Because of COVID, all my travel plans were cancelled this year. I’ve been using my suddenly free summer to explore more of Manitoba and neighbouring Lake of the Woods, and have found some really beautiful spots.
Now, if you’re like me, you enjoy almost everything about nature. There’s something incredibly soothing about kayaking across a lake or lying on a dock and watching the stars… until a dock spider comes out of freaking nowhere and scampers up your friend’s leg (true story). Then the serene world of nature suddenly becomes terrifying.
Bugs are the bane of my existence. Mosquitoes can turn a quiet night outside into an exercise in self-abuse, and some flies can literally take chunks out of you when you’re trying to relax at the beach. But I can handle those; spritz on a whole can of bug spray, get an electric fly swatter, and bob’s your uncle. I’m not even that bothered by wasps or hornets. It’s the creepy crawlies that get me.
Spiders are the mother effin enemy. I get shudders just writing about them. They could literally be anywhere and drop down on you at any time. I’m particularly scared of them when I’m trying to fall asleep; the thought of something crawling on me while I sleep gives me the heebie-jeebies. This means sleeping in any sort of tent/trailer/cottage is always a nightmare, but I’m not willing to give up visiting lakes or going on adventures with my friends, so over the years, I’ve developed tricks to help me cope with my bug-anxiety.
Tip 1: Do a Perimeter Sweep
Whenever I enter a space, I do a bug check. I look at all the corners and crevices and check for any unwelcome bedfellows. If you don’t find any, great! And if you do, you kill the demons and your room is now bug-free.
Now you might be asking, “But isn’t it better to be ignorant? If I see one spider, won’t I worry about there being more?” While it is true that there could be multiple spiders, it’s not actually that likely because spiders don’t tend to congregate (don’t fact check me; I need this to be true).
Tip 2: Sleep in a Sleeping Bag
Make yourself a bug-free bubble and cocoon yourself to sleep (pun intended). Zip that sucker up and cuddle the top part in close, blocking the entrance to any critters who might want to snuggle. You can even lift the top part over your head and go full burrito.
Be mindful though: it might get hella hot, and this only really works if you’re not sharing a sleeping bag. I had to concede my cocoon to poking a leg out when I was camping last week because I had made my own personal sauna.
Tip 3: Bring a Friend Who Isn’t Scared of Bugs
I’m all for being an independent woman and fighting your own battles, but sometimes you need to delegate. Find you a friend who will squash those spiders, pluck those ticks, and sweep away the centipedes. They may laugh at you for being scared, but jokes on them because that bug is now gone and your life is better now.
Hopefully, these tips help you enjoy nature a little more. And remember, even if you run from a guest house screaming because a spider was about to descend on your face and forget your dog outside as you huddle in your parent’s trailer (true story), you are still a Gryffindor deep, deep down. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.