I wrote yesterday on Instagram that there are two kinds of people-those with eyes of wonder about practically everything, and those who see the world as regular. The same could be said of camping. I've quickly come to realize either people love the outdoors and that is their go-to for fun, enjoyment, and peace, or they prefer the indoors. In both cases neither one is "better" than the other, just different. And different is good. For my family though, outdoors is our everything.
There's no place I'd rather be than with my family, out on the river or lake. Even when rain drops suddenly shower you and the snacks are getting soggy. There is just something about our natural world that does so much for me. When my to-do list feels big and angry and like it's handing out marching orders, I march myself outside instead. The trees and water drops and heart rocks and green grass never give marching orders. In fact, they don't even beg to be noticed. I find the outside world much gentler than that, running by a clock of a different speed. Slow is embraced, celebrated even. Have you ever seen a tomato turn red by trying to make time tick faster?
Me either. The rhythm of the outdoors seems purely connected to God and as I'm finding in this season, His timing is generally far different and slower than my over-zealous mind would prefer.
One constant among the changes of life for our family is our love of camping. For at least a year straight Brett tried to talk to me about purchasing a pop-up camper. I was so against it until one morning early last spring and I was tired of talking about it and said "sure." True story! He found a perfect (for us anyway) little pop-up camper on Craigslist and we bough it that day at a great price. We haven't ever looked back since.
I'm so very, very glad I had a moment of weakness and finally agreed. What an adventure our camper has been! Turns out, we are a camping family. We just simply love it. So far we've mostly camped within an hour or so of home which makes it do-able for a weekend trip. We have plans to venture further out into the United States next year, more of a road-trip style. Sometimes we take our bass boat and fish, other times we walk up to a fishing spot or hike.
The girls are excellent outdoorsy girls. They know the rules and the way things go. For example, life jackets must stay on whether you're in the boat or simply playing in the river. They know that mama always brings snacks wherever we go and that sometimes we have to find unconventional ways to use the potty! TMI, but truth with littles. The girls know to expect color books, stickers, and camper-only toys (just a handful) for play during the day, that is when they're not playing with sticks, leaves, rocks, and pinecones. They know bedtime comes late with a movie in the camper beforehand. They adore camping food and all that there is about camping. They are adventure-seekers for sure.
Usually in the midst of our time something like this appears and takes my breath away. You just can't find this on the aisle at Target!
We eat really well on our camping trips and everything tastes better from a campfire. Last time we even packed up my homemade kombucha and added in a can of seltzer water to make it extra fizzy. Simply delicious!
One of my most favorite parts of camping is that all the house chores are at home. That means I'm simply free to play with the girls non-stop and enjoy all their silliness.
We rest more when we camp and there's something about this cozy bed that usually makes me sleep hard and really well.
You must keep in mind, of course, that camping isn't perfect. Just like anything else you see on this wild thing called the Internet, it's never quite as good as it looks. Well, this comes pretty close, but still there are moments not pictured like a storm brewing, a major sinus infection for me, squabbles between the girls, and having to pack up early only to find sunshine 10 minutes later that you don't see here. I feel like blogs should have a sticker that says "Warning: Things not as perfect as they seem." At least that's true here! Our camping trips are never perfect and are actually quite a bit of work beforehand. There's lots to pack and remember and even if you pack light, it still isn't that light with a family of four.
But once you wake up and see the river has disappeared due to fog you can't help but think that it actually is pretty close to perfect.
(This local water-so, so good!)
Today I'm thankful for retreats in the midst of a restless season, the calming power of watching a spider weave its web, the taste of campfire food, and the many possibilities of camping in the future.
Are you a camping family? Have any tips or questions for me?