Getting Away from It All

As the weather turns colder and hiking season wraps up, it’s time for some reflection and nostalgia.

I have been on some truly epic adventures and vacations, but simply “getting away from it all” to recharge the creative batteries doesn’t always need to be an ambitious, expensive, and time-consuming project.

With a busy schedule, I have often needed to snatch quick, impromptu “micro-vacations.” I like to carve out an overnight camping trip, throwing sleeping bags and supplies, a cookstove and a bundle of firewood in the back of the SUV. A quick run to the grocery store to pick up hot dogs, buns, beans, chips, soda, eggs, even a can of spam. (Sitting in camp, near the fire, may be the only time and place that hot dogs or spam taste truly delicious.)

Within a few hours’ drive, there are any number of state park or national forest campgrounds, offering beautiful wooded sites, picnic table, and firepit for $10-$15. I love to head out in the morning, find a good spot, set up a quick camp, then go for a hike. Back at the site, I’ll build a campfire, sit at the picnic table, and edit chapters on my laptop—what could be a better office? It becomes a challenge for me whether to put up with the pesky insects or the (arguably worse) smelly, greasy bug repellent.

As the sun goes down and the temperature drops, I’ll sit close to the campfire and read a little. Then I’ll unroll the sleeping bag and pad in the back of the SUV and close myself in for the night, playing a DVD on the portable player, drinking a pint of microbrew from the growler I brought along, cozying up in my little bubble, and having a great night.

The next morning I’ll wake up refreshed, get up into the cool dawn air, light the campstove to make instant coffee and scrambled eggs (with spam, of course) before packing up and catching a quick hike before I drive home.

It’s just a quick, two-day trip requiring little planning or expense, but with a large payoff in recuperation and inspiration.

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