The Dream: What would I do if I could not fail?
I would start a movement for women to Solo Camp that would inspire, equip, support, nurture, and celebrate Solo Camping, outdoors and in life, for women.
Solo Camping would be a reality, an activity, a catalyst, and a metaphor.
I didn’t camp once my marriages ended. I had camped, with my husbands, and our extended families. It seemed as if… I know, it sounds weird to say it now… those relationships gave me access to camping. That camping was to be done only in community.
I camped as a child, when the experience was planned for and fostered by my parents. We took a week-long camping trip in the high Sierras, WAY back in the mountains over 4-wheel terrain, every year as our family vacation. These memories are some of the most cherished, vivid, wonderful ones of my life.
They were not all sun and fun; it was not all my dad making Sausage, Hominy, Cheese and Eggs over the fire, or sailing leaf-and-bark boats down the creek, or the pride of setting up our own pup tents, or catching frogs and transplanting them to a we-declared Froggy National Park, or helping mom pat cornmeal to panfry a fish "I CAUGHT ALL BY MYSELF!" flyfishing. There were also truly frightening storms, thunder that sounded like the end of the world, lightning strikes in trees nearby, rain that soaked everything, everything, cold to the bone. There was uncertainty - very large cattle near streams as I fished, in the middle of vast meadows, cover far far away if things got dicey (I know, COWS?! You ask. They are BIG ANIMALS up close when you are little and your parents are wayyyyy upstream.) I got turned around in my sleeping bag once and couldn’t breathe easily, felt smothered panic I can recall to this day; that may be where my claustrophobia started. There were myriad mosquito bites, scrapes, burns, bruises, snarled hooks, sunburns galore.
A lot like life.
I bought camping gear in my 40’s~ not for me, but to be shared with my then-sweetheart. To take our young kids camping separately, and maybe eventually together… both of us, and then all of us. That was my thought, my intention in purchasing~ a 6-person tent, a 2-burner propane cookstove, frying pan with folding handle, nested plastic mixing bowls with lids, ingenious pots and pans that fit together in a kit in a netting bag, propane canisters, telescoping skewers for marshmallows and hotdogs, a tarp, stakes, sleeping bags and pads. In one trip to G.I. Joe’s, I whipped out my credit card and went (further) into debt and purchased the dream of camping… creating one of those communities that made the beautiful lasting memories.
But that never happened. I went once, with my 6-year-old son, and after several hours of “Daddy does this better than you… Daddy never forgets the mallet… Daddy sets it up faster than you… Daddy has all the kitchen stuff in a box… Daddy makes good fires, fast, not all this smoke like yours… you should call Daddy…” I loudly declared he should really be quiet and soak up this experience, as it would be our first and last camping trip together. Camping was (clearly) something special that he and his Dad had, and I couldn’t, didn’t want to, compete or diminish what was obviously their bonding adventure. My sweetheart used the gear too, to camp with his daughter. But we never camped together~ not the two of us, not the four of us. And then when we parted, I knew I wanted custody of that gear in the divided piles of “yours” and “mine”~ I bought it, it was mine, and I WOULD camp.
Only I never did. Because I’d look at the gear, and I’d think about All The Camping Trips That Never Happened, and I guess I thought, if it can’t be that, then I can’t have it.
SO the years went by, as they do… 13 of them. All of my forties and into my fifties. I wanted to camp, but did not go.
And finally (pardon my French) I said, Fuck This.
I am going camping alone.
If I wait for The Guy Who Is My Access To Camping, I will continue to miss out. And I am super done with missing out.
Thus, my love affair with solo camping was born.
And now - now I want to share it. I want you to discover it, too.
Let's get outside,
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