When I was in high school, a group of friends and I would spend hours at the local lake swimming, horseplaying, and enjoying our freedom away from adults. Usually, we eventually went to someone’s house to crash for the night, but one night we decided to spend the night on the beach with just a fire and whatever towels or blankets we had to sleep on. The idea of sleeping under the stars was too enticing to pass up, so I was all in. However, like most teenagers, we didn’t think our plan through. When the sun went down, the temperature dropped, and the fire, which had been keeping us warm, died out after we fell asleep. Having only a beach towel to keep me warm, I woke up multiple times throughout the night shivering over my entire body. I was so thankful to see the sunrise as the sun’s rays slowly warmed me. After that night, I was done with camping because I had no desire to suffer like that again.
Many years later, my husband convinced me to go on an overnight canoe trip with friends on the Sabine River where we camped out on the riverbanks with tents and sleeping bags. This camping trip was much more enjoyable, but having no restroom or shower still was not my ideal camping experience, and I once again put aside any idea of any future campouts.
It wasn’t until my sons joined the cub scouts that I fell in love with camping. Camping is a requirement of being a cub scout, and my boys were excited to go on the adventure. So, my husband and I did everything we could to make camping enjoyable for them and us. After the first trip, we learned that camping can be quite comfortable if we planned ahead and brought along comfort items like air mattresses, fans, pillows, family size tents, etc. Plus, the parks we camped at had showers and restrooms. This was camping that I could handle.
Over the years, our desire to retreat to nature continued to grow. We eventually bought a travel trailer which allowed us to have the real comforts of home while taking advantage of the outdoors. Soft beds, private bathroom, air conditioning and heating were nice perks at the end of adventurous days. Often, our friends and family joined us for long weekends where electronics were not allowed until bedtime, fishing and swimming were a must, and daily hikes or bike rides were expected. Six to seven times a year we would escape our hectic life for a taste of paradise.
When our oldest son reached junior high, we realized that it was becoming harder and harder emotionally to return from our camping trips. We wanted that life to be our reality instead of the hectic city life. Therefore, we purchased over 10 acres in the country which we initially cleared a path and opening with only a chainsaw and our bare hands. Then, we built a small cabin on it for us to retreat to whenever we wanted. Two years later, we made that land our permanent home saying good-bye forever to the hectic city life.
It took over 20 years, but I finally found out the best way to go camping. How about you? What is your best way to go camping?