a church!

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Very Bare ©MTHerzog

Much as I miss my things, and am growing increasingly tired of the same set of clothes that was in my suitcase when I left Manila, there is something soothing and empowering about glamping. In effect, the furniture that I have is really all I need. The fridge is full of food, I have one pan to cook everything (a challenge unto itself since I have always had the luxury of several pots and pans on hand), an oven to bake my bread rolls fresh every morning, washing machine, and a coffee maker. Oh, not to forget the bathtub and dishwasher as my supreme luxury. Now if that isn’t glamping, I don’t know what is! For some, living in a tent with one plug to run a portable electric cooler or to charge the electronic gadgets would be considered glamping already, and for me it is a bed, a private toilet, and a pristine kitchen.

So yes, it is that return to basics, the bare necessities that strips away the illusions of grandeur that have accumulated over the years. It’s cozy to sit on the rug, lean against the wall and snuggle under a blanket in the dark while watching a movie on Netflix surrounded by candles. The echo of the empty living room is rather disturbing at times, as is the empty cabinet, but it won’t be long now before my container arrives and boxes take over my life again.

Oh, and if you ask me, Bare Necessities from the Jungle Book was horribly mistranslated into German with “Probier’s mit Gemütlichkeit” (Try it with coziness / comfort) but in my case, the bare necessities are cozy!

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