Sometimes all you need in the woods is laughter and your best friend (who’s packed all the ‘other’ camping essentials’.
That’s when I first discovered the notion that camping didn’t have to be so … raw and rough around the edges. It can be ‘refined’ and can definitely be a great way to search-the-soul.
It was the weekend my best friend took pity on my ‘post-boyfriend break-up state of despair’ and dragged my sorry backside away from the bustle and heat of downtown Toronto, to a provincial park in Adirondacks, New York.
We were 27-years-old. We were city-girls who drank chilled Sauvignon Blanc in spikey heels on west-end patios. Top of our camping list was Clamato for spicy Caesar’s (because you can’t buy it in the states — or couldn’t back then) and ‘getting away from it all’. It was pre-wifi, 1998.
I’m not sure where we even found the tent and sleeping bags, but the not-so-glampy ‘Grower’s brellie came from Sarah’s brief stint in the wine industry and acted as an ideal shelter for our ‘cooking station’.
The other essentials weren’t buried in my 500 sq. ft. bachelor apartment (newly acquired in the ‘This is Forever’ break-up). Somehow we managed to find them, but it was the non-essentials that made the all the difference.
Here’s what my ‘glampy’ best mate brought along for the trip (she’s always been ahead of the curve):
- tea lights and mason jars to double as candle holders in high wind or vases for wild flowers (of course)
- picnic table linen (pretty with mood-lifting charm)…ours looks a little batik but the booze umbrella really added that finishing ‘je ne sais quoi?’
- a well-planned menu
- Coleman: you can do anything on a Coleman, from the best morning fry-ups including sautéed tomatoes with basil, fried eggs, bacon and toast … to risotto rice (You may raise a brow but it’s completely do-able, on the Coleman about 20 mins. and a perfect accompaniment to marinated chicken)
- baseball caps for unruly day two hair (an area rug to keep out the mud may have been more practical)
- french press coffee maker — those birds start chirping early, best to have great caffeine close-by to get you going. A little added Bailey’s is an extra perk (but we couldn’t afford it back then)
- bevvies: wine, beer – what’s your fancy? a cocktail shaker and few olives? We wouldn’t go that far, but spicy Caesar’s were on our list.
- play list perfection – for the car, for meal-prep or simply for chilling: plan your play list ahead of time (back then we brought a ‘ghetto blaster’ because well…it was pre-Apple)
- everything AND the kitchen sink — (We did NOT bring this) I wish we had one of these back then! Check out this super-cool portable sink/vanity extraordinaire complete with mirror, LED light, toothbrush/paste holder, cup rest and drain spout. Hard to get glampier? It’s not an endorsement (we don’t have one — but we sure like the look of it)
- Last but not least: a light heart and a lot of laughter. If you have that, you can almost scrap #1-9.
The best part of that weekend really was getting away from it all and it did turn out to be the ‘forever breakup’.
I challenge you to spend a weekend with your best-mate in the woods, shut down the devices (not the Coleman or your chill-out music-supplier), but lay-off flicker, Facebook, twitter. Cut yourself off from everything ‘social’ and get back to conversation and great fire-side chats. Canoe, hike, photograph and laugh.
I recall making some pretty big decisions that weekend. Like moving on with my life, away from the ‘bad boy’ and never looking back.
Funny that, after 8 years of on-and-offing with the wrong guy, I relaxed, moved on and came across Mr. Right six weeks later at a hotdog stand.
That’s another story altogether.