My First Time Camping Overnight Was My Last

Many years ago, I was finally about to experience my first camping trip. I had always wanted to see what camping was all about. There are always fun stories being shared and so much to do, it was something that I wanted to try.

There was a group of us at work that were talking about taking a weekend trip to the mountains a couple of hours away. A few of them had been to this particular campground before, so they knew the ins and outs, which made me even more comfortable. We were all so excited and ready for an adventure in the mountains!

I Double-Checked

I am a very anxious person. I have been told time and time again that I hide it well because people are shocked to hear me say that I am always anxious. I feel like I am all over the place, but from outward appearance, I guess that is not the case.

Anyway, given me and my anxiety, I double, triple, and quadruple-checked where we would be staying the night on our camping trip. I was told by one of the gentlemen going on the trip that we had all chipped in to get a cabin.

I was relieved to hear the word cabin because you would never find me sleeping outdoors in just a tent, I would be terrified! We all made food and packed paper plates, napkins, and plastic utensils. We made sure to bring enough snacks, water bottles, and some delicious desserts.

The Day Had Come

The plan was for me to pick up one of my friends that I worked with, and we were going to drive down to the campground together. The other people in the group were all going to meet up and drive together and we would all meet there.

Excitement was all that you could see on my face as I drove to pick up my friend and head to the campground for my first camping experience. We had a blast together listening to music and talking. About two hours later, we made it to the camp!

Our Friend Gave Us a Tour

We unloaded most of our belongings. The view was breathtaking, we were deep into the woods, surrounded by large hills, a lake, and a little Visitor’s Center. Our friend, who we will call Dave, was the guy that knew this place like the back of his hand, so we let him tour us around.

Our first stop was the outhouse, I had never used one before, but that was about to change. It had a burning candle, smelled horrendous, and a small roll of toilet paper lay on top of the wooden board.

Next up was the cabin. As we approached the cabin, my jaw dropped in shock, and then the fear set in. Yes, this was a cabin, but it was not the type of cabin that I had in mind.

This cabin was completely open on both sides! The front and back had a wooden frame that you could walk through, there was no door. The windows had no glass. Technically, in my eyes, this was worse than a tent, because at least with a tent there is coverage all around. This was completely open!

Panic Set In

One of my worst fears is being outside in the dark, it never used to bother me, but it creeps me out to no end now that I am older. Maybe I have watched too much TV, but all that I can think about is wild animals attacking me, or even humans with bad intentions approaching me. There goes my anxiety again.

I tried to get myself together and I was determined to make the most out of my trip. I asked my friend if he would take us to explore the fun adventures that this campground had to offer, and I thought that maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as I pictured it in my mind. I can do this, I thought to myself.

We Got Our Feet Wet

There was so much to explore here! We went hiking up the large dirt hills and we found fossils. We couldn’t believe the shell prints that we found in some of the rocks. There was a lake nearby, we went out on the water in Dave’s boat. He did some fishing and we all just sat and enjoyed the sun, fresh air, and the beauty that surrounded us.

We got into some camping activities and Dave taught me how to use a slingshot, I had never used one before. It was just for fun, and I was aiming it at the lake, but I’ll never forget that. Also, one of the other people with us was showing us how to melt glass in the campfire. It would come out in the oddest shapes and reminded me of dried maple syrup.

After all of the fun, we were hungry and thirsty. We decided to unwind for the night with some good food. We sat around talking and laughing, sharing stories as we made s’mores by the campfire.

I had finished my dinner and I saw a bag full of plastic water bottles and I put my paper plate in that bag. I then heard one of my friends yell “stop!” I had never camped before, and I was completely unaware that even plates with no food left on them will attract bears, not to mention other animals because of their incredible sense of smell. Anything with a trace of food on it needed to be burned in the fire. I was mortified to hear that bears were even this close to us, I guess I shouldn’t have been, considering this was a mountain.

I Was Being Tested

My first trip to the outhouse was a memorable one. The smell was so foul, and I shared my little space there with flies and even a few spiders.

 We had spent so much time enjoying the campground that I hadn’t even checked my phone, but nightfall was approaching. I went to get my phone out of the car and to my surprise, there was no service. We were so far into the mountains that our phones didn’t work. I started to worry, there was no way that we could reach out or have anyone reach us.

My heart was racing at the fact that we were all about to spend the night in a wide-open “cabin” and the thought of not having any service just made me feel incredibly uncomfortable. What if we needed help?

Nightfall

Night had come and it was time to lay down in our “beds” made of blankets. The campground was very dark, some lampposts were overlooking the lake which gave us some light and we had some very dim lighting around the cabin area itself, but the majority of the area was like looking out into a sea of darkness.

All that I could imagine was an animal coming down from the woods or out of the lake and stepping foot inside our cabin. After all, there was nothing there to stop them. We were fresh meat. The first part of the night was quiet. That was about to change.

I Will Never Forget the Noises

Sleeping on a campground, at least this one, was incredibly noisy. I was scared out of my mind and my heart was racing the entire night. I didn’t sleep a wink between hearing the bullfrogs in the lake, and the footsteps of animals that I couldn’t even see. I could hear some sort of animal trying to get into the trash can. I just kept praying for our safety. I kept hearing an animal make a grunting noise and I could hear heavy breathing.

The sounds still play in my head today, I was completely mortified. I felt so vulnerable, and I was truly afraid for my life. It is somewhat funny now looking back on it, but it sure was not funny at that moment.

This Trip Taught Me Something

I have gone on many camping trips during the day since this one, however, after that night I vowed to never spend the night again on a campground. Half the fun is missing when you don’t spend the night, but the fear that I felt that night will prevent me from ever doing it again.

I did learn a lot from this trip. I was forced to face my fears that night. Yes, I was completely uncomfortable, and as difficult as that was for me when the sun had risen the next morning, I felt like I had won. I faced a massive fear of mine.

I was upset at Dave for not being completely honest with me about the layout of the cabin, but I know that if he was, I would have never gone. All of the fun memories that we made during that trip wouldn’t have happened. I will cherish those memories for the rest of my life. Besides the experience at night, this camping trip was one of the most amazing experiences that I have ever had with an amazing group of people.

I Miss You, Dave

Sadly, Dave passed away a few years ago. My heart still breaks, I have so many memories of him and his passion for life. I will never forget the night that he pushed me to face my fears, the night that he showed me what I can learn about myself and life if I just live a little and not let my anxiety get the best of me. I will never forget the night that Dave believed in me when I didn’t even believe in myself. I miss you, Dave. Thank you for all that you taught me.

Who Was That in My Dream?

Dreams have always fascinated me; I have even gone as far as trying to decode my dreams. Amazingly, we can go to sleep and be fully unaware of our surroundings. We then sometimes hit a dreamlike state that ends up feeling like we are awake and going through the motions, yet we are not.

Some people that I know cannot recall any dreams that they have. I think that is very interesting considering I dream very often and most of my dreams I can recall when I wake up. Some dreams seem obvious, we dream about things that we have heard throughout our day or things that are on our minds. Some dreams are completely out of nowhere. There’s one thing about certain dreams that has me thinking.

When we have dreams that have other people in them, their personalities and features are so detailed. We can feel their emotions and it feels like we are right there with them as we dream. Their facial features are very vivid just as if we were talking face to face in our waking life. My biggest question about this is who are these people in our dreams?

How can our minds create an entire human being with vivid features and a personality to boot? Who are these individuals that occupy our minds at night? It amazes me that we can think up an entire person in our dreams. Are these people from our pasts when we were younger? Maybe they are people that we have seen out in public somewhere without being fully conscious of it. Are these newly created beings just figments of our imagination?

As you can see, I am a very deep thinker who is always curious about the world that surrounds me. I thrive on learning, and I love when I learn something new, or when I can research something to learn more. What are your thoughts on these mystery humans? I would love to hear them!

Why I Delete My Text Messages Every Night

I am a creature of habit, as many of us are. I have a routine during the day and night although I do enjoy some spontaneity in the mix sometimes too, it’s a nice break from the monotony!

I love to text, I would much rather text than talk on the phone. I find talking on the phone exhausting, I would much rather talk in person. I could text all day though, I enjoy it. I just love my cell phone in general. There is a routine that I have every night that you might find a bit odd, but the reason behind it is what keeps me sane.

Every single night I delete all of my text messages after I make sure that I have already responded to them. I am the type of person that will analyze things to no end, I love to look at the meaning behind things and I use to go back and reread conversations especially if there was a disagreement, or if friends went quiet suddenly. I would go back to reread what conversations we had to see if it was anything that I said.

Clearly, this is very detrimental behavior to one’s mental health and for that reason, I delete my text messages every night. This way, when I wake up in the morning, I start my day with a blank slate. I don’t spend time analyzing anything, I keep moving forward with no turning back!

Do you have any sort of routines like this that you have found to better your well-being? Please share if you would like!

In the Night

Outside gets darker, the world gets quieter, and I seem to take on a different form. I’ve never been just a morning person, or just a night owl, I have always been a mix of both. I love mornings because I wake up feeling refreshed, motivated, energized, and hopeful of the day ahead. I love nights for the peace, relaxation, slower pace, and reflection that it brings.

There is something about the still of the night that shifts me mentally. I have always been a deep thinker and reflective person, the night is the perfect time for pondering and reflecting on life. At night, we become tired, our minds and bodies slow down in preparation for sleep and a new beginning ahead the next day. After all of the hustle and bustle during the day, the night allows us to sit with our thoughts, reflect, and just be.

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I know not everyone is like this, but I find great joy in sitting in silence with my thoughts and reflections. If I do not allow myself enough time to process my day, or how I am feeling, it creates great anxiety for me. Sitting in silence can no doubt be scary and uncomfortable, but I feel it is a necessary part of processing life. I can and often do get lost in my head, I have heard so many times that I “am lost in my own world.”

As I write out this blog post, I can’t help but mention the importance of reflection, self-awareness, and mindfulness. The night allows me to do all three with its stillness, peace, and quiet. I understand that for some people the night might bring about feelings of sadness, loneliness, or fear, but sometimes the still of the night is just what we need to work through our inner struggles. Without much time for reflection and self-awareness, we can’t go about making great change. Processing one’s life requires great energy and it is of the utmost importance to allow time to dedicate towards fueling your soul. Mindfulness is the act of focusing and being aware of the present moment. It is about tuning out all distractions and worries and focusing on what is right in front of you at that given moment.

Whether it is day or night, I hope that you find time for just you. Become in tune with yourself, take the time to take care of you, just like you take care of others, you completely deserve it.

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