On a chilly night, with a gathering of friends, or in a new place you’ve never visited before, there’s just something special about a campfire. For me, it’s the epitome of the camping and vacation experience.
Much of the fondness for them likely stems from my childhood. I have very good memories of family camping trips, complete with a campfire starting every night at dusk. Sometimes we’d cook hotdogs, sometimes it was marshmallows for S’mores, and as we grew older we discovered the extreme tastiness of pudgy pies, or maybe they’re called hobo pies where you’re from. Sometimes after a big dinner, there would be no food at all, and that would be okay too.
Having a good excuse to sit outside and enjoy nature after dark was always a big plus as well. I loved being outdoors even as a child, and that didn’t change in adolescence or adulthood. When it’s too dark to see what’s going on outside of the circle of light from a fire, your other sense seem to compensate. The smell of the earth, the rustle of a breeze through the trees, and the feel of dirt between the toes seems sharper and more real. It also makes the campfire feel more cozy and inviting, not being able to rely on your eyes to know that everything is okay beyond the glow of the fire.
But I think the best part was always the conversation. It was a time of togetherness and bonding with family, with those who shared the safety of the fire against whatever might be in the darkness beyond. Of telling stories (my parents were both really good at it, my brother and I got much more coherent with our campfire tales the older we got). To this day, this aspect remains my favorite part.
Day to day living still take up a fair bit of time, even on the road as a full-timer. With Julie and I working full 40+ hour weeks at the Trading Post and our shifts offset by three hours, we really don’t have a lot of extra time that isn’t consumed with groceries, dishes, laundry, catching up online, and other chores. On our days off which are all together at least, we go hiking and sightseeing and talk mostly about what we’re doing or seeing.
But nights when we have the time for a campfire, that’s when we can really catch up and talk about life. Being one of those kinds of people who enjoys deep conversation with a few close friends, a campfire is about the best setting I’ve found to get that need met. And if a S’more or adult beverage is involved, I certainly won’t complain.
When I first became a full-timer, I wondered if I would be more or less likely to have campfires when they became an every-day option and not just a novelty for the infrequent camping trips I use to be able to escape to while still working in the real world.
As it turns out, I don’t bother with them when there’s no company. Which shouldn’t be surprising considering my main motive for a campfire is the companionship. I can get my fill of nature during the day on hikes, and heat a hotdog or marshmallow on the stove or in a microwave with a lot less effort.
But on the days when I have friends visiting, there’s nothing that says relaxation, good times, and getting more in tune with nature all rolled together quite like a campfire.
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Also I’d like to give a hearty Hello! to everyone coming over from Wheeling It thanks to Nina’s latest post. Welcome aboard, and I hope you enjoy your stay!