The crisp morning air seeped in through the seams of the tent. It was a cold morning during a Whidbey Island camping trip. The time was not yet 6:30 am, and all I wanted to do was lay under the warmth of our sleeping bags.
But my daughter was wide awake, and insisting that she needed to go to the bathroom. My husband, who had just gotten our infant son to go back to sleep after a restless night, was laying next to me, exhausted.
Maybe a little rest time for my son and husband would be good for them, I thought to myself.
My daughter and I put on some extra layers of clothes, carefully put on our socks and shoes, and crept out of the tent.
Most of the other campers in the campground were still asleep, although there were a few people that were already up and about. We were spending the weekend doing some Whidbey Island camping. Our camp site was at South Whidbey Island State Park, just off the coast of Seattle. This was our first morning at the camp site, and as usual for mornings in the Pacific Northwest, it was a bit chilly.
A self-proclaimed city person
I have never been much of a camper. In fact, the first time I went camping was in college. And it wasn’t until I started dating my husband that I would camp on a semi-regular (meaning, at least once a year) basis.
I’m what you would call a city person. I love the bustle of a city. I savor the sights, the smells, the sounds, and the chaos. While I do enjoy the calmness and serenity that comes with being out in the woods, I can only take so much of it. I prefer city life over being in nature.
The only exception to this is the beach. Having spent my childhood in Indonesia, I consider myself an island girl at heart, and if I had to spend the rest of my life away from a city, I would agree to it only if it were somewhere near a beach.
My daughter, the nature lover
My daughter, on the other hand, loves everything about the outdoors. She loves being in the woods and going on hikes. She is an avid rock, leaf, stick, and flower collector. My daughter even enjoys picking up bugs and earthworms she finds in the dirt. She obviously does not get this love of nature from me. But despite my reservations with being in the outdoors, I always want to encourage her to explore the world around her, and that includes being in nature and camping.
After visiting the bathroom, my daughter and I decided to follow one of the trails down to the beach. It was early summer in the Pacific Northwest, and this summer was a particular wet one for the region. There were slugs all along the path. My daughter and I pointed them out to each other as we made our way down to the beach.
Down at the beach, we played together near the water, making sand castles and collecting rocks. There were some young kids playing on the sand nearby, but my daughter was too shy to join them.
Appreciating the outdoors while on our Whidbey Island camping trip
As I watched my daughter play, I thought about how lucky we were to be living in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve traveled to over 40 states in this country, and to me, no other place is as beautiful as the Pacific Northwest. This region of the United States is known for getting a lot of rain, but with the rain comes lush greenery almost every month of the year. And the close proximity to water, especially the ocean, helps to appease my island girl mentality.
After playing on the beach, we walked back to our camp site, talking about the things we saw on our walk. Along the way, we came across a rabbit scurrying across the path, and there was still an abundance of slugs everywhere. When we got back to camp, my daughter excitedly told my husband all the things she did so far, as I busied myself with preparing breakfast.
I am thankful that my daughter loves nature much. It is because of her that I have come to appreciate it myself. I will still choose cities over the woods, but nowadays, I don’t mind being out there so much.
Travel is about seeing the world, and nothing connects you to the physical world as much as going back to nature. That weekend trip to Whidbey Island State Park helped me to appreciate the great outdoors.
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