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>>By Katherine McCully, Guest Writer
We discussed this early on: I don’t camp. I don’t enjoy sweating, I sunburn easily, and I think wearing Chacos to class is one of the great failures of American college students. On paper, I don’t belong at Bonnaroo.
Thursday, I was having serious doubts about whether or not I could hack it. I was miserable, and the experience did not seem worth it. I wanted to go home. As the weekend went on, however, the shows got better, it rained just enough to settle the dust and cool us off, and I hit my stride. I “Roo’d” so hard. I had a great time. Granted, the time from about 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day was awful; it was hot, and there was no escaping the sun. Those were the times when I genuinely wanted to go home. That part sucked.
But the nights were alive. The air cooled off, the dancing started, we were all friends, and it was glorious. I’ve never felt like a part of something so big before. We were all one big happy family.
I had an amazing time. That being said, I don’t know if I would do it again. Sure, it was great, but it’s a lot of work. I’m sitting back at home in my bed after two showers and I still don’t quite feel clean yet. My whole body is sore, my car is full of stuff, I’m sunburned, and I have a bag of laundry I don’t even want to approach, let alone open.
Our campsite was super close to Centeroo and a line of portable toilets. If we had been any farther away, I would not have made it. The walking is the worst part. There are campsites that are miles away from Centeroo. Our walk was about 10 minutes from the gate. If it had been any further I would have had to tap out.
Multiple people have told me that the first couple of weeks when you get home, you say you’ll never do it again, but then life starts getting you down again and the only thing that can help is taking a nap in Centeroo under a shady tree while listening to your favorite band perform. I don’t know if that’s for me.
Still, I’m very challenge-oriented, and Bonnaroo was a challenge for me. I felt that in order to truly say I’m from Nashville, I had to go to Bonnaroo. It was something I needed to check off my bucket list. And I checked it hard, man.
I impressed myself with this experience. Sunday, while we were packing, I realized that I had outlasted almost everyone in our group. I realized that I am not as delicate as I thought. I’m tough. I may be short and curvy, but I rocked Bonnaroo. I kept up with people a full foot taller than me all weekend. All short people know that walking anywhere with a 6-foot-2-inch dude is a workout in and of itself. One of his steps is equal to at least two of mine. I did that all weekend long. That also may be the reason going up the stairs to my bedroom last night felt like I was climbing a mountain, but I did it.
I learned a lot about myself this weekend. I learned that I am more easygoing and less anxious than I thought. I can go with the flow and take things as they come. I am strong and capable of a lot more than I thought. I may never do Bonnaroo again, but I hope to never lose that Bonnaroo state of mind.