I’m not what you’d call a world traveler. I’ve been to Hawaii a few times, traveled through Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Idaho. I’ve seen the beauty of Canada, felt the rainy dampness of Washington, and once I spent an afternoon in Mexico.
I’ve always dreamed of traveling abroad. My husband and I have grand ideas of taking one of those extravagant Mediterranean cruises where we can see four different countries in a 10-day period. We’ll get there. One day. Someday.
For now, our excursions are more of the rustic kind. We camp. It’s what we like and it’s what we do, whenever we have a spare moment. We started out, like many couples with young kids do, schlepping our piles of junk to the campground and setting up house in a crummy tent. Over the years, we’ve moved up in the world; traded in the tent for a trailer, then traded in that trailer for a bigger, better model. I’d blame our change from tents to trailers on the hubby’s bad back, but the truth is I just got darned tired of walking to the bathroom in the dark. A girl’s gotta have priorities.
For those who have never ventured out into a forest and spent a week ‘roughing it’, I say…why the hell not? Camping is the greatest thing ever invented (in my humble opinion). Seriously, it is. Coming from a city girl like me, that’s saying something. Sure, my first camping experience was less than glamorous and I was clamoring for a shower after the first few hours, but as I’ve settled in and adapted, the wonder of nature has taken a great precedence over what I once thought was a priority.
We’ve camped at the beach, at the lake, in the mountains. We’ve seen the wonder of Zion National Park (twice!), Yosemite, and (my favorite of all time) the Grand Canyon. Our kids have spent priceless days with us hiking trails, sharing laughter, and actually being grateful for “unplugging” from technology. For all the wonderment that the internet can bring, nothing…and I mean nothing…can compare with standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon and seeing right before your eyes a true miracle.
Sadly, as our kids have grown, our family camping trips have slowly become rarer and rarer. The last time we ventured out (a few months ago), it was only the hubby and I….and our huge trailer that sleeps 9. Eh…life is all about change and while I will always get a sense of melancholy thinking about my kids no longer being a regular part of our trips, there’s a certain freedom to be found when there’s just the two of us.
I love to take pictures of our trips, and while I’ll never be any kind of expert, I have taken some beauties during our travels. I have a fondness for clouds – and yes, my kids just roll their eyes when I snap picture after picture of the same white fluffy things floating in the sky. The image at the top of this page was taken during our last trip to Zion. It was over 100 degrees the entire week we were there, sticky and miserable because of a monsoon, and yet it made for the most spectacular pictures. The one below was taken from our 2010 trip to the Grand Canyon, a truly awe inspiring week that I cannot wait to revisit.
My hope is that every child grows up with a love of camping. Whether that’s in a tent, a trailer, or the back of a pick-up…just get out there and do it. You don’t need a five-star hotel to experience beauty, and you certainly don’t need an airplane to go somewhere breathtaking. It’s the cheapest way to vacation with a family…and in my opinion, the best.