Gone Campin’

Some of my favorite memories as a kid were on camping trips. It was something that I did with both of my parents (individually) and I have unique memories from both. Trips with my dad were usually more about nature or fishing. I imagine that I complained more during these trips, either of boredom or being too cold. However, I think I might appreciate them more now because that remoteness has become appealing as I have gotten older. My mom’s way of camping was a bit different. She essentially would set up a mini home in the woods. She would have the “kitchen” area, “bathroom” area, and a feet wiping station throughout. The few years that my mom did camp we had access to a boat so these trips were a lot about play all day, eat all night. As a kid, this was awesome. One of my favorite trips of all times was with about 4 or 5 families. We went to a little island that you could only get to by boat. We all had a little setup and would spend all day doing whatever we pleased. It would be like, “Who wants to go tubing? So and so is making a tubing run.” Then, “Who wants to go skiing? This boat is making a ski run.” And, “Who needs a shower? This boat is doing a shower run, grab your bar of soap.” It was great and I often dream of similar vacations when I have kids.

For the past year or two, I have been wanting to get back into it. We got sleeping bags for Christmas this year and my brother graciously let us “permanently borrow” the rest of the necessary gear. Now that we had the stuff, it seemed there should be no more excuses, yet, it is funny how we can let life get in the way. Each weekend sneaks up on you as we repetitively get through the weeks. I could see the Summer being over before it officially started ( I mean, Target already has back-to-school supplies dominating the seasonal section.) So, I set a date 10 days out and wouldn’t budge.

I knew that the preparations would be a little bit hectic. Chuck runs a few networking groups and remembered after the date was set that he had one scheduled for the Friday before. Kind of a bummer but we figured that we would still take advantage of Saturday to break us in.  Anyway, that would also mean a lot of running around at crunch time. Now I love my fiance, but he is the master of procrastination, while I prefer an organized routine. We have battled this a few times when it comes to going out of town. The last time it happened, I calmly told him that he was on his own. He talked me into going, but I told him that things needed to change. I couldn’t operate so last minute without getting stressed out and he agreed.

How short our memories can be, (Love ya babe)! Down to the last minute and we didn’t have a reservation booked, didn’t really know where we were going, and weren’t really packed. AHHHHH! My serenity now trip was freaking me out a bit. Where I had intended for us to go didn’t allow online reservations less than 48 hours in advance (camping is high-tech these days). Frustrated, I told Chuck to take over and figure it out.  He discovered Carolina Beach Family Campground. It had a pool and everything. Hmmm. Alright, let’s give it a go.

Still frustrated, because we were leaving over an hour later than planned and not feeling as prepared as I would like, we get on the road. Just over two hours later, a little calmer, we arrive at our destination. That calm mood was short-lived. I was too irritated in the moment to take a picture, but wish I would have to show you all. You can’t google it because the website is a liar. This was not a campground. This was a trailer park. That allowed tents. It wasn’t on the water. The pool was more of a cesspool. Not happy.

Chuck could see my irritation rising and my desire to scream, “If you would’ve just made the reservations 2 days ago when I asked you to then this wouldn’t be a problem,” so he quickly googled the original campground and prayed that they weren’t packed. I have learned through therapy and experience that doing exactly what you want to in response to an emotion, isn’t always the best thing. I think that that is what has made our relationship so successful. Even when we are frustrated with each other, we don’t erupt, which eliminates a lot of unnecessary tension and hurt feelings. Sometimes, I just remind myself that I love him more than X, in this case it was a particular destination. So X isn’t worth hurting him. And for those that think that eruption is the only way for someone to hear us, it is actually the only way for someone to become defensive. I could see by Chuck’s eagerness to get us out of the situation that he knew how I was feeling.

Ten minutes down the road, a brief scare that they were full, and we were se-up just after lunchtime. Beer, please. The next 24 hours were great. We walked the dogs, played in the water, read, ate, talked, listened to music, played cards, and flushed out the worries of the world. I left my phone at home so that I could completely unplug (which should have made it on the list all by itself). We told our camping stories and talked about the potential of future camping trips. We made lists of other supplies that we needed. We enjoyed each other, our dogs, and the moment. We were on the same mindset of eliminating any pressures of a schedule and do what felt right in the moment– if you were hungry, eat; if you were tired, nap; if you wanted to explore, walk. Other than needing a break from the NC heat and humidity (and needing our air compressor for the air mattress to be charged), I could have done that for two more days.

Both Chuck and I work incredibly hard in some demanding professions. We rarely have the opportunity to take a vacation and both desperately need them more often. When we do break away, it is usually to visit family or go to a wedding. And while we love both of those, they can both feel like work sometimes, leaving us with the saying, “I need a vacation from my vacation.” I have been realizing that a vacation is in the mind. It is a break from your everyday stresses, daily routines, and monotonous environments.

I think we will look at September or October for our next camping trip, when it cools down a bit. Who’s in?

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