Alberta is in full summer mode, with camping and outdoor life at the centre of it for many.
Be it tent, trailer or some other extreme on either end of the camping spectrum, memories are being made and life’s being enjoyed.
Some of the earliest photo memories of my life were taken on the many camping trips my parents embarked upon when my father was stationed in Germany with the RCAF. They had bought a tent-trailer while overseas and my infant life was filled with adventures of camping in and across Europe.
I was two years old when we returned to Canada, and thanks to the RCAF, our tent trailer came home with us. Camping life continued for us as we crossed the country from east to west with military postings. I have so many memories of so many places, and I can still smell the oiled canvas of our orange and blue folding home away.
In my early teen years, I was fortunate to be part of a scouting troop at the military base we lived at in northern Alberta. We camped almost every weekend, winter and summer, this time in makeshift survival shelters we were taught to prepare by our military trained leaders.
I loved the experience of camping, though it has faded away from my present life, my wife and I went tenting a few times early in our marriage, but once we had kids and moved abroad, camping was just not something we considered. A lot of my regular travels across South Asia, like the $10 per night hotels in rural Nepal, look and feel a lot like a camping experience, but I wonder if I’ll ever engage in that lifestyle again.
I often think I’d like to give my kids the camping lifestyle experience, because it was my experience and it was fun, engaging, and positive. But that might mean they’ll miss out on some of the experiences they get now that I never did. My kids are exposed to many activities – sports and life-building – they are growing and developing in wonderful ways without camping, and I probably shouldn’t worry about giving them my experience when they each have an experience of their own.
Life has many seasons, and who knows if camping will return to me at some future date, but for now, I need to embrace the full set of experiences that my family and I do have. This may mean letting go of what I can’t do. Fulfilment in anything requires some clear dedication to it, and I’m not going to put my dedication onto the ‘wanting’ of the experiences I don’t have, instead, I will dwell on the amazing things we already have going on. In the end, my kids will be filled with fond memories too, just like me.