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Weekend Assignment: Vacation!

June 22, 2010

Weekend Assignment asks about one of my favorite topics:

Look out – here comes summer! Kids are out of school, community pools and seasonal ice cream stands are open, and temperatures north of the Equator are on the rise. Summer is traditionally the time for families to go on vacation together. What are your summer vacation plans, if any? What time of year are you most likely to pack up the family and get out of town? Is there a particular place you go more often than anywhere else?

Extra Credit: When and where did your family usually go on vacation when you were a kid?

Sadly… This summer our family’s vacation plans are basically non-existant.  I’ll have classes for the remainder of the summer semester (we’re only at about the half-way point), and within no time after that the fall semester will begin.  Which isn’t to say we’ll stay cooped up the whole summer long, though.

One thing Dear Wife and I like to do, in times like these, is visit her Grandfather.  Her Grandfather lives only a couple hours away, and has a wonderful, rustic little cabin in the mountains with fantastic views.  Both Dear Wife and I love to retreat to the mountains, out into the forest, to get away from it all.  It’s so calming and relaxing – as if all the problems and stresses of life melt away with the altitude.  We plan to do that this summer as well for at least one weekend.  Only this time, we’ll be bringing along someone new!

Dear Wife and I also both love camping… (Although, it’s a travesty, but we’ve never been camping together since we got married.  I know, I don’t know why that happens, either!)  And we intend to raise B.T. with a healthy love and respect for camping and nature.  As soon as the tyke is able (which won’t be for a while, we realize), we’ll be taking him up for some good-old-fashioned communing with nature.

I also won’t be in school forever.  Next summer I’ll finally be free of summer classes (as I’ll be graduated by then) so who knows what wonderful summer vacation plans await our little family next year?

Regarding the bonus question, it’s always fun to reminisce about the good times from childhood.  Of course, I love camping today because my family, growing up, went camping every year for summer vacation after we came back state-side.  (I spent several of my earlier years in Germany, and I don’t recall ever camping in Germany.)  One year we went to the Grand Canyon.  Another year to Sequoia and King’s Canyon.  Another year to Zion.  I loved all of these summer excursions.  Every year we tried to do a different place – though many years we had to pick a destination a little closer to home and a littler easier on the pocket-book.  We didn’t grow up rich, you could say.  But one of the great things about camping is that you can have a great time and it’s not terribly expensive.

The two best parts about camping, to me, were always hiking and camp food.  I’ve never been really real backpack hiking… a symptom of my boyscout-less boyhood, and one I hope someday to rectify.  But we’d always do a two or three-hour round-trip hike at whatever camping destination we chose.   Camp food, meanwhile, was always delicious.  Real fire in a pit, potatoes and corn wrapped in foil and thrown on the grill (or, one time, we buried the foil-wrapped potatoes under the pit where the baked… spectacular!), and burgers, or hot dogs, or steak.  And after dinner: s’mores!  And for breakfast every morning it was scrambled eggs or pancakes with bacon or sausage or hot oatmeal.  These are the flavors that stick with me, even today.

It’s hard to describe with mere words the sheer joy these things brought to my life.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2010 5:57 pm

    I don’t have a fond affection for camping, but being on the lake and in the woods certainly has a grip on my heart!

    That’s sad that you don’t have enough time for a vacation Stephen!!! 😦 Don’t you want to live past thirty? lol…I hope to do some sort of vacation this year. There comes a time for preparing for a pleasant future, but there is also a time for creating a pleasant past. Ooh, profound…


    • June 23, 2010 8:52 am


      Yes… Yes I do. I just have to take my breaks in shorter bursts, right now. Like short weekends away. Which is what Dear Wife and I have mostly been doing…

      Which isn’t to say we don’t occassionally just check out and really get away from it all!

      • June 23, 2010 12:22 pm

        Short weekends are fun and reasonable! And for getting away, Ireland would be the place to do that. 🙂

      • June 23, 2010 12:28 pm

        I agree, they are both fun and reasonable.

        But sometimes, when you really just need to stretch your legs, you need something longer. Ireland, last year, sure fit that bill. For me, so does a good week camping. I’d also like to hit up a UN-like list of foreign countries… but I realize I’ll be unable to see most of them in my lifetime.

        That’s why I’m planning on being reincarnated* as a billionaire in my next life.

        *note: I don’t actually, personally believe in reincarnation. YMMV.

      • June 23, 2010 2:21 pm

        Reincarnated as a billionaire? You don’t have to wait for the (nonexistant) second time round! You can become a billionaire now with your books! That’s why we’re writers!


        (hysterical laughter from the crowd)

      • June 23, 2010 2:32 pm

        From where I currently stand the chances are only slightly better of my becoming a billionaire via the sale of my books than of being reincarnated as one.

  2. June 22, 2010 8:54 pm

    That’s dedication. I demanded summers off from school. Finally, I finished in January and went to Hawaii in February!

    • June 23, 2010 8:59 am

      It’s not so much dedication as just the way the program I’m in works. Several core classes necessary for graduation from the program I’m in are only offered in summers. The program is designed to be completed in 3 years including classes over summer.

      Once this thing is over, you can bet your bottom dollar that Dear Wife and I will be doing something fun just to relieve ourselves!

  3. June 23, 2010 2:36 pm

    Hi 🙂

    I have never been camping, but I have always thought it would be fun to give it a try. 🙂 Sorry this year is so busy for you. 😦 Thats a bummer. But hey, like you said, you will have more time next year to plan something really special! 🙂 Here’s to the future!


    • June 23, 2010 2:47 pm

      It is fun, but you have to be willing to go for a little while without a lot of the conveniences of modern life. I will say, the absolute worst part of camping are when you have to take a little “personal” time (shower and restroom facilities are often not especially nice or non-existant – depends on where you camp). If you can get over that, it’s great. There’s no better way to reconnect with nature and to let the worries, stresses, and responsbilities of the workaday world slough off you.

      The other great thing about camping is how cost-effective it is. Renting a campsite for a night is usually tons cheaper than getting a hotel room. And while the camping gear can be a little pricey (especially for the gear-crazy, which, once you get into camping, it’s easy to go gear-crazy), when you amortize the cost of it over the lifetime of uses, it spreads the cost pretty thin. So, there’s an initial investment to get your tent, sleeping bag, etc., but those will usually last you a good long time.

      And yes… here’s to the future!

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