The Vacation That I Hope you Take This Summer
I’ll never forget my first family vacation. I was about nine years old and I remember helping my dad pack the ramshackle old Volvo station wagon with our tents, packs, granola, and hiking boots before setting out to one of his favorite campgrounds near lake Ontario. We spent the whole ride singing our favorite songs and talking about the ins and outs of tent camping. I remember worrying that I hadn’t brought enough Goosebumps books with me, and he said not to worry, that the simple act of camping would keep me occupied, and that a good family vacation was spent interacting with one another, not reading pulp fiction.
He was right. I didn’t even get through two Goosebumps, and the one that I did read all the way through, “Say Cheese or Die,” I read to my family around the camp fire as part of the scary story show and tell initiated by my brother. I can say without a doubt that it was that first family vacation with my immediate clan that instilled the love of the activity in me forever.
I know there’s Key West and Disney Land and exotic places in the south of France to choose from nowadays, but I really hope that you try family camping on your next vacation. There are so many beautiful wooded campgrounds and camp resorts in the U.S. that you’re bound to find a sublime sight near your home. This will cut down the overall excursion costs so that you can put your money into the essentials, like gas for the car, tent supplies, and the ingredients for s’mores.
Another thing that made my family vacation in the woods so great was the education I got while we camped. My dad did all this reading beforehand about tracking and different flora and fauna in the area. This made every hike a little nature lesson. We also learned how to build a fire without matches or a lighter, and how to protect our food from hungry animals in the area. My brother learned how to swim on our camping trip, and I learned how to make dye from berries to play make believe.
Soon, now that the weather is getting nicer, I’m going to take my indoorsy college friends on a camping trip in the Adirondacks. We’ll only be permitted to fill the trunk of my car, and when it’s nice enough, we’ll slather ourselves in bug spray and sleep out under the stars. I won’t have to enforce a no cell phones rule, since they probably won’t reliably work up the mountain. We’ll use an actual road map to get from here to there, and our AUX chords and ipads will trade places with my friend’s acoustic guitar.
It’s going to be a great summer. I hope I see some of you (but not too many of you), up my side of the mountain.