The Happy Camper, Happy Travels Chronicles

I grew up in a family where the word “camping” was never said. If it was, I sure don’t remember it. “Vacation” was not said either. We just didn’t do those things because I am sure financials played a role in it.

Anyway, that all changed when I met my husband about 10 years ago. He asked me if I would go camping (he is an Eagle Scout and went camping often with the Scouts and his family). I was hesitant but said, “Sure. Why not?”

I went tent camping with him at a VW Bug show in Sevierville, TN. It POURED. People around us were drunk. There were these filthy things called porta-johns that I had never gotten close to before in my life and remember gagging when I had to use one. I will never forget waking up to the side of my face and head being in a puddle. It was terrible. I had a phobia of using public bathhouses, so I felt so gross by the time the weekend was over.

“NEVER AGAIN,” I said.

My husband eventually became involved with a local Troop, so there were a few more times I (reluctantly) went camping. It made him happy, and I wanted to be supportive, although I was pretty miserable. BUGS. It was HOT; it was WET. Sleepless nights before my insomnia was somewhat controlled. Coughing my head off because the smoke from the campfire would not leave me alone and followed me no matter where I moved my chair. I stank, despite deodarant. The bottom line was I hated camping, so once my husband pulled away from the Troop, I was relieved. No more camping. Yay!

Some time passed and the word “camping” was not mentioned. It felt like the normal life I grew up with, so it didn’t phase me a bit.

Fast forward several years, I am finally done with undergrad and moved back home. We soon got married after that and built our house. We were living the typical, starting-out life.

Out of the blue, my husband asked me if I would consider going camping again.

I quickly blew it off and said no right away. He nodded and didn’t mention it again…until a few weeks later…Again, I said no. No way was I going to do that again.

Then my husband got me caught in a line I couldn’t untangle myself from: “Would you consider going camping if we were in a camper?”

Taken aback, I said I would and then immediately regretted that decision as my husband began researching campers. I came up with every excuse I could think of, from not wanting a payment to it being a hassle to pull around. Leave it to my husband to go into secret agent mode and find something that met all the criteria. We came across the little campers called Runaway Campers.

We found a barely used one in Illinois and traveled there in our orange 2014 Subaru Crosstrek.

That’s where it all began.

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Two campers later, we try to camp as often as we can. We want to eventually travel full-time one day in a Class A. I love it. Camping is healing for me. I feel most connected to myself and God. It is a time I can pray. I can sit out in nature and just be. I love spending that quality of time with my husband. I love sitting by a campfire on a chilly, starry night with a glass of cabernet sauvingon in my hand with a foil meal of veggies and a flame-cooked steak (with A1 sauce!).

To me, that’s the good stuff!

Note: I still don’t like to use porta-johns and public bathhouses, so no change there!

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