As you age, time moves differently. As a child the days seem short but the years seem unimaginably long. Of course, when you’re an adult, our days stuck at work can feel like an eternity yet the years somehow fly by. I definitely prefer the former.
My parents, I would have to say, were pretty awesome parents. The older I get, the more I appreciate all they did for my sister and I, including some of my favorite childhood memories of camping. Every year without fail until about the age of 12, my parents would take my younger sister and me camping.
As a highly adventurous child with a huge imagination, being brought to forests with open grassy fields and flowing rivers, then being granted the permission to roam around and explore to my hearts content, was simply magical. Despite not being very old now, I was a kid before the days of video games and the Internet, when we still played outside regularly. I remember climbing trees and trying to catch fish in a bucket just for the fun of it.
No particular camping trip stands out, as truthfully they were all just as good as the next. But I can easily summarize them all in terms of what they meant to me and how they still affect me in my life today. I learned how to ride a bike while camping, how to build a fire, and practiced my tree and rock climbing. I learned more about the life cycle of plants, the workings of the eco-system, about the types of animals that live in the wild and which ones to be wary of. I spent countless hours following rivers and examining how they flowed, climbing trees as high as I could, and seeing for my own eyes animals that I had never seen before. I met other kids from all over the country and learned how to make friends more easily. I learned how to fish with a fishing rod, cook food on the fire, and even how to best pack for such a trip. These were amazing at the time (as most things when you are a kid are) and have also helped me grow into a more resourceful adult.
Just yesterday in fact I was camping with some friends and I already had the skills and know how to set up camp, start a fire, know where was safe to swim, and what water is and isn’t safe to drink (hint: only flowing clear water is safe to drink). The two friends I was with didn’t have any of these skills.
Life, I believe, is about collecting experiences, not possessions. The experiences gathered while camping with my family are simply irreplaceable and I am forever grateful. Not to mention the fact that every trip was just plain fun!