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Then: Camping & Big Sky

Now: Camping & WiFi

I used to love to go camping.  In college I went with my best friend.  We'd pitch a tent, get out that bottle of Boonesfarm Apple Wine, eat something out of can, and talk and talk and talk.  We would watch the stars sprinkle the sky like drops of powdered sugar and make wishes for our future.  

Later, after I was married, my husband and I took our kids camping, often to Bluegrass Festivals. We'd pitch our tents, set up our Coleman stoves and settle into our "home away from home" for the next few days.  At night, we'd get out our bottle of vodka, play music and talk and talk and talk.  We would point out the Big and Little Dipper to our kids and make wishes for our future.

The best part about camping was being away.  Away from work.  Away from the TV.  Away from the phones.  On one of my camping trips, I was actually laid off from work.  No one had any way of contacting me, so I had a wonderful four days

Just last month, my sister went camping with her husband.  Not only camping, they went hunting.  So you would assume they were in the middle of nowhere.  Or at least in some wilderness where the deer and the antelope roam.  And when I last checked, wildlife (other than those that hang out in bars) do not communicate by cell phones.

So imagine my surprise when my sister called from high on her mountaintop, letting me know that she had arrived safely.  The next day, she sent me an email describing the vibrant sunset and how magnificent it was to get away.  After writing me, they were going to have dinner and then settle into their tents to watch a DVD.    

Where are you? I asked.  You have cell service in the middle of nowhere?  Yes, she said.  Can you believe it?

No, I couldn't.  It seems that camping today has taken on a whole new twist.   Why, if I had had a cell phone way back when, I might have been contacted about my job status while on vacation.  That certainly would have changed my mindset.  The hobo stew we were eating might not have seemed like a treat, but as something I might have to add to my weekly dinner menus.  

This got me to thinking.  What about the kids today?  Will they ever go away somewhere without their laptops and iPhones?  Where they may have to play cards at night for entertainment.  Or just sit and watch the sky.  Make up stories about the constellations.  

There has to be someplace, somewhere that is still considered the middle of nowhere.  Going into outer space won't help, because out there we are even closer to the satellite dishes that keep Cyberspace alive.  

I know that being disconnected from all things technological can be a real culture shock.  And it can bring on withdrawal systems.  Fingers moving uncontrollably over imaginary keyboards.  Ringtones swirling around our heads.  Sweating over what we're missing, thinking it just can't wait.   But it can.  And every now and then our bodies need that shock.  

Just as our electrical devices need to be charged in order to operate properly – we need to get away and recharge.  Renergize our mind, our body, and our soul.    

Think about it.  When was the last time you recharged?



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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lindao wrote Nov 22, 2008
    • I usually identify with your posts, Janie, but I've never been much of a camper.  On the other hand, I definitely do identify with the idea of being constantly in touch with the world with our electronic devices.  And I do mean the world ! I just saw my younger son off on a trip to Japan this morning, and one of the last things I told him was to be sure to send me e-mails and text messages!
      --LindaO



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tinaf wrote Nov 22, 2008
    • Great question there about recharging, Janie. When I visit my elderly aunt out-of-state, I go without the usual compliment of electronic communication or cable programming.  I find that my brain starts humming for what it considers “normal” and I get antsy to get back “the real world.”  That’s my form of camping!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Justjer wrote Nov 22, 2008
    • This blog REALLY spoke to me, Janie.  I, too, used to go camping, sometimes just for  a night or two or three, and sometimes as part of a road trip that included all sorts of accomodations; camping was always on our itinerary and always some of our very best times. I have not been in a very long time, but believe that if I were to go again, I would have very little trouble giving up my cellphone, laptop, etc.   Easy to say, since I have no plans of going any time soon. But the memories are very very fond.
      Jusjer



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Nov 22, 2008
    • Linda - I haven’t been camping in years and I guess if I went today, I’d need something softer than a sleeping bag to sleep on, but I love the outdoors.

      Tina - I know that hum.  That’s why it’s so nice when I get away for a day or two.  After that, I do have withdrawals.

      Justjer - We should go camping sometime.  

      Annie - I think we need to disconnect every now and then, even if we don’t go camping.  Just sitting on the beach without a cellphone can be a great, recharging experience.

      Thanks for all your comments.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Sylvia wrote Nov 22, 2008
    • What a fantastic story!!  We did a lot of camping when we
      were younger. Nothing is more wonderful than looking up at
      the sky and seeing all the stars when it is pitch black
      around you. There is so much beauty in nature—the ocean,
      the mountains, the praires. Just to be quiet and listen and
      not to be disturbed by the phone or T.V. I wish everyone
      could experience this. Time to think and time to reflect.
      Maybe we have too many new gadgets.
      Sylvia



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Arliep wrote Nov 23, 2008
    • Janie
      I connected with the whole story about camping.  It is great to re-charge.  Get away from everything and just listen to the sounds,breath the air and if you are lucky reconnect with your spouse as well as yourself.

      You are a great writer.

      arliep



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Yana Berlin wrote Nov 23, 2008
    • Another great post Jenie.

      I only camp in Holiday Inn, sorry, not a camping type. I do however agree that if you go camping leave your gadgets at home.

      That would be the right thing to do, but who would now days?  

      My computer crushed, it took the techies 24 hours to get my data back, I went on line using another computer 3 times that day, but without access to my emails I felt like something was very wrong. This I admit is a sickness, soon there will be a name for it; it will be just as prevalent as ADD, and doctors will be prescribing medication.

      And you know what’s the sad thing is? I might just be right about this.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Nov 23, 2008
    • Yana,

       I think you are right.  Because as much as I need time away from my computer, I feel sort of lost without it.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Chattycathie wrote Nov 28, 2008
    • Janie,

      I didn’t camp when I was little.  My mom was handicapped and my dad was not the camping type.  But I do remember when I was 13 my sister and I went with a group of friends as a babysitters to big bear.  I sat with the kids while the parents where skiing.  The cabin had no phone, no TV, the only electric device it had was a radio-record player.  So I had to find other activities to do with the kids.  We played board games, went out and had snowball fights and came in and did crafts.  I was lost when I got up there without TV, but by the end of the trip I thought it was the best time I ever had.  I think we need time away from the electronics—take a break, even if its for a walk.  These days even when I go out for a walk to the beach I see people talking on the cell phones or listening to their Ipods.  I do this a times too.  But sometimes its just nice to walk and listen to the ocean and contemplate life.  I find this is a great way to get my creative juices flowing as well.
      Cathie



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Nov 28, 2008
    • Hi Cathie,

       Thanks for your comment. I know it’s hard to separate ourselves for too long from all our daily communications, but when we do, it can be good a time.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Michelle Rowe wrote Nov 28, 2008
    • My family camped when I was young. We had a Jayco then a Prowler trailer. I loved it. We would play cards and put pennies on railroad tracks. Those were the days! No connection to the outside world!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Nov 28, 2008
    • Vigirl - I can relate.  I’d love to go camping again, but my husband would now prefer to stay in a nice hotel!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Leeann wrote Nov 28, 2008
    • wow, I use to put pennies on railroad tracks. Those really were the days Vigirl.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Michelle Rowe wrote Nov 28, 2008
    • My husband loves to camp and yet we have never camped together. Someday!!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Sandyde wrote Dec 7, 2008
    • The way we‘re all so “connected” these days...it sure makes it hard to say...I didn’t get that phone call.  But at least now I have the excuse...I didn’t get that phone call because my battery’s dead. LOL.

      As always, another great blog.

      Sandy



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