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You wake up with the first light filtering through the tent. No hurries, no rush. You lay there for a while listening to the movement outside — the squirrels and chipmunks rustling the leaves, the birds calling each other from the treetops. There is nothing to pull you away from all this — no phone, no morning status meeting, no emails.

You are free.

As the tent warms up from the sunlight, it’s time to get up. You unzip the tent, slip through the door, and step into the broader forest — already awake and waiting for you.

In just a couple minutes, you’ve lit the stove and the water’s boiling.

You sip your coffee.

Your body warms up. Small shuffling sounds are coming from the tent. The kids are beginning to wake up. You smile and are ready to enjoy the day.

You swim in the river.

The cold, fresh water clears the cobwebs from your head. With your head just above the waterline, you see a blue heron across the way fishing for its breakfast.

You look behind you at the bank and see your kids standing there, groggy from sleep, but excited to see you down in the river. It takes just a couple more minutes before their in swimsuits and running down to meet you.

You play.

The kids step into the river looking around at all the tiny fish in the shallows. They dive in, splash, and clear the cobwebs from their heads. You all splash around together, act goofy, and laugh.

Hunger sets in. You head back up to the site, light up the stove and begin making breakfast — some eggs, oatmeal, and a few slices of bacon. And another cup of coffee.

You eat breakfast. Together.

Fresh out of the water, the kids love all the excitement — eating outside, cooking off the camp stove, eating together.

You wander. Together.

You have a general direction, but no goal — no view, no peak, no final destination. Even your general direction might change. You’ve scouted out the area a little before, so you know of an excellent crop of rocks that the kids will love climbing and jumping on. But first, you’ll all explore upstream a little. Looking for life in the water, maybe identifying it in a field guide, maybe taking pictures or notes to look up later. You’ll stop now and then for a snack, some water. You ask your kids questions. They actually answer. Why is there no destination? This is the destination. This time together. This moment.

You spend all morning wandering. You never make it to the crop of rocks. So you save that for the next time.

You are camping.

Welcome to the woods. Welcome to life with your family.

Looking to hit the trails with your kids?

This free cheat sheet will give you smart strategies to keeping the kids happy on your next hike. 


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Thinking about camping with your family?

This free checklist will get your trip up and running with the ESSENTIAL gear. Get started with what you need, leave the rest at home, and ENJOY yourself! 

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Wondering whatto eat on your next camping trip?

This free meal plan will give you everything you need to feed your family for one weekend -- equipment, recipes, and shopping list!

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