Our last camping trip wasn’t all that mind-blowing. We set up our tent on rocky ground. The sky was cloudy. The air was chilly. Mowgli didn’t really sleep, so I didn’t either. In theory, we were camping for our 2nd wedding anniversary. But if I’m being honest with you… It didn’t feel all that romantic. More like just camping.
Some people swear off camping. Why would anyone want to sleep on the ground? Outside? With bugs? And don’t even get them started on peeing in the woods. So why do it?
I’ve been on some pretty awful camping trips. It snowed two feet on our tent– which was really just a tarp– one April. The next winter, we purposefully went winter camping, but did it in a child’s tent. The three of us couldn’t even lay our legs down. My knees ached all night.
But those are small in my memory compared to the great camping trips. The ones where you hike up a crazy mountain with people that you love and sit on the top, shoulder to shoulder, looking out over an astonishing view, full to the brim with exhaustion and excitement for what you’ve just accomplished. Falling asleep to the sound of the ocean, or waking up to birds chirping and leaves rustling. Camping so far from a city that you can see, actually see, the Milky Way. Watching the sun come up, hands wrapped around hot coffee and toes dangerously close to the campfire. I am always surprised– I swoon a little when I put fresh, clean socks on my tired, sweaty feet right before I crawl into my sleeping bag for the night.
We spend our 40-hour work weeks in front of the computer, or talking with people, working our way through never ending to-do lists. And when we get home, we sit in front of the tv or the computer or run errands with cell phone in hand. And sometimes, I need a break. I need to be outside.
There is magic in those clean socks. I never wear socks to bed at home, but when camping, they are a balm for my weary feet. Just like being outside, in the fresh air, with sunburnt lips or rain-soaked hair, is a balm for my modern-world-weary soul.