The smoky smell of the fire clings to skin sticky with bugspray as two hands assemble a s’ more, and the golden-brown marshmallow oozes out the edges. The laughs and crackling of the fire surround the site while stars gleam down on the sleepy campers.
The greatest memories of my childhood often come from the trips where my family went camping.
As this year marks the sixth year I will be working at a campground, I get asked a lot what makes me stay.
Maybe it’s the journalist in me, but I yearn to hear the stories of people on great road trips across America, stopping along the Great Lakes on their way to Maine or Washington or Arizona.
Usually campers are an older generation of retirees or kids who are camping with their Boy Scout troop, so it is unusual that more millennials are going camping or even have a passion for it.
It’s easy to see a picture on social media of a hotel room overlooking a beautiful skyline, but what about the silence in the mountains or on the lake?
I could easily stay in an Air BnB or a hotel, and sometimes I do, but what I love about the camping industry is the camaraderie.
You may never learn the names of the people across the hall from you in the hotel, but when you’re camping, you connect with the people around you because they have the same appreciation for nature.
Yes, I am the crazy person who watches “Planet Earth” for fun, and I adore the snow, even as it’s a blizzard outside.
There’s something so truly blissful to have no other responsibilities than the thought of what trail you might hike next or what book you’re going to read that evening.
Even if you’re looking for a unique experience, there are so many options from yurts to treehouses that physically put you in nature’s hands.
When my boss first purchased the campground I work at, the front store was painted green and inside the ceiling was painted sky blue with white clouds swirling around.
There were grass-green walls and a brick walkway too, all designed to give customers the feeling of walking through an English garden.
The first thing he did was take it back to the basics, covering the store in wood paneling and giving it that “woodsy” feel that comes along with camping.
He has since added a pool, a deck off the office, a playground for kids, a fishing pond and overall, larger areas for families and friends to gather.
There’s nothing more humbling than going back to the basics and filling your soul up with the appreciation of nature that is often forgotten about.
Next time you think of your perfect day, remember what makes it so memorable and take in your surroundings.
It’s the most basic, yet the most beautiful things Earth has to offer.