Michelle Waitzman is the author of the new book Sex in a Tent: A Wild Couple’s Guide to Getting Naughty in Nature. She is a Canadian living in Wellington, New Zealand. Michelle blogs at Love in a Tent. We met Michelle via hiking blogging and thought that an interview with her would be fun and not too off topic for "Our Hiking Blog". She kindly agreed to answer some of our questions so click on "Read more" to see the full interview.
How did the idea come to you to write a book about "Sex in a Tent"?
The idea first occurred to me when I was camping for the first time with a new partner. We were still getting to know each other, and our first night in his tent was a bit, well, uncomfortable. On our hike out the next day I said “Somebody should write a book about how to have sex in a tent!” It was one of those ideas that grows on you over time, and eventually I decided to take it on myself. Of course, I got a lot of input from other couples, and lots of their stories are featured throughout the book. The results are fun and sexy, but also quite practical for any couple who enjoy time in the wild together.
How did you meet your husband/partner, it's a long way from Canada to New Zealand?
My partner and I met after I moved to New Zealand. He’s actually an immigrant too, from South Africa, so we were both looking to meet new people who were into hiking and camping. It was our mutual love of the outdoors that brought us together, and we soon discovered that we were compatible in other areas too! Getting outdoors more often was one of my main reasons for moving to New Zealand, so it was important to me to find someone with the same priorities. So I really got lucky!
How often are you able to get out tramping in NZ? Where are your favourite areas?
We get out tramping as often as we can during the spring, summer and fall (we’re a bit whimpy about winter weather), but a lot of the time it’s just for a night or two on the weekends. We’ll do maybe three or four longer trips per year, over long weekends or booking off vacation time. This year, though, we’re taking a big six-week chunk of time over February and March to explore the South Island. I’m looking forward to doing a whole lot of tramping during that time!
Here in Wellington, we usually go to the Tararua Ranges for our shorter tramps. Not necessarily because it’s our favourite, but because it’s the closest area to us. But if I could choose, I would prefer to tramp on the South Island, because the scenery is so much more spectacular. They have the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps, and those impossibly blue glacial lakes and rivers. Just awesome.
Do you plan to do some hiking in Australia, if so, have you any ideas where you might go?
We’d love to hike in Australia, despite the snakes and spiders! I’ve heard so many wonderful things about Tasmania that I just have to see it for myself. Although the temptation to do a beach route, like the Great Ocean Walk is pretty strong. I love a good coastline. And what could be more romantic than a long walk on the beach together?
Is that really a sketch of you on the front page of the book or a just a caricature of how you wish you looked??
No, the couple on the front are fictional. (I’d give a lot to look like that though!) There is, however, a caricature of me at the back of the book, next to the “about the author” blurb. It looks quite a lot like me!
Is using sex in the title of the book a shameless way of getting sales from a flooded camping book market or is it a special area of interest for you?
Well, it certainly does get attention. Originally, the book was going to be called “How to Make Love in a Tent”, but the publisher thought the spicier title had more impact. The danger is that people will think the book is only about sex, which isn’t the case at all. It looks at every aspect of getting outdoors with your partner, from convincing a non-camper to give it a go, to planning a romantic trip, to resolving arguments in the wild. There are even recipes!
Do you use those zip together sleeping bags when you are hiking? Aren't they hot?
The next time my partner and I are due to replace our sleeping bags I’d like to get ones that zip together. We just couldn’t justify replacing perfectly good bags due to zipper compatibility issues! They are warmer than individual bags because your are sharing body heat, but that is often a good thing. (New Zealand nights are colder than Australian ones!)
You can always get around the problem by buying a lighter bag than you would otherwise, or by leaving them partly unzipped to allow more air to flow through.
If there was one piece of advice for everyone to get their reluctant partner hiking with them, what would it be?
Start off with something easy! Pick a route that is beautiful but not too difficult, and camp out for one night only to begin with. And if I could add a second piece of advice, go through your beginner’s gear before you leave to make sure they have everything they will need, like a torch, water, rain gear, hat, good socks etc. Someone recently confessed to me that he had taken his wife on their first camping trip, and they ran out of water. Needless to say, she hasn’t gone camping since!
Other than your tent and basic hiking gear, what one piece of gear would you never leave home without?
My camera! It’s the one completely unnecessary thing I always bring hiking with me. I just can’t stand missing out on a great photo op. In fact, I just went out and bought a larger memory card for it, so I can take even more pictures! (I would have said chocolate, but I’m not sure it could be considered “gear”)
Where is your book available in Australia?
It should be available through Borders and Dymocks, but you may have to ask at the counter for them to order it in from the distributor, Woodslane. Otherwise, you can get it online from Amazon.com (and it’s probably cheaper that way, even with the extra cost of shipping.) or Angus & Robertson have it in Australia online. But you’ll have to order quickly if you want to give it to someone for Christmas!