Updated: Jan 9
My friend, Natalie, reaches out randomly, “Jam, I just realized that from now on our yearly Friendsgiving camping trips will revolve around where ever you guys are living at that moment!” Her text message comes in as I am questioning if we should really sell it all and move into our Airstream for the millionth time that morning. I immediately smile big.
For the past 3 years, we have gone camping with our closest friends in November. It makes me so happy when we all come together with our kids and enjoy nature and each other's company. The holidays can be stressful but our yearly Friendsgiving camping trip gives us a break from all of the noise. We explore our surroundings all day, sit by the campfire every evening and usually have a big potluck dinner together one of the nights. The kids really look forward to it and so do I.
On our first trip, Jaya was only 5 months old. We went to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, FL. Most people thought we were crazy for taking a baby camping but luckily we didn't listen. Jaya has been camping 5 times since he was born and asks us monthly when we are going camping again. If you ask him if he would rather live in a house or in a camper, he will always say, “camper!” Which makes the decision for us to sell everything and move into our Airstream just a little bit easier.
Our second camping trip took place at Jonathan Dickinson State Park, where it rained nearly the entire weekend! We all huddled close together, underneath shade tents, and tried our best to avoid the cold rain water that poured through gaps between the tents. The down pour and wind gusts were enough to convince one of our tribe members to pack her stuff up and head to the nearest hotel with her two kids, only to come back hours later when the rain had let up because she was experiencing FOMO (fear of missing out). We can laugh about it now but it wasn't funny at the moment. Confession: I'm giggling as I write this. Sorry, Els!
Last year brought us back to Jonathan Dickinson State Park. If you've never been, we highly recommend it! We already have dates reserved to witness their yearly fire festival in October! Fire fest is an event welcoming the community and visitors to learn about prescribed fire and Florida’s unique wildlife, plants, recreation, and rich natural history. Free family activities include burn demonstrations, live music, craft beer, exhibitors and arts and crafts, fire trucks and helicopters, live animal demonstrations, scavenger hunts and marshmallow roasting! We CANNOT wait! Since Jaya was older this time around, we got to enjoy more of the park this year and even learned a thing or two about snakes from Ranger Randy! A short car ride allowed us to discover the beauty of Blowing Rocks Perserve. A must see if you're in the area! What a great trip!
I messaged Natalie back that morning and promised her to always find amazing places to be in during the month of November and then I allow myself to daydream of what those new camping trips might look like. My heart swells with happiness and gratitude. Pieces of me delight in not knowing what lies ahead and not always having everything planned out. Most of my most precious memories in life have have come from unexpected moments and in just going with the flow.
Those spontaneous little adventures always leading me to magical moments and to people who speak the poetry of the Universe.
As a mother, I feel as if this is one of the greatest gifts I can ever give my son. The very thought of it excites me like nothing else! I have been trusted with guiding him on his personal journey to develop a sense of adventure, a love for nature, to listen to the language of the Universe, to show him how lovely it is to connect with other people, to feel comfortable with the unknown and to always trust that inner voice that whispers to the heart what only the soul knows...
Trust and go in the direction of your dreams. You will always be taken care of!
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