My brother, Camping and Renewal

Two weeks ago my brother Dave and I enjoyed our twenty-ninth year of camping. “Why camping? It sounds very uncomfortable” is the question and observation I get most often from people who do not know me well.

I have a number of answers to that question, the first and most important is that flying my brother out from Illinois and heading to the woods for a blissful four days of being playing together is one of the most nourishing experiences of my life. The second reason is that it forces me to actually disconnect from the chaos of my social media postings and checking my email on a consistent basis. The last, but not final answer I will give here is – that it calms me down, centers me and provides the platform for introspection. I’ve done many self-growth workshops and read hundreds of books on the mind but absolute nothing gives the self-renewal as this brief yearly excursion except, being with my wife.

So, one might ask, “What do you do together for four days?” I think most people of visions of us fighting through the wilderness, gritty and sleeping on the ground being manly men. No, not exactly. Well, we actually did sleep on the ground for almost 20 years until my no-nonsense brother talked me in to buying a pop-up camper – all the delight of sleeping outdoors but off the ground. So, the answer is that we play together and hang out as we did when we were young. We go to a local diner for breakfast, take a three or four mile hike, fish, have a drink or two around the fire and listen to NPR, cook dinner on a wood fire and read and watch horror films. Yes, horror films, just like we did as kids. Oh yes, we laugh, share memories, laugh, philosophize and laugh some more.

It doesn’t matter if it rains, if we get wet, if we don’t catch fish, if we are cold or even a bit uncomfortable. It’s all part of the adventure.

Why is this worth a blog? It is to encourage every reader to find his or hers own, personal, delightful, self-renewal. It is also to gently suggest healing any relationship with your siblings that stand in the way of joy. The final reason is to inspire you to spend quality, alone time with someone you are close to without an agenda. This, to me, is part of living an exceptional life.
www.jamesmapes.com

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