I love the city, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I wonder what my day-to-day existence would look like if I lived a more “simple” life, like on a farm or up in the mountains somewhere. What would it really feel like to live off the “fat of the land” and have to entertain myself without the aid of the apps on my i-gadgets, social events, or even just the www? I think back to the time of my maternal great-great-grandmothers and their lives on the prairies of the mid-west.
I wonder… would I sew quilts, or read books, or be content to cook and clean and care for the babies all day? I shudder. Uhhh, NO! But sometimes it is nice to unplug, connect with nature and just be simple for a change. So over the July 4th holiday, in remembrance of my pioneer heritage and in trying to evoke “la vie simple” I decided that we should go camping! Sleeping outside, fishing for dinner, frying it up in an open-air kitchen, and plenty of dirt and trees – perfect! This is the closest we are going to get.
With two days notice, I rallied a troupe of 8 and we revived a long forgotten family tradition. We packed up the camping gear and headed for Twin Lakes. We used to go all the time in the summer as kids. My Mom was truly a warrior as a single mother. It didn’t matter how broke we were, she made sure we had some sort of vacation every year; be it driving up Hwy 1 to hang out in Big Sur for a few days, shipping us off to Costa Rica, road trips to Kansas in our Chevy Suburban or a simple camping trip. In addition to throwing us three kids in the back of the car she usually scooped up a cousin or two to join in the fun. Being a mother myself now I bow down to her patience and resilience. They don’t cut all Mama’s from that kind of cloth – 3+ kids in the back of a car for more than 5 hours?? Woo! Enough said!
None of us had been up to Twin Lakes in at least a decade but I had this urge to go camping. So I figured, before I turn into a serious pumpkin and the thought of sleeping on the ground becomes ridiculous in all of my pregnant glory, let’s just go. So we did. Hey! Who says traveling with kids has to involve weeks of planning? Not if you are taking the bare minimum! Plus, camping has got to be one of the most inexpensive family trips that you can take. Where else can you book a room for $20 a night? Once you have the gear you are set and you can go as much or little as you want, budgeting only for the site fee, food and gas. Seriously, it is a trip almost any family can afford to make.
There is also something about having to rely on the natural surroundings for entertainment that allows for greater connectivity with one another. There are no cell phones, email, movies or PS3s to distract you. There’s just fishing, swimming, hiking, resting and eating which can all be enjoyed just as much in a group as solo. I think my nephew had the best time of all just collecting sticks, rocks and pinecones! What can I say… I may not be able to commit to leaving my i-phone for more than a week at a time -no offense great-grandma- but in honor of my foremothers that made their lives out on the range, camping will for sure be a tradition that I carry forth with my nuclear family for years to come. Yippee-ka-yay.