Long week

Long week

I’m on my third cup of tea already this morning…not a good sign. Basically, it’s just been a long week.

As I went through my morning routine on auto-pilot today, I was thinking back to last Monday morning. I was in New York. Yep, New York.

Road tripping with Husband.

Husband’s grandmother had passed away, and we were taking a last-minute trip to upstate New York for her funeral. Husband and I quickly threw together our camping gear, bought a few road-tripping snacks and took off.

This was my first time camping with Husband’s family–it was a strange mix of a pilgrimage back to where their grandmother was from and an impromptu family reunion, mixed with grief, celebration, laughter and tears.

Although bittersweet, Husband and I made it our mission to spend some good quality time together and time with family. An unexpected little breakaway from real life.

Trekking upstate New York farmland.

There were moments of solemnity, like visiting the graveside of Husband’s beloved father. And times of remembrance, like trekking across the pastures on the farm where Husband’s father grew up. And there was joy, as we all sat around the fire, laughing and enjoying one another.

There were moments of reality, like when it started to rain on our campsite as we attempted to cook dinner and when my MIL’s truck broke down and needed a tow.

New York covered bridge.

And there was surrealty. Spending uninterrupted time with Husband on the ten hour drive there and back. Even a few stolen moments to visit waterfalls and hike a glen.

New York Waterfall.

It was an exhausting, uplifting, enjoyable and grief-filled five days.

But now, we are back. And real life isn’t waiting for us to catch up…

{Moments of Inspiration}

{Moments of Inspiration}

“Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them; for those experiences have left an indelible impression, and we are ever and anon reminded of them.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

Reading by the campfire.

Reading Bloom, by blogger Kelle Hampton.

Right around the corner…

Right around the corner…

Hiking with the puppy at Northwest River Park.

I’m beginning to learn that some of the best adventures, the most memorable memories, are right around the corner.

I’ve spent so many years searching for adventure. As a teenager, I went to South America five times. I chose a college 41 hours away from home. I have traveled, taking trips, internships, and jobs in random states. I love to travel. I love to go. It makes great memories. It makes life an adventure.

But I’m learning to be content where I am. Life has changed and, right now, international trips just aren’t in the budget. But there are different kinds of adventures, like figuring out this whole marriage thing. And the challenge of living life to the fullest on a frugal budget. So we’re learning to do things like camping locally.

Husband and I spent Friday night through Sunday afternoon at Northwest River Park, literally ten minutes from our house. It’s a delightful little park, with a number of hiking trails (and bridal trails, I’m thinking that might be another adventure in my future), a river (obviously), and a wonderful campground full of mature shade trees.

Our camp site.

We’ve only taken Ginger camping once before, and it was a bit of an adventure. This time she did wonderfully! (Only minimal separation anxiety when one of us would leave the site to find water or something…but not at all afraid of the tent this time around!) She’ll be a camping pro before long =).

I’m so glad that while I have scaled back the funds required for these adventures ($40 for camping plus $5 for gas), I haven’t had to reduce the enjoyment and refreshing rest they offer. Husband and I both come from families who prize camping above just about any other kind of vacation. Sure, cruises are great and islands are nice, but camping? Camping is THE BEST!

I hope it’s a tradition we can pass on to our children.

Aside from a few ticks, some annoying mosquitoes, and a chilly first night, our trip was perfection.

Loving the little things.

Despite the fact that we purchase a brand new bone, Ginger preferred her sticks.

Despite the fact that we purchased a brand new “camping” bone, Ginger preferred the plentiful sticks littering our campsite.

There's nothing quite like breakfast made over a camp fire.

Hiking some boggy trails.

Steak dinner by lamp light?

New definition to reading by the fire.

Hiking puppy!

Paw print.

Tuckered pup.

Camping with Husband.

Cyprus trees.

Looking forward to making many, many more such memorable trips, right around the corner…

Anticipation

Anticipation

As I write this, I am totally distracted by anticipation. In a mere 6 hours it’s quitting time and I will be on my way to the best weekend of our Spring. Seriously.

Just a quick pit stop at home to pack up the truck with our tent, sleeping bags, and cooking supplies and then we’re putting the pup in the cab and heading off for a weekend of…nothing.

Absolutely nothing.

No chores. No budgeting. No extra working hours. No cleaning. No laundry. No yard work. No preparations for our future. No worries. No guilt. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Our tent.

I envision a lot of laughter, smiles, stress relieving walks through the woods. I see visits to the lake, splashing the puppy (who is terrified of water, but we’re trying to help her past that).

I envision reading, relaxing, throwing a ball with the pup, sitting by the fire, and snuggling down in a tent for the night, complaining that Ginger is taking up more than her fair share of space =).

French toast over the fire.

I wait in breathless anticipation.

Truthfully, we’re not going very far away. In fact, Northwest River Park is just in Chesapeake. We can come home to feed the Sugar Gliders and take care of the fish tank. But it feels like we’re escaping life for a few delicious days.

I vividly remember the anticipation of a camping trip from the time I was just a tiny thing. I loved packing my backpack with all the necessary supplies: Flashlight, check! Water bottle, check! Pocket knife, check!

Eager giggles and whispered plans for adventure with my brother went on for days before we would leave. A camping trip was joy itself.

And you know what? It still is.

Camping with Husband and puppy last year.

Someday, I hope I get to share the anticipation with my own kids. I hope I get to give them the magic of tents and campfires and roasted marshmallows and “hobo packs.” I hope I get to overhear their excited giggles and whispered plans. I hope they learn to love the sound of rain drops on the canvas roof of a pop-up trailer. Maybe they’ll even learn the joy of being rescued from your tent as it begins to float in the flooded campground, just to be dried off, wrapped in a warm blanket, and placed next to a warm wood stove at 4am with all the other people who fled the flood.

Maybe someday my own children will understand the pure magic of camping…

Three days away

This past weekend was truly wonderful. In celebration of our first anniversary, Husband and I took a long weekend away from civilization.

We packed up the car (my tiny, two-door Mitsubishi) with everything we needed for three days in the woods. I wish I had taken a picture of how stuffed my little car was, but somehow we managed to fit it all in. (The other vehicle option available to us was Husband’s truck which doesn’t have a back seat, so Ginger would have been sitting on my lap the entire way…very bad option considering her propensity toward car sickness).

Both Husband and I grew up in camping families–it was probably the most affordable vacation option considering the size of our families, but it was also just plain fun. Already one year into our marriage and we had never gone camping together, only cabin-ing, which is fun, but it isn’t camping. Read more