1. Bug spray! This summer I’ve discovered the bitey-repelling qualities of herbs like lavender oil, but in the woods they just weren’t enough of a deterrent. Cue the sticky nasty stuff—it may be gross-smelling chemical soup, but it gits ‘er done. Yeah, suck it, mosquitoes!… Or don’t, actually. Hah.
2. Sharing space with wild critters, including tiny bunnies, hunting osprey, a cool-ass owl, coyotes, deer, crazy-sounding birds, and one ginormous slug (six inches long, minimum).
3. Rain on the tent roof while we grinned and burrowed into our sleeping bags like pocket gophers.
4. Campfire. It’s not really necessary in this day and age, but there’s just something deeply, sweetly primal about having one (ignoring the fact that we started ours with Duraflame logs and one of those long clicky lighter things). It does help keep the bugs away, and on this trip was also a crematorium for a pair of shorts I’d ripped earlier in the day. Which reminds me of another time-honored part of camping:
5. Being drunk in public.
6. No worries about makeup or clothes. I don’t fuss too much with them ordinarily, but not having to even make an effort is so freeing. I camp; therefore, I am shlumperdik.
7. Being close enough to civilization that we could eat out most nights. Campsite cooking is fine, but having someone else do the prep and cleanup has its rewards.
8. A reliable car that comfortably got us to and from. (Anyone who’s ever known what it’s like to have one that isn’t can relate here!)
More tidbits awaited, upon our return…
9. Essentially got mugged by the cat the second we hit the door. She’s getting downright stalkerish in her dotage, and was making vocalizations I’d never heard out of her before as she happy-shimmied all over the carpet.
10. The first thing I did was jump into a shower that stayed hot for more than three minutes at a time. The campground showers used tokens, and it was my first time using that system. If you’ve ever endured the weird gymnastics and timing tricks that entails, you know how delicious that first shower back home is.
11. The next morning, I cooked a real breakfast. Refrigeration grants a much wider range of ingredient choices, and dishes can just get popped into the ‘washer (if you’re lucky enough to have one). Like zero cleanup, comparatively speaking.
12. Didn’t have to put on shoes to go to the bathroom, or otherwise risk stepping on something sharp or awful.
13. The Mr. and I were still on good terms after being stuck together 24/7 for an entire week. As independent and ornery-minded as we can each be, that’s saying quite a bit.
14. Road trips in general. Along with camping, it’s a great reset switch. Early morning on the open road = Best. Feeling. Ever.
It’s good to get out into the world and experience new and different things… but so is coming home.