Thursday, April 4, 2013

Camping as a Kiddo and Pitching a Tent in Turkey

This post is part of the BlogHer April NaBloPoMo - a month of blogging about topics related to spring and the idea of "Fresh".   I hope that you will follow along!

Yesterday's prompt was about camping and memorable trips.

Camping sends me back down memory lane to my days as a kiddo.  In fact, this past summer H. converted our old family videos to digital format and we enjoyed the summer evenings watching flash backs from my childhood.  The first video opens with me and my sister sitting around in lawn chairs being cheesy for the camera.  Then I'm playing with a paddle, my feet dangling off the edge of the chair, my hair in a white-blond curly mess, rambling about something or other that I can even barely understand with my squeaky 3-year old voice.  We had just arrived at our campsite after a long drive - you can see the length of the drive in my parents strained expressions, apparently I was grumpy during the ride.  My mom is about 6 months pregnant with my baby brother, and I can imagine that camping is not very comfortable for her at that moment, yet we are roughing it. 

A snapshot from those family videos - I was sent to wake my older sister sleeping in the tent.
By the way - look at that tent - it's an oldie but a goodie.

This was a pretty standard family vacation for us in those days - we went canoeing and camping somewhere in Missouri or Nebraska, or for a real treat, Colorado.  My most vivid memories of camping at that age involve the Colorado trip where I saw the Milky Way for the first time; it was so bright, that creamy splash of stars across the sky.  I remember enjoying the cozy feeling after the sun went down and the night air became chilly; we would put on our sweatshirts and sit around a fire roasting marshmallows and making smores. 

Other memories are harder to revive - I was so little.  However, circulating family stories and, or course, the videos bring back snippets of those fun, family trips.  For example, my mom loves telling everyone (including a committee member that we happened to meet at an art event) that I was potty-trained on a canoe/camping trip.  [See Mom - now I'm sharing with the whole world!  :-) ] I'm not sure what it was about the canoeing that helped me potty train, but I take it as a sure sign that I was born with a deep connection for the outdoors.

I feel most at peace and authentic when walking or just being outside.  These days it is hard to get outside of the city to an area where nature is more than a patch of mowed grass and a few planted trees.  So I enjoy the walks through campus and through our downtown neighborhood, where culture and nature seem to somewhat peacefully co-exist (on some level).  Yet, I yearn to really get outdoors and take a hike, pitch a tent.

This summer H. and I are planning to do just that.  A while back I mentioned that I was itching to explore the Maras mountains, yet the winter weather wasn't conducive for taking a hike.  This summer - after our Turkish wedding - we are going to try to enjoy the outdoors a bit more.  Take a small trip, hike in the mountains, pitch our tent and see how well it works against whatever weather may come our way.  It might be uncomfortable, it might be a sleepless night and then a day of sore hips and shoulders (sleeping on the ground is not for the weak!).  Yet it will be another memory, one we will share together. 

Hopefully one day when we have little kiddos of our own we'll pack up the car, or the backpacks, and head out of whatever city we are living in to savor a bit of nature.  To learn about quiet, and how to visit a place without leaving a trace - no human tracks of garbage to follow us back down the mountain.

Some may think that camping is for the privileged, and I would agree.  Camping gear is typically expensive and it's a vacation - not camping for survival.  Yet, I think it is important for the privileged to remit some of their privilege - even if just for the weekend.  It may not change the ways of some, but for others it may create a connection with the environment, with nature, with other humans, that may lead to lasting lifestyle change or just viewing the world in a new way.  Even if the only outcome from camping is stronger relationships and a bit of relaxation, then it has served to bring more joy in the world, and that is enough for me. 

I am curious, have others gone camping in Turkey?  Or in other countries?  What have been your experiences camping in a different culture? 


  1. Enjoyed your post! I used to LOVE to camp. My late hubby and I would camp together for years. I didn't do much as a kid (only in Girl Scouts.) I found my hubby and I would actually spend great QUALITY time together, talking, walking and really being in the moment camping. No electronical devices or outside distractions. It was not expensive, and I am so thankful we had those years together. I only camped in the US, so I don't know anything about camping in Turkey, but it sounds like an adventure! My current hubby wants no part of camping, so it is sad to me, but the memories are fabulous ones.

    1. Thanks for your comment Winnie! Camping is wonderful - I'm glad you have so many wonderful memories from those trips. I'll report back on how camping ends up in Turkey. I'm looking forward to it!

  2. Lindsey,
    That is the little girl that told wonderful stories while pretending to read her books.
    I can see that little mind working in your eyes.:)
    Love, Dad


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