Our family camps.
I don't mean camping, as in towing a trailer or fifth wheel that comes complete with running water, electricity, and a bathroom. I mean with a tent, on the ground, in sleeping bags.
At the same time we're not extremely hardcore. We don't hike miles into the mountains, miles away from the other nearest human being, packing in with everything on your back. At least not yet. Not with a two year old and a five year old.
This summer we went to Tahoe. We tent camped and had a great time. The Rock Star and Little Buddy did great. The highlights of our vacation have been talked about here . .
But one of the things I really enjoyed that needed further elaboration was how much we affirmed that we could do without.
At the first campsite we stayed at we had no electricity, no cell service (unless you wanted to hike a mile), and only a spicket with running water. The boys did fine. The parents did fine. We survived a week with no TV, not email, no internet, and even no newspapers. We didn't need a PSP or movies or even board games to entertain ourselves. And, check this, WE HAD A GREAT TIME! Sure we had a tent the size of a small cottage, and granted we were at Tahoe in the summer where there was water and great beaches and things to do, but so much of the daily distrations and entertainment was left behind, and forgotten, and NOT MISSED.*
And we had to spend time together. All the time, together. We didn't each sequester ourselves to different corners of the house. We ate together, played together, even slept nearly on top of one another. Christian speaker, Gary Smalley has talked befofe about the benefits that families who camp receive. He says its in the togetherness and working through the mini-crisises that always accompany camping. Because in camping there will be a crisis. You will have to scramble and improvise but you will get through it. We didn't have a major crisis but we did have bugs including a few (thank you Lord that it was only a few) mosquitos, we did have to set up our tent the first night in the middle of the night, we did have a couple thunderstorms blow in and we had to huddle in our tent. All of our food had to be stored in a bear box, because there were bears nearby . . . and a black bear even walked right through our campsite, ten feet away from us while we talked. Two feet away from the Rock Star as he slept soundly inside the tent only a thin piece of fabric between himself and the ursa americanus.
Certainly it was nice to get home to a bed with a mattress and air conditioning. But coming back reminds us of how little of what we came back to was actually needed. Of how much we could actually do without.
While we may not be as hardy as our ancestors who trekked across the western United States on foot and by covered wagon, we a least can say that we didn't perish during out week without modern conveniences . . . in fact we rather enjoyed ourselves.
*It must be stated, for the record, that we were not camping during football season. Had we been missing a meaningful season by the Chargers or Seahawks that might have been missed.