Happy Camper

Author: Jenny Lind Conlee | www.jennylindconlee.com | @jennylindconlee

Things I’d rather do instead of camping:

Go to the dentist for a root canal.

Rip my eyelashes out, one at a time.

Go swimsuit shopping.

Run into my creepy ex-boyfriend at the grocery store. Wait, I take that one back. Sorry. Went too far.

You get the picture.

Why? Because it’s dirty. And there’s no bathroom close by. Ever. And who wants to hike in the dark should nature call during the night? Who came up with this camping nonsense? And don’t you dare say “Jesus”.

My family went camping when I was 3 years old in 1982, the year of our Lord. We’re not outdoorsy people, so the next time I camped, I was 18 and it was a youth leader retreat. We camped out again with my in-laws when we were newly weds circa 1999. Then we didn’t camp again until 2013.

I’m not outdoorsy in any way. I’m more of an “inside pet”. My kids, however, are not. They dubbed themselves “the adventure boys” during a hike a few years ago. My mom being the awesome Grammy Bee that she is made the boys vests that day “Adventure Boys” and walking sticks with their names burned into them. They are all about that life. But it hit me one day recently. Was I preventing my family from doing something they wanted to do? The answer is: yes.

My husband grew up with family campouts, church campouts and a six-week cross-country trip with his mom, grandma and cousins in an RV. He loves the idea of sharing these experiences with his own children. Trouble is, my idea of roughing it involves housekeeping and room service. So, I am clearly the roadblock to all this memory making potential in the great outdoors.

I do not want to be the reason my family doesn’t go on adventures. I also don’t want them to have adventures without me. The only way to fix this is for me to change.

We know this super cool lady from church who buys older pop-up tent trailers and gives them beautiful makeovers. (Follow Lisa Rice on IG: rice_camp) It got my husband thinking: if he could make it comfortable for me, maybe I’d give it a try.

So, we took the plunge and bought a pop-up tent trailer. It even has a little potty and shower. The slide-outs make it so spacious inside that I call it The Tardis (sorry- that’s a really nerdy Dr. Who joke).

I embraced the trailer. We did a two week road trip. One week in the trailer in Lake Tahoe, the other week in Vegas visiting my sister and fam there. 3800 miles, 4 aunts, 3 uncles, 7 cousins, 5 dogs, a few evil mosquitos, 1 sandy beach, 1 hot desert, a million great memories and zero regrets.

We have two more short campouts planned before school starts. It’s fun being able to just pack up and go, and my kids enjoy mom and dad being in close quarters. How many more years will they WANT to be this close to me?

Adventure is important for our development. It changes us on a spiritual level. Adventure looks different to all of us, but the heart of it remains the same.

What are you willing to give up in order to embrace adventure? What adventures have you had this summer? How have they changed you?