Camping.

Some interesting things happened to me when I went camping with my grandparents’ huge legacy of a family at a place that has no cellular network service or free Wi-Fi:

1) I saved a lot of battery by switching my phone to “Airplane Mode” and just having to use the camera to take cool pictures at the campsite, General Sherman (world’s largest tree), the beach at Hume Lake…

2) …and then unfortunately learning that switching the Camera app settings to “Save to SD Card” was not a great idea and just about every picture was corrupted. (I am trying to salvage what I can as I type this because that would suck if they absolutely could not be opened ever again.)

3) Since I wasn’t looking at my phone and getting distracted by others’ posts about things, I was in the moment with family, playing games, making jokes, singing songs.

4) Oh yeah, singing songs! I definitely play one of the most portable instruments, the keyboard. Wait… no. I mean, I have a portable keyboard… but really it’s a bit less “portable” feeling than a guitar. 2 years in a row, though, singing by the campfire has been a game of trying to figure out chords and lyrics. The question that was a constantly asked to me this year was “Where’s your keyboard?”. Also, “What are the chords?”. Lesson learned. I’m bringing a keyboard next year and a book of chorded out songs. // Besides that, harmonizing is always fun! Singing is fun! I’ve been singing way more recently. Also though, listening to a bunch of guitar songs that were popular to teens from 2007-2010 and their sometimes emotional lyrics was good soundtracked contemplating time. Also, Victor Yerrid, who is a friend of the family and a voice actor who plays Sid’s Dad on Sid The Science Kid, knows ALL the words of EVERY Disney movie song. He is awesome! He complimented me about knowing a lot of Disney songs, but he knew every word, which I do not.

5) So when I’m not constantly looking at my phone, I’m only left with the thoughts I LET come to the forefront. That’s an interesting introspective moment – to realize what pure ideas I have, or things I wanted to do when I got back, or people I was wondering about unprovoked, or how I was feeling when I didn’t feel “scheduled”.

6) Sitting around the campfire, singing  or talking, is always the thing I love because it’s a lovely, warm, intimate setting where whoever is there is just being who they are and great moments come out of it. We played a game where it’s 2 teams who are given a sort of category or a word that has to be in a song and go back and forth singing a different song that meet the criteria until the other team can’t think of one. Soooooo fun!

7) When things settle down and get a bit quieter, there is a lot of silence. The first night we were there, when the first silent moments were happening, I looked up at the stars. Everybody always does. When we did, it was just overwhelming. No light pollution = way more stars. It was beautiful! I looked at them often over the 3 nights. I have always been a fan of astronomy… and just to think of all the concepts that I have learned about astronomy, that I was looking at the real thing in grand fashion with my own eyes.

8) I finally went to a beach this year. It was Hume Lake but still the atmosphere was there. Because I couldn’t look at my phone, I was looking around at people. There were some Christian camps out there so there were a lot of older teens and young adults. The guys from those camps were mostly with the other guys and the girls the same with the girls. Policy… ya know? Wow. I can see the self-consciousness in almost all the girls that were there. The guys were not even paying attention to the girls though. Policy… ya know? The girls mostly had their arms crossed, looking around to see how many people were possibly looking at them before they went into the water. They would eventually realize that a) nobody really cared about their whatever the girls thought was something to be self-conscious about, and b) there were tourists that looked in a general sense “worse”. You’re thinking, “But you were looking at them.”. I’m just well-exercised in quick glance reading of people. I wasn’t staring or anything. Although, I couldn’t help but feel like I was playing “look tag” with a few of them. A little willing ego-boost at the beach didn’t hurt anybody lol.

9) When I have no reason to look at my phone, I walk around having to be the version of me that is personable. That’s just me. Cracking jokes everyone around me can laugh at while at General Sherman, being a ham, being a goof, being a fun guy in a forest (not fungi in a forest).

Okay, 9 is good. That is a lucky number for me according to my numerology.

Sometimes you think the best version of yourself is only the presented things online… and then maybe something happens and you realize it’s not. You wonder where that best version of yourself is, you think it’s not what you thought it was this whole time. You second-guess… but then an opportunity comes where you have to be present, and then YOU arrive.

Ironic that I felt like I have been hidden and so I was brought out again while camping.

Ironic because of the gaming terminology of “camping” which… yeah. Okay. Done.

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