Become a Subscriber

Advertise With Us

Search
Become a Contributor
Discover More at Our Partner Site

From Our Advertisers

Shop for Books by Our Contributors

Also Recommended

Global Adventure with Judith Fein and Paul Ross

Support This Site
Navigation
Powered by Squarespace
Explore
25 Van Ness 25-word essays 40 State 40 Days 99cent store Adventure Travel Africa Aging Air Saftey air travel Airline fiasco Airline Passenger Bill of Rights airline safety Airplane airplane seat selection airport fiasco Alaska all-inclusive resort American Airlines American ignorance Amish Amsterdam Amtrak Arab Arabia architecture Argentina Arizona arm chair travel Art Asia Authentic Travel awards Backpack travel bad day baggage Bahamas Bali Balloon Festival ban whale watching Bangkok Barcelona beach being arrested Being authentic Belize Bellingham Washington belly dancing Belmont University Bhutan bicycling bike tour bikes bikes as therapy Billy the Kid bioluminescence Bird watching Birding birthday book contest Boycott Brattany Brazil Breaking news British Columbia Budget travel Buenos Aires Burma bus travel Cahokia Mounds Cairo California Cambodia Camino de Santiago Camping Canada Canadian Geese Cancer car travel Caribbean Caribbean rainforest Carnac Carnival Caving Central America Ceramics change your life Cheap travel Cheap trips cherish life Chetumal children China Christmas Christmas Day Bomber Claridges Class trip Classic Hotels claustrophobic flyer climate change coffee Colombia color contest continental airlines controversy Cook Islands Copenhagen Costa Rica courage cowboy culture Creative travel creative writing crisis Croatia Crop Circles cruise travel cruising Cuba cuisine Culinary travel Cultural travel Culture Cusco CVS cycling Czech Republic dance Death Death Valley National Park Denmark dining dining guide divorce Dominican Republic Dordogne Dubai Earthquake Easter Eco Travel eco-tourism eco-travel Ecuador Egypt elephant seal emergency preparedness England environmental commentary environmental problems Ethiopia Europe European Union excellence in travel writing expat living expats Faith falling family family resort family travel family vacation Fat Tuesday fear festival fiesta Filipino restaurant finances fitnees flight Florida Food forgetfulness forgiveness France French Camp Friendship frustrated flyer gadgets Galapagos Garifuna Gaspe Peninsula Genealogy Germany Ghana gift guide Girona giveaway Glastonbury Festival global curiosity Global eating habits global nomad global warming good day Gorilla Trek Government GPS Grand Canyon grandparents Greece grief guys getaway Haiti happiness Hawaii healing healing journey Helicopter tours hiking Historical travel Holiday Celebrations Home Honduras honeymoon horseback riding hotels How to how-to humor Hurricanes i do not love Venice i need a vacation Iceland Volcano Incas independenc India Indonesia inn reviews Inner Child Internal Reflection international marriage iPhone app Ireland Islam Israel Istanbul Italy Jack London Jamaica Japan JetBlue Jewish journaling Judith Fein Jules Older Kansas Karl Rove Kenya kindness of strangers Language Las Vegas Latin America learning vacations Leukemia Library life lessons life transformation literature living abroad living like a local London Los Angeles loss Louvre at night love luxury hotels luxury travel Maine Malta Manatee Mardi Gras marriage Masonic Temple Massage Maui Maya meditation Mexico Michigan Middle East Military wedding Minnesota Missouri Molokai money Montana Monterey Moose Morocco mother's day mother-son travel motorcycle travel multigenerational vacation Music Musings Myanmar Namibia Nancy King National Prayer Day Native America nature Nepal Nevada New Mexico New Orleans New Year New York New Zealand Newfoundland Nicaragua Nigeria NNew Mexico noise Northwest Airlines Pilots Norway Nova Scotia Ohio Older parents Olive Oil Olympic Peninsula Washington orcas Oregon Orkney Islands outdoors Pacific Northwest Parent's love Paris Partners Passover Paul Ross Pennsylvania personal essay Peru Pets Philippines photography contest Pilots Plane plastic plastic bags Poem Poetry police Politics Portugal postcards Pottery poverty Prague Prayer procrastination pueblo culture Puerto Rico Q&A Quebec Quito ranch vacation random acts of kindness rap song reading reasons to travel recession rejuvenation relaxation Religion Religious holidays remembering mothers Responsible travel. Sustainable travel restaurant reviews revolution River Rafting Road trip roadtrip romance romantic travel Rosemary Beach runway delay Russia Sacred Places sadness Safari sailing Samba music San Andrés de Teixido San Francisco Santa Fe Sardinia Saudi Arabia Scotland sea kayaking Sedona self discovery senior travel Serbia Shakespeare Shamanism shame Shopping short stories Sicily Siena silence Sisters ski vacation skiing Slow travel Slum Tourism Slumdog Millionaire small-group travel Soaking tub Sociology Songwriting South America South Dakota Southeast Asia soviet satellite Spa Spain spirituality Springtime SSan Francisco St. Louis St. Petersburg Standing Stones Steinbeck stress stuff happens Sumatra Summer cottage surfing surviving disaster Sushine Coast Switzerland Tacoma Taiwan Tanzania Taos Taxi Taxi Driver Tbex Texas Thailand The Netherlands the writing life Tokyo Tourism train trip Transformative travel transportation trash travel travel advice travel agents Travel Blogging travel commentary travel confession travel contest travel essay travel gear travel hassles travel humor Travel interrupted travel musings travel opinion travel photography Travel Reviews travel safe travel safety travel security travel technology travel traditions travel trends travel videos Travel with Kids Travel Writing traveling alone traveling with kids traveling with teens trekking trip to the dentist truffles TSA complaints Ttrain trip Tunisia turbulence Turkey Tuscany typhoon UFOs Uganda uncensored travel opinion UNESCO World Heritage Site Union Station United Arab Emirates United Kingdom Upstate New York Utah vacation vacation rental vacation tips Valentine's Day Vancouver Venezuela Venice Venice California Vermont Veterans Day Vietnam Vinayaka Chaturthi virtual vacation Wales Walking Washington Washington D.C. water project waves we don't care airlines weather wedding White Oaks Pottery White Sands National Monument why I fly why not to cruise why travel wildlife spotting wine Women travel workout World Festivals world peace World War I World War II writer's block Writing Yoga Yucatan Peninsula zombie boot camp
« Genuine or Hoax? Visiting a Crop Circle Formation at Avebury, England | Main | Visiting Ferdinand Marcos »
Tuesday
Oct162012

Zombie Boot Camp

by Lauren Atkinson

Though they’re currently more popular in the United Kingdom than in the United States, so-called zombie boot camps are popping up with surprising regularity in the least likely of places. I recently had the opportunity to participate in one just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Let me tell you, as a fun loving girl who simply abhors all forms of violence and who ‘freaked’ when I found out my granddad owned a rifle, it was a surprisingly addictive way to spend a Saturday afternoon. The action was surrealistic and the staff added good doses of humour throughout.

For those who don’t yet know, zombie boot camps are basically live-action roleplaying events in which participants battle “live” zombies in a number of different scenarios. The whole experience closely mirrors the missions from first-person shooter video games. It is one of the most realistic types of life-action roleplaying. Although Zombie Camp is not for the light hearted, fans of such video games or horror movies would be thrilled with this kind of day out.

Before the actual adventure begins, you meet with a weapons specialist who briefs you on a number of different weapons that you’ll be using to eliminate zombies. Although weapons in real life are as appealing to me as a root canal treatment, in the world of zombie boot camps, the weapons I learned to use for monster slaying included a pistol, an assault rifle, a handful of grenades, and even – this one was as cool and quirky as it was spooky – a chainsaw. 

The weapons briefing turned out to be my favorite part of the zombie boot camp experience. Go figure. The specialist who briefed my group was just that, a real-life weapons specialist. I believe that he used to work for the military and trust me, this added to the chilling believability of the whole experience. Of course, the weapons were not real (they are modified so they don’t fire real bullets and are built solely for play), but that is beside the point. They feel like real weapons and look like real weapons, and when a dozen zombies are chasing you down, they darn well seem like real weapons.

After the weapons briefing, my group of ten headed to a briefing by a “zombie specialist.” We were told exactly how the zombies had taken over and what we were expected to do about it. We were filled in on their behavior and the best ways to take them down. It began to seem ominous. You could barely tell that the specialist doing the briefing was just an actor – it totally felt like we were really at the brink of a disaster and were being prepared for battle. At that point, I began to get goose bumps on my arms. It felt like we were about to step into the apocalypse. 

The setting of our zombie missions was a little bit disappointing at first. I’d read a lot about the zombie boot camps taking place in the UK and knew that they were commonly held in abandoned warehouses and sometimes even in empty shopping malls. Ours took place on a simple little street lined with smallish buildings and houses. It was almost like any street from any small town in America. Not very exotic. Not very exciting. And definitely not the sort of place where you might expect a zombie outbreak to originate. 

Luckily, the small-town setting actually proved to add to the experience and make it seem more life-like as soon as the zombies started showing up. Our little town might not have been as spooky as a blown-out shopping mall, but it definitely lived up to expectations. Gunning down zombies, busting down doors, and coordinating attacks with my teammates made my time at the zombie boot camp the most fun that I’ve ever had. 

The zombies started coming out of the doorways as soon as our first mission began. The mission, to clear the town of zombies, proved difficult – partly because we were not just decked out with weapons but also with real-life gear and equipment. I had on a military-issue helmet, Kevlar vest, and other heavy combat gear. Zombie boot camps aren’t for the faint of heart or body. 

As we continued to blast, shoot, slash, and hack our way through the zombie minions, I came to realize exactly how much effort was put into the zombie boot camp. The special effects were dazzling: the blood looked real, the zombies looked real, the explosions looked real – everything looked like it was really happening. And the actors hired to play the zombies did a heck of a job. I often found myself thinking that I was actually in the middle of a zombie invasion rather than a simple participant in a zombie roleplaying game. 

The whole adventure lasted around five hours, including the briefing and various missions. We also got lucky and the group putting on the boot camp supplied us with a complimentary lunch after the first mission (which, at least for me, was desperately needed to refuel). 

A zombie boot camp is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I don’t mean to sound corny or promotional here, but it I just loved it. It’s the perfect mini-vacation for the zombie-lover, adventure-lover, or even just those looking to try something new. I learned a lot and feel confident that if there is ever a real-life zombie apocalypse, I’ll be the hero that saves the human race. 

 

 

Lauren Atkinson works for Wish.co.uk and is a freelance travel writer who enjoys writing about her quirky adventures. For more information on Wish UK gifts like the zombie experience, visit their website. 

photo via istockphoto.com 

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...