Bankrupt, homeless and with only an old Toyota Tercel to her name, Barbara Stewart has taken a job as a camp attendant at Trinidad 11, an oil-rig camp in northwestern Alberta. She was told it’s a “dry” camp—good news for a person hoping to stay sober—but she soon finds out this isn’t true. During the day, she mops floors, scrubs bathrooms, changes smelly beds and picks up empties. At night, as she burns garbage in the incinerator, she finds solace alone under the stars and tries to reconcile her past with an uncertain future. When she discovers that a campie who “doesn’t play doesn’t stay,” Barbara is forced to make a decision.
A view from the bottom of the oil barrel into work-camp culture, Campie is an entertaining, compelling account of how an ordinary person survives when things fall apart and there’s no “eat pray love” holiday to put them back together.