I slid my seldom-used oversized xtreme 5-day cooler into the back of our SUV last weekend, as one of the final items to pack for our camping trip. I did use a red and a blue bungee cord to keep it from shifting around. I was super surprised. I could see clearly through the truck to the front seats, we had a large tote with food in the backseat and our ‘CoolStuff’ bag, but not much else. The car was not crammed top-to-bottom front-to-back with all our crap!
I was able to pack TONS of gear and clothes and bedding and chairs into the pop-up camper hooked to the truck. WOW! I kinda forgot how sweeeet it is to have so much capacity to store gear in the clamped-down pop-up.
For years I owned a pop-up camper. I used it all the time. At one point it was set-up at the lake at least once a month, for 24 straight months. Fun Times! Back then I would pull it with my big 3/4 ton crew cab heavy-duty pickup. I had a fiberglass shell on the truck’s bed too. I loaded stuff in the shell, in the camper, in the back seats. I had stuff everywhere! I used to haul lots of gear, for every trip to the lake!
In the last several years though, I have cut back, trimmed down and been enjoying my camping trips with my wife and dog, and a simple Columbia tent. After sleeping in that thing all over the western U.S. I became very fond of it. Lindsay and I have camped under the stars and on the air-mattress-covered ground in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Colorado too. After leaving the pop-up at home and using our tent, we eventually decided to sell it.
It has been maybe three years since I had a camper like that. Back when I owned my Coleman Pioneer Chesapeake edition tent-trailer I thought I did need more room in it. I regularly wished I had something bigger and better. I just had that gnawing knowing that my little pop-up wasn’t good enough and I wanted an upgrade.
Funny then, that I actually went the other way and began to appreciate the company of my (then) future-wife and our simple tenting lifestyle instead of needing to just increase the cool-factor of our camper. We have been quite content in various conditions with that orange and blue tent.
Since she is now in the last trimester of her pregnancy, she finally asked that we find another way to camp than sleeping on the air mattress on the ground. 🙂 So when her brother and sister-in-law graciously allowed us to borrow their Palomino pop-up, we were super excited to have the extra room and air-conditioning for our long-weekend next a natural lake in Minnesota.
As we have been tent-camping for the last few years, I have gotten used to our system of cramming everything we need just into our car. One time we even fit all our gear, clothes, food, shelter, bedding and dog, into her 4-door pontiac car! Anyway, I loved finding room again in the pop-up to store our stuff. I was surprised and delighted that I had such a vast extra space on this latest trip. It was really really nice 🙂
Okay. I have done a lot of typing about camping gear and tents and trailers…. There is a point to all this.
I used to have something that I took for granted. I even was dissatisfied at times with it. Then I scaled back, pared down and lived more lightly for awhile. I began to appreciate that change. Then with this latest little vacation, I shifted again. I found new happiness in the things as they used to be.
Remember when I was saying that I used to want bigger and better and an upgrade from my old pop-up camper? Well now, I see that I would be quite happy again to have something just like I had before. I did need to let it go for awhile. I needed to distance myself from it. I needed to let go, and to try something stripped-down to the basics.
There is a parable that Wayne Dyer talks about it in his seminars. It is a tale about a man frustrated that his in-laws are living with him. He seeks out advice and a wise man advises him to bring his livestock into his house. Week after week, the exponentially increasing angry man visits the shaman. Again the shaman asks him to bring another outside animal into the home. Eventually, the man is completely outraged and distraught. His chaotic home is over-run with craziness! The wise-man then advises that he now, let all the animals back out of the house…
With the same exact situation the man had before, he is content. He can be happy now. He sees the circumstances in a brand-new context. He is relieved and refreshed, ready to move forward in love, knowing that things could really be much worse…
Where else in my life, can I use this lesson? I wonder where else I am tense and unhappy, wanting something to be different or better than it is right now. I wonder where else I can learn that just exactly what is, is exactly what I can be happy with, right here, right now.
I was thrilled to be camping last week. I would have liked our tent, but I did love using that borrowed pop-up camper. I enjoyed learning to master it’s little quirks. I had a great time with my wife and my dog, sleeping kinda under the stars. I didn’t need one thing to be better, it was just wholly good, just as it was. Good enough, that eventually we were ready to come home and enjoy own bed and shower with plenty of rushing hot water. It’s these little things that seem so good, when you’ve been away…
Returning… refreshed… thankful…
PS: We are in the market for a pop-up camper again. PM or Text me if you know one for sale 🙂 Thanks!