A Tale Of Two Camp Sites
Usually when we are seeking out an adventure of some sort, it is because we are searching for something. Maybe we are searching for rest or relaxation. Or perhaps we are trying to escape something from back home. Whatever it may be, if you have not been changed in the process of your adventure, you have missed the point entirely.
I still remember the look of complete confusion on my wife’s face when I shouted “Hey! Let’s go to Utah!”. You see, it was supposed to be “spring” in northern Minnesota, but the snow was still falling, and I was sick of it. My friend Travis, (who is an amazing photographer, and you should check out his work by clicking here) had just returned from Escalante, Utah with some beautiful shots. Utah looked stunning, and more importantly, it looked warm!
It took some convincing, but in a few days time we loaded the truck, said “see you later snow!” and took off for Utah.
I can’t recall who said it, but I remember once reading a quote stating that “sometimes we need to travel one thousand miles away from home in order to begin thinking clearly.” I think this is true. To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was hoping to get out of this trip, but I knew I had to get away from it all and experience something different and hopefully clear my mind a bit too.
As we drove to Utah, it seemed like nothing was going as planned… After crossing through the mountains, we ended up spending the night in Grand Junction, Colorado because the rear brakes on the truck had gone out. After the truck was repaired, I awoke the next morning with a sickness and a sinking feeling in my chest. I have known this feeling all too well… strep throat.
We arrived in Moab later that day, and I was sick, on antibiotics, and we were unable to find a place to camp. Things were not going the same way in which I had seen them play out in my head… We went from the snowy Lake Superior shores of Northern Minnesota to record setting heat in Moab. I was indeed seeking a warmer climate on this trip, but 102 degree heat was not exactly the “warmer climate” I had imagined or hoped for.
(More things continued to go wrong, but that is not the point of this story and I will spare you any further details.)
I was devastated… All of this planning, preparing, time on the road, money spent on gas… and nothing seemed to be going as I had planned.
A few days into the trip, the strep throat diminished greatly. We eventually found a camping spot right along the Colorado River too. Things were beginning to improve.
I wanted rest. I wanted relaxation. I wanted to leave Utah inspired and full of life. I began to develop a very bitter attitude towards the circumstances of this adventure. On our final night in Utah I found myself alone by the fire ring. Staring up at the stars in awe and bewilderment. The heat had broken early that morning, and the warmth of the fire was perfect. The moon began to rise over the cayenne colored cliffs giving everything an erie and mysterious red glow. Between the quiet crackling of the campfire and the steady sloshing of waves along the banks of the river, I began to accidentally eves drop on the two nearby campsites.
I was completely caught up in the beauty of everything around me, yet my attention deficit disorder caused me to listen in (not intentionally) on the two nearby campsites.
Here is what I heard:
At the campsite to my right sat a group of friends, from Nebraska I think, who were discussing all of life’s problems back home. The conversation organically evolved from topic to topic. They began their evening talking about how they would like to earn more money at their different jobs, and if they earned more money they would drive a better car or upgrade to a better apartment. Soon, they were discussing co-workers and friends… all in a very negative manner. They were spewing out all of the things they didn’t like about certain people back home. From my spot under the stars, I could feel the angst they had in life, the severe discontentment.
While this conversation was taking place to my right, a drastically different conversation was taking place to my left. There was a group of friends who had spent the day mountain biking some phenomenal trail systems. They spent their evening talking about the day they had just wrapped up. I remember hearing all sorts of encouragement and laughter. They spent most of their time replaying the days events, the incredible downhills, the challenging vertical climbs, and inevitable crashes… Then slowly, the conversation began to focus on tomorrows adventure. “What trail should we hit tomorrow?” was asked in a whisper of excitement, and the group began to pull out maps under their headlamps and plan for the next days adventure.
It was somewhere between these two conversations that I found extreme peace. It was for this very moment, that I needed to “get away from it all” and learn from these two campfire dialogues that took place. It seems as though there are two types of people in this world. Two conversations are always taking place… there is the gossip crowd, filled with bitterness and frustration at life’s circumstances. Then, there is the living life crowd. The people who take life a day at a time and embrace the adventure. These people didn’t speak poorly of people back home, they didn’t gossip, they were excited to be alive.
As the two groups called it a night and vanished into their tents. I sat there, still staring at the stars, the fire dwindling, and the river still splashing the shores. I really had to ask myself… “Which of these two groups am I most like? Which of these two groups would I most like to be with?”
I have to admit, far too often I can become the complainer… (Example A: The first few paragraphs of this blog!) I can often find myself acting as though I’m sitting at the campfire to my right. But honestly, I’d rather be at the campfire to my left. I want to surround myself with people who embrace the adventure that life truly is, and not give into the counterfeit drama and chaos that this world has to offer.
The reason I write this blog today is to ask you this question: Which of the two campfires do you often find yourself sitting around? More importantly, which of these two campfires would you rather be sitting around?
It’s something to think about. Please sound off in the comments below. We’d love to hear your stories. We want to be people that live adventurously and focus on the joy that life can bring.