Back on the grid

Starting the fireA week of camping does a soul good. It was good to be (mostly) away from the Internet and the hustle and bustle of email and blogs, etc. We weren’t totally away from our devices.  Cell access was available though weak, but we tended to use that access differently.  We checked the weather, got directions, and pulled up This American Life to listen to in the car.  All very practical.

We chose to camp both because we wanted to, and because we wanted to save some money while visiting family.  For a total of about $120, we spent 7 nights in 4 different campgrounds.  Hotels for all those nights would have run us 10 times that much, making the visit all but impossible.  I also liked having other stuff to do.  We weren’t stuck in a tiny hotel room with ESPN.  We could go on a hike, start a fire and make breakfast, or sit quietly with the birdsong and read.  So, while we were waiting to see family (usually for dinner on a couple of nights), we weren’t bored.  And family came to us.  We were about an hour away in both of our campsites and my father-in-law came to see us on all the days we didn’t go to see him.  He loves to hike and was very familiar with one of the sites we stayed at.  The whole family came down one day: brother-in-law, his wife, 4 nephews and my father-in-law.  We did a short hike with the kids that involved a waterfall and a creek and we had s’mores after.  That’s the one day I didn’t get pictures!

Back on the trailGeeky Boy and Geeky Girl were not so taken with camping, but I’m glad they were there.  There are few family trips in our future as the kids become young adults and have their own plans and sooner than you’d think, perhaps, own families to travel with.  Despite their sometimes complaints about bugs and hard ground, I think they will remember the trip fondly in years to come.

I’m personally ready to go again and hope that at least Mr. Geeky and I can head someplace nearby before it gets too cold.

Thad emerges from Wolf CaveI wish I could hold onto the calm activity of the trip, and I’m going to try.  I starting reading The Distraction Addiction while on my trip and find it resonates with much of my current attitudes about technology.  One of the gists of the book so far is that technology itself is not bad, but mindless use of it is.  If you check email or Facebook obsessively, you’re not being mindful about your use of technology.  You’re not using it to accomplish a task, to extend your brain, so to speak.  You’re killing time.  I have a few more chapters to go, but so far, I’m liking its message.  It fit right in with my taking some time away from social media and other connected, technology-driven activities.  I’m looking forward to sharing some of its insights with my colleagues.

This week is the week before school activities get started.  I have a couple of obligations next week.  But this week, I’m going to try to focus on getting my house in order a little more, to create a calming place to come home to when the chaos of back to school hits–as it inevitably will.

2 thoughts on “Back on the grid”

  1. Sounds idyllic; were you in Pennsylvania? The thing I love about living out west is how much open space is available for camping not in proximity of others (and dispersed camping in national forest land is free).

    I am pretty confident your kids will remember these trips more than just fondly. Last weekend I had lunch with my 3 step kids who I’ve not seen in a while (they are in early 30s) and woah do they tell stories of our camping trips differently than how I remembered they reacted!

    It seems in line with the book you mentioned, this balance thing is all about finding our way on a spectrum of choices.

    Camp on!

  2. We were in PA some, but in Indiana most of the time. I know some of the trips I went on as a kid I complained about at the time, but now remember fondly. Same for Mr. Geeky. There’s hope!

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