Girl Camper: Episode 111 Stephanie Puglisi on Girl Camping

On this week’s show I welcome Stephanie Puglisi, co host with her husband and business partner Jeremy Puglisi of the RV Family Travel Atlas Podcast and the Campground of the Week Podcast. Stephanie co founded the RVFTA Network and co-authored the Idiots Guide to RV Vacations with Jeremy. She is also the Producer of the Girl Camper Podcast, mom to three active boys and in her spare time, a Girl Camper. Stephanie shares some insights on this weeks show about her recent purchase of a used Pop Up trailer and how she plans to use it. She also delves into the topic of making your own choices for how you unwind, the atmosphere that can exist among women whose choices may be different than yours, and claiming your own person-hood without feeling guilty about it.

Girl Camping is not always as simple as knowing how to tow a trailer or pitch a tent. Sometimes there are dynamics involved on the home front with a husband who doesn’t ‘get it’. Sometimes women give up the dream because it’s takes too much energy to fight for it. I can say that across the board every woman I have met whose husband or partner didn’t get it and they did it anyway, came away happy they did. I can also say that the spouse who doesn’t get on board when he sees the benefits of it is the exception. Most end up pleading to have a turn.

The outside judgement can also come from a mother in law with a “I never left my children when they needed me. I was happy to be with them” attitude.  Discussing these things with Stephanie reminded me of my own start in the Girl Camping world. My husband was always on board and thought it was great. He was grateful he didn’t have to come with me. My mother in law had passed away the year before I resurrected this childhood pleasure but I can assure you she would not have liked it one bit. I would have done it anyway because there was an exceedingly immature part of me that needed to show her at every possible opportunity,  how marriage is ‘suppose’ to go. I delighted in making sure she knew that her son was completely capable of not losing any kids while I was gone.

Having these women to hang out with, do new things with and sit around the campfire with saved me! They came along when I really needed to do something fun!

Another source of judgement are the  “super hero” moms who gauge their own motherhood by the number of sacrifices they’re willing to make in order that everyone else’s lives run smoothly without realizing the toll it is taking on them. Sometimes these mothers are the ones to judge someone else’s need to recharge with a grown up time out. My own circle of friends thought I was crazy when I joined the sisters on the fly. I had just adopted a second grader. My two biological children, affectionately referred to as the “prototypes,” were in college and late high school. My mom friends judgments were across the board from the ridiculous, “How will your husband eat all weekend?” to “you’re joining a subculture. Are you sure you’re alright?”

My first Sister on the Fly trailer, a 1959 Field and Stream named Roam Sweet Home.

Having this somewhat serious conversation with Stephanie brought me back to my own feelings at the time I jumped into the girl camping movement. I was at a place where I needed to do something for myself. I was running on empty and I am not afraid or ashamed to say that. I needed something fun to do that was just mine. I needed something to look forward to. I think the five camp outs a year that I did while I was still raising my youngest saved me. When I wasn’t camping I was playing with my trailer and chatting on line with new friends and looking forward to the next outing and testing camp recipes. It all saved me. Women don’t have the right to camp out with friends because they give so much and deserve a little time to themselves. They have that right because they are human beings who require self care. It’s okay to feed your body, mind and soul with whatever you need to keep moving. It’s okay.