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Why You Should Camp More Often

WLC: Day 1

Katie and I are participating in the Whole Life Challenge for the next 8 weeks. One of the 7 areas to be challenged is Reflection. This blog will serve to record and relive some of the reflections I have throughout the next 56 days. Today's thought:
Why you should camp more often. 

I had some friends describe a couple extravagant vacations they were planning to take this year. I must say, they sounded pretty ideal: a winter trip to Florida, a cruise sometime over the summer, and a trip to NY city in the fall. It sounds like a lot of memories to be made, a lot of fun to be had...and a lot of money to spend.

Now don't get me wrong, this is not a blog entry bashing spending money, nor is it a time to knock taking extravagant trips. I plan on taking some of these myself at some point. These friends have put in the time and can now afford to do such things so power to them!

However, I can't help but wonder how they will feel when they come home from each of those trips. I'm imagining spending the week on a cruise ship--your every need being catered to, living life to its fullest (so they say). Upon returning home you realize that the house hasn't been cleaned in a week, your fridge is empty, and you have to return to work. While the vacation was enjoyable, it also gave you a taste of something super sweet and as you return to real life you suddenly realize how bland it is. You work and scrimp and save and look forward to your next trip away.

Recently Katie and I took all 4 kids to a cabin in Red River Gorge. The cabin had no plumbing, no electricity, and was in an area with limited/no cell phone service. It was grand! A great compromise to my ideal version of camping which would involve a backpack and a 7 mile hike (not practical for 8 little legs). We only spent one night there. We had 2 meals: dinner and breakfast. As we did dishes after dinner we were very aware of the amount of water left in the 5 gallon jug, and used water sparingly while we washed each plate. After dinner we played spotlight tag and made shadows on the wall, but we quickly realized there was nothing left to do but go to bed.

When we got home it was such a relief to walk into a house with HVAC, a place where we could use the bathroom indoors, where we could wash our hands with warm water, where we could leave the water running while we washed dishes...It really made us appreciate the little things in every day life that we so frequently take for granted. 

Now just to be clear: I am not saying that camping is somehow holier or better than going on a cruise. What I am saying is that there are vacations you can take that will help you better appreciate the luxuries of every day life. Vacationing to the Dominican mighty help you better appreciate that you have food in your pantry. Vacationing to Florida might help you appreciate the lack of humidity or weird bugs we have in the MidWest. Vacationing through camping could help you appreciate the house you have and all the helpful nick-knacks you handy to make your life easier day-to-day.

So during the WLC, my plan it to better appreciate the things I have in my every day life that make me  wealthy: refrigerator, running water, a place to store plates, etc.

The next vacation you plan, consider this question: How will the next 7 day vacation influence the way that you value the other 358 days of every day life more fully? 

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