Monday

Wander Thoughts

Life is like stepping onto a boat which is about to sail out to sea and sink.
-- Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

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Experiencing something is often different from how we imagine things to be. We may have an idea but when we get experience it for real, often it's different from how we thought it to be.

Take for example marriage, I'm sure a lot of you who are already married would say it's a bit different from how you imagined things would be once you are married. Some of our expectations may or may not be true in real life situations.

As a girl, I used to think that I would be a great wife and mother when I get to be one,of course who woudn't dream of becoming one when they grow up. But experiencing married life is a self-discovery in itself. I have discovered parts of myself that I didn't even know. I guess it's discovering yourself when you are with another person, or a love one. It could change a person, it could transform a person, it could make a person grow, or it could be the opposite depending on the relationship. As for me it has been a nurturing relationship with my husband. He has helped me see a lot of my positive sides that I haven't seen before. Very encouraging, very nurturing. Of course it is still a continuing journey and learning epxerience for both of us. It's learning to handle difficult as well as joyful events in a marriage. Time and time again, they say that "nobody's perfect". We just keep trying to work to make things perfect as we go through the different stages of marriage.

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I am one of those people that loves the country side. Those places away from the hustle and bustle of city life. One reason is probably because I grew up in a small province in the Philippines. I have enjoyed both the country/rural as well as city life. But I still prefer the simplicity of the country life. There is a certain serenity and peace that I feel away from the noise and clutters of city life. It always has that relaxing effect on me as I wander and explore nature, the woods, the creeks, the rivers. The rolling hills, the distant horizon just blazing as the sun sets. It's just so beautiful as I think about it.




Now, my childhood life came flashing back when we went camping up in the mountains of Dahlonega, North Georgia. Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate the other weekend. The weather dropped and it was blowing. It is understandable that the weather drops as we go higher in the elevated parts of Georgia, but it was more than cool. The drive up there was zigzag and winding. We have drove almost zigzag uphill, except for a couple of downhills, we must have passed a couple of mountains until we reached Lake Scott Winfield campsite. We also passed several cow and horse farms. The closest store we could find was half mile down the road in a convinient store called Dale's. We also passed by the lake which is a walking distance from the campsite. As soon as we got there we had to set up our tent quick because it was already dark. It wasn't that hard since we already practiced setting up the tent in our backyard once. We finnished in less than thirty minutes. After everything has been set up we gathered around the campfire. This was the most enjoyable part of the camping. Sitting infront of the fire, grilling, telling stories, relaxing.




Some of the important things that you should bring when going camping depending on what the campsite amenities. There are sites that has bathrooms and showers and with drinking fountains and even electric outlets. These are the things you might want to check so you know what to bring. The campsite we had didn't have any electric outlets. We had to rely on flashlights. My brother-in-law brought an oil lamp which was a great help. So make sure you have flashlights and enough batteries. Make sure you also check if the site provides drinking water, otherwise bring jugs of drinking water. Some of the helpful stuff that I found very helpful while camping are; wet wipes, especially if there's no faucet to wash your hands everytime especially when working with the fire and grilling because your hands can get all charcoal black. And with that of course is paper towel. Also, bathroom tissues. They may not provide in the site, or they may run out. It's always a good idea to bring your own. A pan and a camping pot are useful because you can always use them to boil water for drinking, use it for cooking, heating up food and all that. If you want to be fancy you can bring a grilling cage, if not just skewers because you can always make kabobs. Of course don't forget some condiments if you want foods to be tastier. Some foods can be prepared ahead of time at home and pack them in the coolers. And yes, don't forget a cooler, or coolers to keep foods and drinks cold and ice of course. Another is to bring ziplock bags, or plastic bags for hanging foods. Yes, since you are outdoors there are lots of insects and animals that may want to share your foods. One way to keep them away is to hang them up in the braches of trees or hooks provided if the coolers are all packed. Of course you may want to measure your food supply according to how many days you want to stay. You may want to check also how far the closest store to the area in case you might want to get some supplies. This campsite we went to doesn't have celphone receptions, so we were not able to use our phones. In this case you may not want to get lost, especially if there's no way of communication, unless you have walkie talkie.

The night was cold, as I was saying earlier, the weather was terrible. It was chilly and blowing, at night the temperature even drops, so that's of course the first thing you might want to check to make sure you bring enough blankets even warm sweaters. I just brought thin sweaters because I was expecting a warmer weather. I layered two sweaters and still felt cold. Good thing we brought thick blankets and seeping bags. You might want to bring other stuff like tarp or some sort of covers in case it rains. We were lucky it didn't rain. Of course it's always a great idea to have some of the necessary outdoor gears, because you can get vulnerable out there. It also helps a lot to improvise especially if you cannot have any of the convinience in the modern world in the woods. I guess it all depends on your primary needs since everyone has their own specific needs which varies from person to person when it comes to camping.

While out there in the woods, away from all the conviniences of life, I really got to appreciate the comforts I get at home. But imagine if we had stayed longer if the weather had not been terrible. A few days without celphones, no tv, no electric stove.Of course all these things can also be brought to the camping sites, but there's no electrical outlets to plug them in. Other camp grounds offer these amenities, you just have to check them. One can even bring their portable laptops and be wireless if there's a wi-fi in the area. But I think, getting away from all these modern technology once in a while is a great thing to better appreciate the wonders of nature. And while I was there, I waswondering how long would I survive in the wilderness if I were lost somewhere, how would I improvise with food and water and all that stuff. With my childhood experience I would say I probably wouldn't do so bad since I have learned a lot of things from my dad, even catching wildlife using whatever is available in the woods, or even fruit trees and all those sorts of stuff. But of course we are talking of probably a wilderness where things are foreign. Growing up, we used to go mushroom picking. But I have noticed here in the United States that there are so many varieties and colors of mushrooms that I wouldn't know which one is edible. Now, talking of mushrooms, we used to gather mushrooms also from the barks of dead trees after it rains. I think they are called oyster mushrooms. But see there are a lot of kinds of mushrooms that grow on dead barks of trees. You just have to know which one. I miss those days of wild mushroom picking. Of course in the tropical jungles in the Philippines there are lots of fruit trees, grass, flowers that are edible and they may not be found in North America. So, it's really knowing and learning about things like that, but in a world of convinience a lot of people don't even have to worry about those stuff until probably they are confronted with being lost in the woods.

If you have read the book "Life of Pi", it's one of the great stories of survival I have read. It's a bout a boy's story of how he survived at sea in a life boat after a ship carrying his family and a bunch of zoo animals from India to Canada sunk in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. He was at sea for months with limited food and water supply. It's a great read about determination of the human spirit in desperate situations. I have enjoyed the story very much. It also mentions a few stops along the way, they stopped in Manila for fuel. It's along way to Canada. I suppose they got to travel zoo animals in ships especially huge animals like tigers and elephants and all that if they have to bring to another part of the world.

As I was saying, one can really better appreciate the conviniences we have at home when one is in the woods with very limited amenities even the comforts of using youw very own bathroom. But there's that comfort that nature provides that the modern world sometimes can't provide, like the serenity, peace, fresh air. It's nothing like waking up to be surrounded by trees, with chirping birds, the sunrise. I can't wait to go on another camping. And this time we will be better prepared and of course this time there will be more fishing and grilling.

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