Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Tag: vacation (Page 1 of 9)

Playing in the woods at Lake Bastrop

We took our sixth trip in Turtle Home last weekend.

Nice to have a lake in our backyard for a few days!

We left work around 5:45pm and hit a little traffic, so we got to the site around 7.  This meant that a) the mosquitos were out in full force and b) we had to set up in the dark.

Luckily, we’re pretty good at it, managed it in about 45 minutes, and got treated to some pretty sweet full moonlight while we grilled some burgers and had some frosty beverages.

Looks kind of like an oil painting, no?

Saturday, we got up around 9:30 and our friends made us breakfast tacos!  Then, the boys went to get ice and the rest of the party was napping, I put my hokas on and went for a little hike.

I meant to just walk around the campsite but I kept going and going and found a cool trail and took lots of pictures so if I went missing, at least someone would know where I wandered by looking at DropBox.  Also, it was super pretty!

After I collected Zliten, we took Wasp and Yellow Jacket out to go play on trails.  Yes, I’m a priss and accidentally wore jewelry while playing on dirt with bikes.

We hit the Heron Trail, then the Fisherman’s Loop, and then decided to try the South to North Lake trail and it got a little advanced for us, so we just rode the other ones again and returned back with actual mud on our tires!  I still feel noobish at riding bikes on rocks but I’ve learned a few things, most helpfully, I’m much more confident leading than following (or at least leaving a bunch of space in between me and the next rider) so that helps in my quest to get a little braver.

After some delicious sausages from the grill for lunch, and a little too much fudge, Zliten decided it was time for casting.  Note that he didn’t say FISHING, but casting.

Look at that form!

After catching many leaves and twigs but no actual live fish, we watched the sun set, built a fire, and failed to make proper dutch oven popcorn (but had some real corn instead).  Instead, we dined on camping punch, laughter, and plotting and scheming for the future.

Seeing stars!

I was sad we couldn’t get the three day camp effect, but it was a perfect getaway for the time we had allotted.  Care of the time change, we got plenty of sleep on Saturday night, we were able to take the bikes back onto dirt in the morning, and get packed up and out a whole 20 minutes before our checkout time and home by 1pm.  Our heads were clear and it felt less like a chore to exist and do things than it did less than two days ago.

I need every ounce of that going into this next month.  I’m happy I was able to play in the woods for a weekend before a big long month of adulting.

If you’re interested in the full set of pictures, you can see them HERE.

Eight is not enough

Today marks the day of eight years since we did the “I do” thing in Vegas with our friends and family.

Let’s not mention that our actual relationship would be a moody, petulant high schooler quickly approaching graduation.

Among all the normal life things like cleaning out bedrooms, launching updates at work, studying for certifications, celebrating holidays, and all that, there were some major highlights in year eight:

We became one with the ocean for 8 days in Key Largo.

We become Ironpeople after many, many months of training.

We spent more water time in Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Roatan.

We bought turtle home and spent the summer camping everywhere.

It consistently surprises me how all the years live up to each other.  I’ll think about the last year  together and think, “ok, this has to be it”.  The pinnacle of awesomeness.  But, instead, it keeps getting better.  Magic!

I mean, we are not perfect people.  Far from it.  I make him drive EVRRRYWHERE because I hate it and make completely over-the-top plans that sound awesome but are actually crazy that he has to talk me down from and I make him handle about 99.9% of the phone calls in our relationship.  He brings me junk food when I’m trying to be good, is like a cranky toddler some mornings, and somehow always beats me in races now and sometimes whines incessantly about putting away laundry.

However, we’re imperfect together and that’s perfect.

If I could give advice to myself at year one, or frankly, anyone embarking on a long term relationship, I would give these tips:

#1 Try each other’s THINGS.  I never thought I’d be into working in video games for a living.  He never thought he’d be into sports.  I resisted Dungeons&Dragons for years.  However, I trust my husband enough that if he enjoys something, it’s gotta be worth giving it a try.  Oddly enough, most times, we end up with a shared interest.  Or not.  He questions my music tastes and I question his movie tastes sometimes.  However, even if it’s one and done, you gain a little understanding about each other.

#2 Be straight.  Not mean, not even brutally honest, but if there’s a thing I want or want to do or am feeling, I tell my husband and vice versa and we do our best to accommodate each other.  Being psychic doesn’t work for us.  Playing the “figure out what’s wrong” game doesn’t work for us, no one has time for that shit.  I am never “just fine”, I’m either awesome or I’m going to tell you what’s bothering me.  If I am grumpy about the office being messy after it not bothering me for 10 years, we figure out what the actual problem is and fix it and life goes on.

#3 Be better about the way you give up control.  This is a simple one.  Eliminate the words “I don’t care” from your vocabulary.  Especially if you do.  But even if you don’t want to make the decisions there are other ways to say it.  “Can you decide today?” is good.  “I am so exhausted and have insane decision fatigue, can you suggest some places that sound good to you?” is better.  “I trust your judgement” or “I leave this decision in your capable hands” is great.  Also, “we’re going to In-N-Out and you’re going to split fries with me because I don’t want a whole order” is pretty good too if that’s what you want (see #2).

#4 Never go on your honeymoon.  My dream eight years ago was a European trip to Italy and Greece.  In my wedding thank you letters for the cash gifts, I let everyone know that’s what I was saving money to do.  I’m sorry I lied.  I have not yet set foot in Europe, but instead, after my interest turned to scuba diving, I’ve visited almost all the islands in the Beach Boys’ song Kokomo (though I have no desire to visit Indiana).  So, when they say “the honeymoon’s over”?  Nope.  Haven’t gone on it yet!

The next year promises to hold some amazing things.  Together, we’ll test our relationship and remodel our kitchen (and then hopefully stop effing with the house for at least a year).  Then, we take off to paradise again for a week underwater before we celebrate the holidays with friends and family.  I’m excited/scared to chase his stupid legs as we both attempt to smash PRs at 3M half marathon in January and then race all sorts of shorter triathlons in the spring.  We have family vacations planned in the spring.  We’re looking at racing outside the country in the fall and spending anniversary #9 underwater again in Cozumel.

It’s all sorts of exciting and it’s amazing that we get to do all this together.  Cheers to 8 years, and to 80 more because triathlon will keep us alive forever, right?

September wrap up, October goals

Noticed the lack of weekly check in posts?

Well, I’ve been crazy busy during the week and out of town a lot of weekends, so I kind of dropped them.  I think I liked that, because while they’re helpful to me, I feel like they’re kind of boring content.  So, I think I may keep that up except in times where I really need the accountability.  However, I need to keep track of things so I’ll be doing that internally and wrapping up each month because… that’s how we roll here.

So, September was an interesting one.  Lots of playing out of town in the woods, but also, chipping away at some goals even if I didn’t quite meet my ambitious standards.  I’m at peace and excited to start a new month with a refreshed map and plan.

September Training

Some of the best training sessions this month were spent in my BSS tri top.  Or Zliten’s when I forgot mine…

After a heck of a lot of bike miles in August to prep for Hotter’n Hell, I definitely needed a little break and more balance.  So, that’s what this month was all about… and also finally being able to race-race (instead of just have a hard workout) at Kerrville Sprint.  I’m finding out that really going all out at a sprint works you just as hard (or harder, in this case) than just riding 100 chill miles.  Intensity, people.  It’s no joke.

  • Swimming: 4 miles or about 6500m.  More than August.  Swimming was just not a priority for me this year after IM Texas, and I did enough not to get completely rusty for sprint tris.
  • Biking: 289 miles.  86 less than last month but I didn’t have a century ride or any training rides over 60 miles, so it makes sense, and is actually pretty impressive in that regard!
  • Running: 17 miles.  Yep, technically up from 12 last month like I wanted.  I would have more, but I gave myself the week off after the race to heal my wonky knee, which seems to be healed (knock on wood).  Game on.
  • Weights/DDR: 4 sessions.  Oops.  Need to fix this.

Total = 27.5 hours.  My first thought was… eek, kind of pathetic, but that’s almost an hour a day.  My brain is warped.

For October, I’m reverting back to August and the bike all the miles training and resume weights training plan.  I’m hoping to run a *little* more than previously, but I’m willing to concede on any swimming now that tri season is over.  It’s good cross training for me but I can let it slide this month.

October is also probably the last entire month without a specific training plan.  November starts the ramp up for 3M and I want to be a little more specific with my training since I have big scary goals there.

October high points:

  • Need to do a 80 mile ride (Oct 7) to prepare for Century #2 (Oct 22) and maintain a pretty good bike volume (like August).
  • Back to 2xweek weights, work in 10-15 mins DDR at least once a week
  • A *little* more running.  I’d like to get back to about 10-15 miles a week by the end of the month to build a lil base for half marathon training.

September Food

This sums up September’s eating.  It’s not as bad as it looks, but it’s definitely not the pinnacle of healthy consumables.

In like a lion, out like a blerch.

Here’s some truth talk: weekends are the best for just about every other reason, but they SUCK to try to stick to a healthy diet.  Especially while camping, or while hosting parties, or when you’re out riding bikes for 12 hours.  Here’s more truthiness: just because your knee is cranky post-race and you’re taking a few days off does not mean your appetite will go down.  In fact, you have more time to get yourself into trouble with interesting food and more opportunities to drink wine.

I asked my husband to remind me when I’m whining in a week or two about how I’m not making any progress it’s because I’m not doing the things that make the progress.  I’m eating to maintain my weight right now.  In fact, last week, I was eating to gain weight, when you take the fact that even DIETICIANS tend to undertrack themselves by about 250 calories per day.

However, the last five days or so have shown progress.  Strange, huh?  My weight just jumped down about 2 lbs on average and it’s being less swingy than normal.  I don’t even know… I will more than take it but sometimes my body is a huge troll.

So, what did I want to do in September?

Actually measure out the drinks I want to have when I’m home and try to stick to them.  I did this *some* of the time.  It’s actually starting to feel like a habit instead of an annoyance.  However, two camping weekends made this rough.  I’m not one to get much of a hangover and I had two killer ones on the two mornings we drove home from camping.

Continue to work on what I put in my mouth on the weekends.  Honestly, this hasn’t been *too too* bad.  I had a run of a few weeks where I had no nut butters or pistachios at home and didn’t break into anything else and ate crap for salty snacks instead.  I was about 7/9 on the weekend days on getting good nutritionally sound food in my mouth and that’s actually pretty awesome.

Abide by the deficit a little more strictly.  Here is where I did amazing week 1, eh week 2 and 3, and have sucked ass through a straw in space the last week of the month.   This really is the key.  I’m going to need to get back to this.

September Numbers:

  • Weight: 187.4 (+0.1)
  • Avg cal per day: 2023 (-59) calories
  • Avg deficit per day: -840 calories Fitbit (+20)/-475 garmin
  • DQ Score: 18.2 (-2.7).
  • Macros for the month
    • Fat = 63g avg
    • Carbs = 197 avg
    • Protein = 110 avg
    • Fiber = 30 avg

I’m kind of amazed that my deficit got better, but also, I’m going to guess that I had significantly less accurate tracking data because I was often tracking the weekends days later.  *shrug*.  I think I may move over to tracking calories on the Garmin since the fitbit seems to be overestimating what I burn because I regularly maintain a 1-2 lb per week deficit and as you can see, I’m losing about 1-2 lbs every 3 months. 😛

What’s on tap for October?

Goal #1 – Increase tracking accuracy.  Like I said, lots of these weekends I was tracking Friday night through Monday morning on Monday evening (or worse).  My goal this month is to track at least 2-3 times per day, even on weekends.  If I can’t make myself open the calorie tracking app for some reason, I will text my husband with what I ate so I can remember to log it later.  Oddly enough, when I have to log things, I consider them more carefully.  Funny that.

Goal #2 – Sticking to deficits more carefully.  Let’s try this again.  This goes hand in hand with above – I need to know how much I can eat per day.  My goal used to be 1200-1500 calories per day depending on activity to lose weight with a few days closer to 2000.  Looking at my Garmin calorie burn, that’s not too far off.  1200 on completely off days.  1500 on easy 1-hour or less days.  Reference my burn for anything else beyond that.  Looks like longer bike rides earn me about 2-5k (25-100 miles).  We’ll see how the longer runs affect me on the garmin.

Goal #3 – Portion control with the sauce.  This is starting to become a habit but worth mentioning again.  Set aside what I intend to consume for the evening.  Consume that.  Be done.

Hopefully I can make the numbers all go back the right way next month.  Let’s be honest, I didn’t try very hard in September.  My overall goal is to actually TRY HARD in October.  I think if I actually mind the numbers I might do well and be able to stop talking about the same bullshit I have for the last seven years.  Dieting is the worst.  THE WORST.  I just want the pain over with so I can get to race weight and eat lots of healthy food and a little junk and maintain and be happy.

September Life Stuff

This is a bridge to the next section. (Ha!)

September was super fun and decently productive, though after the pinnacle of producitivty which was August I had some lofty goals.  Here’s what I wanted to do and if I did it, started it, or just ignored it:

  • TWO camping trips.  Yesss!  I do feel incredibly happy and relaxed even with work craziness because we played in turtle home a lot.
  • Office.  Actually using it.  NOPE!  Funny thing, when you are out of town 3 out of 5 weekends… you don’t exactly have time to do that kind of thing.  I got no website/business progress.  I started ONE chapter and haven’t been motivated to finish it.
  • Dr. Appointment to drain my ears.  DONE!  That was a big ball of wax, literally.
  • Two more Non-Fiction books.  Brave Triathlete DONE (and I actually want to re-read it… I feel like it needs another go to fully absorb it), and Carl Sagan’s Demon Haunted World has been started.  Luckily, I think this is one I’ll be able to read and fall asleep to, so it should go quick.
  • Wills.  In progress.  We’ve looked into it but have not finalized.  This will have to carry over.
  • Remodel.  We bought and paid for all the major stuff!  At this point, we need to pick out paint, a backsplash, and probably buy a few more things as they come up but we don’t have *too* much to think about until it’s time to pack up the kitchen!
  • Actually learned how to be a designer again.  One reason I’ve been so busy and my brain has been unable to fathom doing creative work is I’ve been doing some at work to help out!  Thanks to my awesome husband who has answered the majority of my stupid questions this month about the idiosyncrasies of this particular editor.

October should be a little more mellow.  We are in town all month except for one night away for a wedding on the 28th.  We have plans every weekend but most of those plans are with ourselves (anniversary and annual Kona Trainer Party).  As the weather turns a little cooler we’ll be less obsessed about funinthesunnnn and maybe the office will look a little more appealing.

  • Writing: I have written a lot, and now I’m realizing I was having a lot of trouble getting motivated because I needed structure.  So, the first thing I did on Oct 1 was write a working outline.  I organized the chapters that had full rough drafts into a document (and it’s 112 pages, so that’s something!) I also wrote the prologue and started the epilogue.  I feel MUCH more motivated and directed now.  Things I want to do this month:
    • Take my old outline and make sure that it’s all absorbed in the new one.
    • Write at least two chapters.  I was going to say Chapter 1 and Chapter 15 (the last) previous to this outline, but now that I’ve restructured, the last ones are going to be the most fresh and probably flow the quickest and I might as well continue to pick low hanging fruit.
    • Bonus: finish the one I started last month and got stuck on.  However, I’d rather wait to unstick myself until later if another part of the book is flowing.
  • Reading: Finish A Demon Haunted World.  Read The 4 Hour Work Week and pick one triathlete memoir, since that’s kind of what I’m trying to write.  I added a BUNCH of them to my wish list on Amazon so I’ll be ready to grab one when I’ve finished the other two.
  • Wills:  Actually do this!
  • Business plan/website: I kind of want to leave this open for what I have time/inspiration to think about, but by the end of the month I’d like to have a working document that’s at least in progress.  Even if it’s a google doc with a few lines in it, it will be a start!
  • Clean off all the bedroom surfaces.  It’s starting to annoy both of us and should take an hour, maybe two maximum.  We’re going to need a sanctuary once we start remodeling next month!

Wanderlust on the cheap – 10 ways to vacation on a budget

Ah, it’s about to be vacation season.  I’ve got four camping trips planned from now until December, and I’m waffling back and forth on what I want to do for my actual VACATION vacation (requirement: must include scuba diving, snorkeling, and awesome photo opportunities).  This year, I’ve already been on a cruise to the Carribean with my folks, spent a week in the woods, plus a five day trip to do IM Texas in April.  I have the wanderlust and I have it bad.

The company isn’t quite so colorful at home.

I drop probably more than my share of income on it, but I also buy all my clothes from a thrift store and hang onto things until they are so worn out they’re not useful.  It’s one of my priorities.  I don’t remember most of the crap I’ve bought in the last 10 years, but I have vivid memories of my vacations.  I can be underwater with pretty fishies in blue water, which is not something I can do at home.  I can completely relax and let go, which is hard to do at home with one more chore or to do and the internet and the television all handily accessible.

I’ve made the mistake of thinking everyone is like me, but I know differently now.  I know some people who go five or even ten years without taking a vacation.  I’ve heard tell of people, ADULT people, who have never left their hometown.  I’ve also known a lot of people who only vacation to visit family or friends.  While that’s a wonderful thing, I love family and friends, and for those of you that aren’t (or have a spouse that’s) allergic to anything with fur, it can be a much cheaper option to get out of town for a bit.

However, you can miss out on some of the things that make a vacation a vacation.  You can’t completely let go and unwind when you’re staying in someone else’s guest room that’s going about their daily lives.  Also, unless your family is in Hawaii or Iceland, or somewhere else that you’d actually WANT to vacation, it’s really a visit.  Which is cool.  But it’s not a vacation.

What, your first idea for an excursion in Alaska in September ISN’T snorkeling?

How many new experiences would I have missed out on?  If I didn’t travel, I would have never been motivated to learn to scuba dive, which is now at least my third favorite hobby and one of the motivating factors on where I choose to roam.  I would have never climbed to see one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen, Hanging Lake, or ran up a mountain in Juneau.  I wouldn’t have scaled the Colorado National Monument or up the Klondike Highway in Skagway (ok, partway…) on bikes.  I wouldn’t have snorkeled in Hawaii, Alaska, or any damn where you put an ocean or even a mildly pretty lake.

I love food and drink.  If I didn’t travel, I would have never had a REAL Belizian meat pie.  I would not have a sick obsession with Publix subs.  I would have never eaten Nepalese food in a little town in Colorado.  I would have never known the joy that is bean, bacon, and cheese breakfast tacos cooked over an open camp fire in the morning.  I wouldn’t have sat in a swim up bar in Jamaica drinking boozy banana drinks. I would have never had an (in)famous hand grenade in New Orleans and I would never have tried the fast food restaurant Krystal after having a few too many of them.

This is the stuff of dreams right here.

“Hey,” you say, “I get it, I want to travel!  But money’s tight, y’know?”

I got you.  If there’s a will, there’s a way.  Here’s ten tips to make travel more affordable/better so you can get the heck out of town and still have enough money to enjoy yourself.

1. Plan your trip when the air fare is cheaper. I am notorious for taking my vacations in early December because travel prices are at rock bottom.  We usually cruise in early March before spring break or on mother’s day weekend because it’s affordable.  Generally, if there’s a big holiday/event coming up, 2-3 weeks BEFORE and AFTER is the best time to travel.  Are the kids in school? Probably cheaper than spring/summer/winter break.  For those of you that have kids: I know my parents busted me out of school for vacations.  You’ll travel cheaper AND you’ll be your kid’s hero.

2. If you have set dates, consider being flexible with your destination.  For example, I knew I wanted to take a vacation for a specific week in December out of Florida.  Instead of doing a Key Largo trip (over 1000$ just for the condo), we took a cruise instead (less than 1000$ for both lodging and food and entertainment).

Condos are awesome because you have extra space and you can also make homemade meals from local food that look like this…

3. Consider staying at a condo/house rental vs a hotel.  Typically for the same prices as just a single room or maybe a little bit more, you can get a full kitchen, living room, patio, seperate bedroom (or two), a washing machine, and sometimes other cool amenities like a grill, a bike to ride, or even toys/games/dvds.  Besides being awesome for comfortability reasons, the grill/kitchen means you can cut down on food expenses.  While I love experiencing the food a location has to offer, I’d rather just have an easy breakfast and sometimes lunches I make at home.  And there’s nothing better than grilling some fish on the patio of your condo (that you biked a mile up the road to purchase from a fish market on the water)!  Some of my most memorable Key Largo meals were cooked that way.

4. Some things pay to book in advance, some are left best to the last minute.  For example, if you want to do a cruise excursion with the ship, book it ahead of time and it will cost less.  But, for the cheapest option, show up on the docks with cash and haggle.  It works the same way for vacations – usually planning ahead will save you money, but if you can be impulsive and flexible, you can get some super great last minute deals (for example, a 10 day South American cruise for 299$ per person is happening right now 😛 – and yes, that is room AND food for 10 days…).

8 days in Bonaire, because we were flexible about the time of year and the days we traveled, ended up being less expensive than two long weekend getaways somewhere in the states.

5. Taking your vacation in larger chunks will save you money.  If you take one two week vacation, vs four long weekends, you’re saving 3 round trip flights (or you can go somewhere four times as cool!).  Booking a condo for a month is sometimes just a little more expensive than a week.  If you have the flexibility, go long!

6. A lot of times, the direct flight option, if there is one, is the cheapest (plus you get there quicker, so its a win win).  Always search for the direct flights and then compare it to the cheapest (and see if it’s not worth spending a few extra dollars to take it to actually be on vacation a little longer).

And being here longer is typically better.

7. Consider the RELATIVE cost.  A cheaper flight leaving a day before means another night at a hotel.  A more expensive hotel room in the city may mean you can use public transport and save on a rental car.  A more expensive hotel room with a free breakfast means less meals out.

8.  A great way to “sample” a new area is to combine 2-4 seperate destinations that are nearby.  Cruises are great because you spend about 8 hours in each port.  Some, you don’t care to return to (Grenada).  Some, you fall in love with and spend a week there (Bonaire).  You can do this on land by hitting up a few different towns in the same region.  For example, we did a weekend in Portland, took a bus and spent a few days on the Oregon Coast, and a quick cheap plane flight took us to the Bay Area before we headed home. It would have been WAY more expensive to do these as three separate trips.

I got to wear a jacket in July and kiss crabs.  The Oregon Coast was surreal!

9.  Leave and come back on Saturday if that’s an option.  It’s usually one of the cheaper days to fly, PLUS you get a full day off to decompress and unpack (if you work a typical schedule).  Tuesday and Wednesday are generally the absolute cheapest but that means you have to split up a week off which can feel like you get less time off.

10. Super broke but still want to get away?  Go camping!  A weekend pass to a campsite is about 30 bucks (for improved camping with power and water).  Even if you have zero gear, you can rent a tent from REI for 40 bucks (or buy a super cheap one but I DO NOT RECOMMEND that – rent or buy a good one, but I covered that here), an air matress is 20 bucks, stuff to light a fire is 10 bucks, and from there, all you need is hot dogs, makings for smores, and a case of cheap beer and you’re set!

Not a bad view from your patio for 20$ a night, hmmm?

It’s easy to talk yourself out of taking a vacation.  The actual TRAVEL part of traveling is a hassle.  Then there’s packing, getting everything everything at home and work taken care of while you’re away… and it costs money, no matter HOW great of a deal you get.  I promise, it’s worth it.  Go forth and vacation (cheaply)!

10 Camping Tips for People Who Are Not AT ALL Rugged

As I’ve said before, I grew up in a family who’s idea of roughing it was a hotel without an indoor pool.

Nature and I have only really recently became BFFs.  I always liked the IDEA of being outdoorsy, but not the reality.  While I’ll never lose my enjoyment of posh penthouse hotel rooms overlooking a sprawling downtown city center, I have also come to love being in the middle of nowhere as well.  Here are my tips for those of you who relate to the meme above but also secretly want to become a badass woodsy nature princess.

1. GET A GOOD TENT.  Even if you ignore everything else I say, DON’T CHEAP OUT.  Every time we are able to set up our 200$ REI tent in less than 5 minutes and watch other people struggle for over an hour, I thank my husband for not listening to me when I said “dude, why don’t you get that 40$ one that’s the same size?”.  If you don’t want to commit, you can rent a nice one from REI.  If you still don’t want to commit, borrow a crappy one from someone for your next trip and I guarantee you’ll be sold.

One of the telling things about how outdoorsy I am is that my best tent picture is actually from my backyard…

2. Double thick air mattresses.  People make fun of mine, and I’m certainly not at the rugged “backpack only hike in hike out” level, but it beats the hell out of sleeping on the ground.  PRO TIP: get something like this so that you’re not screwed if you end up somewhere without power.

3. Bring so many layers if it’s cold.  My first time in the winter, I just couldn’t get warm and I think I had on every article of clothing I brought simultaneously.  Conversely, in the summer, you’ll need WAYYY less than you think.  Bring a couple swim suits, a few super comfy things to wear, PJs, and you’re pretty much set for a week.

#hammocklife forever

4. Hammock.  I get tired of sitting in camping chairs after a while and it’s nice to have somewhere to recline.  I just bought a new one that has mosquito netting and while I can’t vouch for that specific one yet, that’s probably where you’ll find me on every camping trip for every moment until forever.

5. TP.  Even for improved camping with bathrooms.  Sometimes you don’t want to walk that far and the woods are closer.  Sometimes they’re out.  Sometimes you need something absorbent for a non-bodily waste related reason.  There’s no reason not to have a spare roll of TP in your car.

You see flowers, I see a nice field to pee in when that sun goes down… as long as I have my TP…

6. Improved camping.  Spend the extra money, it’s worth it.  Access to showers (even if they’re gross) and being able to plug stuff into charge if needed is great and not usually much more expensive – though they usually fill up quicker. PRO TIP: if you do find yourself on the primitive side of things and there are improved sites in the area, asking one of the campers there all nice like will usually net you use of their power to charge your phone, or the combination to the showers. 

7. Here’s the order to unload the car:  Tent, pump up and place mattress in tent, make the bed, THEN everything else.  It doesn’t work the other way if you have a tiny one. 🙂

8. The no-PTO-mini-vacay: go out Friday night (with enough time to set up before dark) and come back Sunday morning.  This is better than the “go to the woods for one night to get drunk and eat hot dogs” trip, you get a full day and night in nature.  You don’t get the three day effect, but this way you don’t have to take time off work and you also get almost a full Sunday at home to relax and unpack.

No matter how long you get to have this as your view, it’s soul-refreshing.  But I do recommend 3 days.

9.  The three day camping effect.  However, if you can swing it, something magical happens on that third day.  You feel lighter, unburdened, and probably more relaxed than you have in years.  You’ve forgotten your to do list, schedules, and the importance of the time of day, and day of the week.  You morph from worrywart and sufferer of decision fatigue to your cooler, more relaxed camper persona, who’s most pressing concern is whether to walk down to the water or continue to sway in the hammock.  It’s a chance to spend multiple days in mono-task mode which is a HUGE luxury for a lot of us and one of the most creatively refreshing things you can do.

10. Just do it.  You’re going to whine about all the gear.  It’s going to be too hot, too cold, too windy, or it might rain.  It’s going to seem like a lot of work and you may as well just stay home because you could get soooo much done.  But… go camping.  At least sometimes.  It’s good for your soul.  Your inner woodland nymph crying to get out will thank you.

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