About every other year, or every third year, Alex and I go “glamping” in Sequoia National Park. I say glamping- glamorous camping- because we have all the comforts of home that we tow behind our truck in a rather lengthy and roomy trailer. We meet up with Alex’s parents who usually stay for about a month at a time- now that’s commitment. Despite the fact that they also have a cute little motorhome, they really only use it for sleeping and try their best to truly camp. They have an outdoor tent they use as a shower (aka. the Pee-Pee Tee-pee) and they also set up an elaborate outdoor kitchen. This year, our nephew joined us for the first time in a long time. He brought his girlfriend and her little brother. They stayed in a little tent, and Alex’s mom let them borrow a table cloth to add some cheer to the site. I remember those days.
So as three generations of campers sat around the fire, I couldn’t help but observe the evolution of (neighborly) life, camping style:
You start out young, not a lot of money. Adventurous spirit. You load your car with all the camping supplies. You set up your camp just so, you rough it, you do lots of activities, you may even cook. When it’s time to head back for school, or your first day of work, break down your camp, and then you unload all your camping supplies into your garage when you get home. You’re proud of your accomplishments.
About 10-20 years later, you decide that you want a bit more comfort. You upsize. You get your trailer or RV, it has an actual mattress to sleep on, and a sink, and a bathroom where you can shower. Creature comforts. If you are like us, you upsize yet again, and spring for the double wide with the living room in back… because you need a living room??? No, because your camping neighbor has one and suddenly you want one too. (But I promise you it’s nice, really nice.) You set up your camp and RV, just so. You cook. You are still active, but a day at camp sounds nice, too. When you have to head back for work, you fold in the slide outs and park your RV at the local storage, no unpacking necessary. You’re proud of your accomplishments.
Then eventually, in another 20-30 years, you retire (hopefully). You realize that you really don’t need that living room. You are really just there for the journey, and that’s happening outside. So you downsize. You still have the creature comforts, but maybe not the living room. The need-to-haves, vs. the nice-to-haves. You set up your camp and RV, just so. You cook. You enjoy relaxing. You have no-where to be but here. Eventually, you decide to go home, and you jump in your RV and head home. No unpacking necessary, and you’re ready for your next trip which is probably in a month or two. You’re proud of your accomplishments.
The purpose of camping is to enjoy nature. Get closer to it. Survive it. How you interact with it is a personal choice. For now, I enjoy the view through my window while I sip my coffee before I head out for the day’s activities. Tomorrow I may feel differently. OK, probably not tomorrow, but eventually. Such is the evolution of (neighborly) life.