When I think about “Camping,” our prompt for today, I only really have a couple of memories. I remember camping with my cousin in a tent on a fishing trip with my grandparents, and then there’s a flash forward to adulthood when I camped a couple of times with friends. I loved the first night, when the tents had all been prepared and everyone gathered around the campfire for drinks and whatever could be cooked on an open flame. Hot dogs were good for such an occasion, and a bag of chips is an easy side dish. For dessert, roasted marshmallows were usually next, which if someone had remembered to bring the graham crackers and chocolate could be transformed into s’mores. As I said, I adored this first evening of camaraderie and friendship and the crackling flame that lit everyone’s faces. Looking into the sky one could see an endless field of stars as the smell of burning sticks filled our noses. Time, for just a moment, actually stood still. Heading to a tent later in the evening was bittersweet as it meant saying goodbye to that magical atmosphere. It was also at that moment I realized I was covered in bug spray and would wake up without a proper shower. But, yeah, that first night was really wonderful.
The second day of camping is less about fantasy and more about reality. After attempting to rinse off in the makeshift shower on the campgrounds, even if I managed to approach cleanliness, I had to immediately apply more bug spray, so I was never actually clean. I think a 2-night camping stay was all I’ve ever managed to pull off before racing home to have a proper blissful bath. But, that didn’t stop me from doing it again, of course. I’ve at the very least learned that I can indeed last two nights before the need to bathe properly overwhelms me. Many of my friends were completely entranced with the experience and could last many more nights. I thought that was amazing, but it didn’t sway me. I’ve always been like that in life. I adore watching what others adore, but in the end, I make my own path. Even when I was in high school and peer pressure was at its height, I would never succumb to it. It wasn’t any strong sense of will or rebellion, it was more a complete sense of confusion. Why the devil would I ever want to do something, simply because others are doing it, if it doesn’t bring me joy?
Today, I simply celebrate the idea of joy and encourage everyone to chase it! I’ve honestly no idea if what I love is something that you might enjoy, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that you stay true to what you adore and then we can simply agree in a smile. It’s equally why I’ve had great friends who were practically opposite from me in every way possible. And why I show up sharing my own silly stories each day in hopes a piece of them will ring true for whoever might be reading this. It’s like showing up to a campfire filled with people you’ve just met. Though there may not seem to be something in common at first, when we’re all lit by the same magical light, similarities begin to appear. That’s what I loved most about camping. Lacking all of my creature comforts, I was suddenly thrust into a rather primal and beautiful world. A place where simply people came together to enjoy the beauty of a moment. The food was nothing special, other than it brought back every wonderful moment of childhood. And together, we were the very definition of community. And, though I’ve not actually been camping in years, I’ll always cherish those campfire memories.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Nickel Azo Yellow, Quinacridone Red, Terra Cotta and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!