My friend Kristin and her family conclude their nine-day camping trip this weekend. I’m definitely not one for camping (or even glamping for that matter), so when Kristin asked me to join in on next year’s adventure, I politely declined. I then started thinking about camping in general. A friend of mine once told me that “camping builds character.” The first and last time that I ever camped was when I was eight or nine-years-old, and that was only because I was on vacation with my own family. I haven’t been camping since.
Actually, I take that back. I have been a part of Camp Jocelyn for two consecutive years now.
Once a year, my friend Jocelyn will take her best friend Michelle’s kids for an extended weekend filled with trips to amusement parks, movie theaters, bowling alleys, Putt Putt Golf, arcades, museums and fun restaurants. That particular weekend has been coined Camp Jocelyn, because Michelle’s boys escape to Tampa from Orlando for “a weekend of fun” lead by the Cruise Director of fun herself, Jocelyn. Last year, I joined Camp Jocelyn for a day when I went with the boys to Drag Queen Bingo at Hamburger Mary’s. This year, my time spent at Camp Jocelyn included a trip to Busch Gardens.
As Michelle’s boys enjoy an annual weekend spent in Tampa, Michelle and her husband are able to enjoy a mini retreat from parenthood.
Last weekend, I met up with long-time friend Gina to finally meet the newest addition to her family, her daughter Lily. We went to Seasons 52 for lunch, and I was reminded of Gina’s multi-tasking expertise while there: her husband Nick is currently out of town, her two-year-old son Dominick is in the midst of potty training, her daughter Lily is nearly nine-months, she is about to return back to her full-time job in a few days, she maintains a happy marriage and her figure all while taking time out of her overwhelming schedule just to have lunch with me. Gina may have said that she was surprised that I was able to meet with her since I am so busy, but I don’t think she realizes that her busy schedule just as a parent far surpasses mine. How does she do it? Apparently and impressively with a smile.
Gina, Dominick and Lily
So back to camping… why exactly do people camp? Typically, to escape, to take a break from a routine, to pacify their minds, to relax, to do something different.
One would predict from the photo above that Gina would need some time to go “camping” on her own. But Dominick digging for gold and Lily crying her eyes out aside, she clearly is in love with every single second of being a mother. Gina’s lunch date with me was her temporary retreat away.
Earlier this month, I decided to check out Esque Dollar’s Posh Wednesday event at The Fox Jazz Cafe. The Fox was a different venue to hang out at, and the outing was a break in my usual Wednesday routine of watching Million Dollar Listing, Dallas and Big Brother on TV while horizontal on the couch. I invited my friends Eric and Kaydinn, who I haven’t hung out with in a hot minute, along with new neighbor Jess to come along. The event wound up being a lot of
drunken fun, but also hangover hell the next day relaxing. (Damn you Dragonberry Mojitos!)
The venue itself was stunning. Hands down, The Fox is a place that I would frequent again, and not just because they have a late-night menu.
At the end of the day, isn’t life nothing more than a camp? Eric and Kaydinn have been “camping” away from the rest of civilization at their new Channelside condo. Gina took time from her busy routine to join Camp Okie, and put a smile on my face. And after two consecutive years of proud service, I’m on my way to becoming an official Camp Jocelyn counselor.
We are all constantly “camping” and building character.
“To Build A Home” by The Cinematic Orchestra