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Gone Camping Cause the Weather is Good

Ft. Pickens, Gulf Islands National Seashore

Grab your tents, sleeping bags, and s’more-making gear! Camping with your family is an affordable way to enjoy nature, build survival skills, and nourish your soul (which more than likely needs to be filled).

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There is a force around this time of year, it feels almost instinctual that we take time to disconnect and get outside.

Camping has always been a part of my life. My grandparents had an RV. Mom worked out in Milton as a counselor for an outdoor correctional facility. We spent lots of time in the wild, whether it was the primitive or hook-up-to-power kind.

For as many times as our parents took us to Disney World or an expensive vacation, the core memories I tap into come from our experiences in the woods. There is not a trip in the wild that I can’t remember. Not a day at the creek that I’d wanna forget.

Like that one time, I was imprisoned in the confines of the “Echo Chamber”, as my brother and I would call it. Playing “Prisoner of War” at Ft. Pickens. Or that time that the girl in the tent next to ours showed me how to use no hands while riding my bike.

It was camping where I learned my footing while climbing trees. I’d be walking the sandy trails learning the different shapes of a snake’s head and the rattle of their tails.

The camping trips I took in my youth instilled important principles within me that I feel are essential now.

Growing up in the Pensacola area, places like Fort Pickens, Blackwater State Park, and Big Lagoon would be our go-to spots.

Camping is a low-cost adventure.

In comparison to the alternative experiences and vacations you can take, camping seems to be one of the most affordable options I’ve been able to find for a quick getaway. Local campsites for tent camping go anywhere from $10-$65 a night, while hookups for RVs are a little more expensive, both are low cost in comparison to renting an Airbnb for a night. Most campsites are far enough away from the busy of life, that it prompts you to prepare your meals ahead of time. This typically reduces the costs of going out to eat, trading in the compulsive shopping trip for a walk down the beach!

Camping builds character.

In my childhood days, growing up around the camping culture, always seemed to leave me with knowledge I didn’t have the time before. Whether that was how to make a fire, jerry-rig a fishing line, or how to eat when you forgot to bring a fork; the lessons learned turned into lifelong wisdom and notable moments of self-worth. With a world surrounded by distraction and technology, getting outside and learning how to survive could be a lesson we could all take today.

My daughter comes alive when we go out in the wild. Her imagination ignites. She’s building shelters, talking to birds, and truly enjoying the simple surroundings of life.

Camping is good for the soul.

Though some will say that the bugs are an issue, or they need the air conditioning, I think there is a difference between what we want, and what we need. Getting outside and disconnecting from our busy lives oftentimes is what our souls actually need to survive. The impenetrable work schedule or easy gratification of material life take priority when it seems like we really should be outside.

We’ve lost track that living simply is how things used to be. Making our meals on a fire, washing our dishes by hand, and enjoying the surrounding company.

For those of us locals, we are blessed with the surrounding areas where we live. Nothing but white sands, crystal waters, cold creeks, and miles of fragrant pines.

The whole camping thing may not be for you, and that is just fine. Yet I will leave you with the challenge, of getting you and your family, to go get outside.

Local Pulse Staff Writer & Holy Moments Columnist, Makenna Curtis

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Makenna Curtis is a Pensacola local with a BIG heart for her hometown. Motherhood, storytelling, helping others, and celebrating the small things in life are just a few of her favorite things. Makenna graduated the University of West Florida with a degree in Communications and Advertising in 2017. Her passion for living life to the fullest and connecting with others makes having a conversation or reading her work easy!