Thursday, June 18, 2015

We Camp; We Are Campers

We took our brood camping last weekend, and conned five other families with young children into joining us.  Oh, we didn’t go far: just 45 minutes away to Deception Pass State Park.  But it was far enough to completely remove ourselves from the stress of running businesses and households.


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I want my boys to grow up camping.  My family camped when I was young (my kids’ age), but it was not something we continued to do when we moved to Washington.  The family reunion was held in our hometown and my parents had a job (owning and managing a 50—room hotel) that kept them extremely busy.  When we did vacation, it was often to conferences so that they could learn how to improve their businesses and we could visit Disneyland.  As far as I know, Tony and his family never camped.


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Let me be clear: I am not complaining.  Those trips my parents took us on as kids were great, even when they were horrible (Hwy 1 in California will make you sick, every time, and sullen teenagers are THE WORST).  But the way Tony and I have structured our careers means that we can take more time off than our parents did.  My hope is that we will do the hotel trips to Disneyland, Williamsburg, D.C., Boston, New York, etc, and that we will also camp frequently.


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Camping is less expensive than the hotel trips and, to me, more relaxing.  When we “do” stuff camping, we go to the beach, hike, kayak, make s’mores, and spend hours talking with friends.  When we vacation to a destination like New York City, we spend our time going from place to place, tourist site to tourist site.


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It is a lot of work.  Packing, unpacking, cleaning, realizing halfway home that, no, you shouldn’t stop at Starbucks because you haven’t showered in three days and you couldn’t smell yourself back at the campsite, but now you can and, hoo boy, you stink.  However, I think it’s worth it for the time spent with friends, relaxing outside, and s’mores.  Damn, I love s’mores.


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Camping teaches us to make the best of things without all the sanitized conveniences of home (dropped your hotdog on the ground?  Give it another turn over the fire and eat it anyway).  You get dirty and there are no TVs, so you’re forced to hold conversations.  It’s a great opportunity for kids to learn new games and explore nature, even if it’s “state park nature.”  And I just LOVE group camping with friends.  Not much makes me happier in this life than a big group of people all hanging out together, sharing food and stories.  And s’mores.


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Come camping with us, for real.  We’re going again as soon as I can talk everyone into it.

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