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I tried it! I loved it! I want to do it again! I never thought I would write those three sentences. I have no experience camping. I love an all-inclusive resort, a homey air b&b, the omelet at an Embassy Suites. So why is camping is fun?
I sat at our campsite and fell asleep under the stars asking myself what was so fun about this. There are three things I came up with.
#1 It is all the fun of playing house with the resources of an adult life.
This was my main amusement as a child. I played house with a box of my grandmother’s cast-offs. She had a box in her kitchen that she put all kinds of things into: the Tupperware lid that no longer had a matching bowl or the broken wooden spoon, the empty wooden thread spools. You never knew what you would ind in that box from visit to visit, but whatever was in there was sufficient to make a kitchen on the porch. I cooked all kinds of imaginary soups and served them up to delighted adults. This is something I did well into elementary school. Even in Middle school and as I grew older, I lived in my imaginary house when I was free to daydream. I remember one of the many houses we lived in had a big beautiful tree in the front yard and I spent hours making my house around that tree. Maybe it was because we moved so often that I dreamed of a house I would live in forever and I made it and remade it day after day no matter where I was living at that moment. I would lay in bed and decorate and redecorate my house as I fell asleep.
Camping is just like that. I found myself thinking about every part of living outside and imagining what it would be like. Having a beautiful and comfy weekend became my obsession. I made plans and lists around my two priorities: sleeping well and having a good cup of coffee. Then the weekend came and by the time we are finished unloading the truck, there were bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room and a living room with a fireplace. Everything was there and if something was missing, we made do. I live in a brick house and have a stable life as an adult. I really do live the way I dreamed I would as a child. I could not wait to be an adult, like every kid I have ever known. Now that I am an adult I often long to go back to simpler days. Camping embodies those simpler days.
#2 The Triumph of Team
One of our favorite quotes from the movie Mulan is this:
“Teamwork isn’t about ego. It’s about we go.”
Teamwork is the only way to camp with a family. If your kids are ready and willing to help, you will have a great time. Everyone needs a job at the site. It took us about an hour to set up and when that was done, the feeling of accomplishment was real and the ability to rest was so satisfying. We set the big things up together and then we paid attention to our personal space. Taking it all apart and packing it up was harder. Then sorting it and putting it away when we got home was even a little harder. But we forced ourselves to get it done and everyone had to help according to their ability. When we were showered and sitting in front of the TV eating pizza that night for dinner we were pleased with ourselves. We set it up, enjoyed it and then broke it down and put it away. The triumph of living together outside and feasting on food cooked on a fire was undeniable.
#3 Experiencing the realness of the world
We see so much of the world through screens. We meet with friends and colleagues on Skype. We see the latest coffee shop in town on Instagram. We read our book club book on our phone. I put the phone down and did not open the laptop. I read a book printed on paper and used a paper clip for a bookmark. We built a fire every night to cook on and relax beside. We sat under the trees as they creaked and swayed and dropped bits and pieces of life all around us. The woods are surprisingly noisy. It is a different kind of noise. Not at all like the clicking of the dryer as it tumbles our clothes or the hum of the refrigerator as is cools our food. The sounds of life being lived in the forest are one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. I was not prepared for how firm or real it would feel to live in a tent, in the woods and cook over a fire. I went on this trip to exercise my childhood fantasy of playing house as an adult. It was a revelation to sit by the fire and understand we had what we needed for life: shelter, food, and companionship. It made the life I live within the brick walls of my house and running around town in my car seem like the escape from reality, full of things I don’t really need.
We are planning more trips in the future and planning to be expert campers in the future. Jump over to Pinterest and follow us there as we create and share pins as we daydream about our next camping trip.