As I unload my camper after a weekend camping trip, I noticed my neighbor watching me from her front yard. As I gathered another armful of camping supplies and make my way up the driveway, she chuckled and said, ‘I still think it’s easier to stay in a hotel!’. Chuckling back, I replied, ‘I’m sure you’re right . . . but it’s not near as much fun!’ As I continued to unload, I thought about my response and asked myself if all this work really was worth it? Without hesitation, the answer is a resounding ‘YES!’ But why is it worth it? Why camping? What is it about camping that keeps pulling me in? Why do I do this?
After pondering this question for a while, I boiled it all down to this . . . camping makes me happy. Camping is what I do in my favorite places with some of my favorite people. How can that NOT be a good thing? Camping is what I do in my ‘Happy Place’.
Camping is what I do when I need to escape the city, breath in some fresh air and renew my spirit. Do you ever feel like you get bogged down with all the responsibilities you’ve created in your life? I do. There’s always so much to do and still so much yet to get done. We are continually ‘on’ all of the time, tethered by technology, always doing for others, always giving and seldom taking the time to rejuvenate. If we’re not careful, life will find a way to consume us, leaving little room or space for the things we really care about – the things we want to experience, the places we want to go and the people we want to spend time with. Life is too short to miss out on these things. We need to be out there finding your happy place, wherever that may be and go there.
Camping has a way of luring me to visit the beautiful places where I long to be. While some folks prefer solitude on a beautiful deserted beach watching the waves crash on the shore, others would rather watch the sunset behind a vast desert landscape, and yet others would choose to surround themselves with majestic peaks that reach high into the heavens. This is where I long to be.
The mountains . . . I have always loved to be in the mountains. I love to wake up in the morning, get my cup of coffee and sit in my favorite camp chair while enjoying the beautiful view and breathing in the pine-scented mountain air. This is my favorite time and space. Whether I’m spending time with my Creator or sharing coffee and conversation with my favorite camping buddy, it’s what I crave. In this place, I’m able to view my life from a new and different perspective. I’m open to new possibilities, ideas and friendships. Seldom do I return home without making a new friend, learning something new about myself or about camping.
There’s not a hotel on this planet that can compare to the experience of sitting around a campfire on a cool summer evening, telling stories, singing songs, and sharing laughter that makes your belly ache. These are the experiences that we’ll reflect on someday as we look back on our life, and even though we may be old and frail, we’ll still be able to smile, close our eyes and find ourselves back at the campsite, sitting around the campfire, the glow of the flames lighting our faces, and the sound of the laughter . . . and even though the moment is a distant memory, we’ll still feel the ache in our belly and the warmth in our heart for the relationships and the moments we shared, finding our happy place.