So I have been doing research on this job change for awhile now and I have to take issue with one of the quotes that keeps popping up. “Read at least 3 books on any given subject and you’re an expert on the subject.” Really? 3 Books is all it takes to become an expert on a topic! I guess they’ve never experienced camping! I mean I’m no Henry Ford, but even I know that you can’t know everything by reading 3 BOOKS!!!
I suppose that when you read about the great outdoors and how unpredictable it can be, you may be inclined to believe that by packing everything in your house and your kitchen sink, you’ll be ok in the outdoors. Oh so wrong!! I am a firm believer in the Boy Scout motto, “Be prepared.” But what I know from experience is that sometimes, you just have to ride out the storm in the truck/car.
Take for instance, our first camping trip together as a married couple. We were young and in love and trying to camp at our favorite camping grounds, only to find there were no spots available. No problem, we’ll just move to another campground just around the lake from where we were. We had just bought our first tent, just received a camping certificate for free rental, and had only been married maybe a month, two tops. This was going to be great!!!!!
This turned out great, but we watched as a storm rolled in and filled our little campsite with over 6 inches of water, not to mention that the grounds where we did find a spot, dug out the tent location and put small gravel into the area so as to provide a good level spot (6 inches below the ground level). So as a young and dumb couple of kids experienced the torrential rain, and we watched as a box of facial tissue started soaking up the 12 inches of rain that was sitting in the bottom of our tent, we didn’t make out like I had planned. Jenny cried, HARD! I was mad at the campgrounds and what was worse was the rental was non-refundable. We did manage to finagle another night rental certificate from the host on our way out, soaking gear in the back of the pick-up. I remember not even folding the tent, I just pulled the stakes out, managed to undo as many connections from the poles that I could, and stuffed it under the Tonneau cover that I had on my truck at the time. I’m not even sure that we unpacked the sleeping bags from the tent floor, or the clothes for that matter. I do remember telling Jenny on the way home, that we would park the truck, behind the garage, so no one would know that we were home and we would “camp” at home, which we did.
Experts as we were at that point, we didn’t take into consideration things like weather when we camped, or even location and conditions of the site. We were just like I said, young and dumb. Please don’t get me wrong, I have read a great many books in my life, and continue to believe that reading is fundamental in the knowledge of something, BUT you have got to have real-world experience in order to be an expert. That is where my philosophy and many of these other people’s has differed. I was taught a process of learning that I believe has to be incorporated into every experience you want to learn.
So what’s the process? Think about how you’ve learned anything in your life. If you have a thing in mind, remember back to the first moments that you didn’t know anything about this. It’s really hard, but the not-knowing was scary and exciting at the same time. Who was there? Usually it was a parent or a teacher. What were they doing? They were doing the thing that you couldn’t. They were showing you the right way, hopefully, of doing this process successfully. So, first must come some form of example, followed by a little experiment with the parent/ teacher around to show you, hands-on what to do, and then they have to let go and let you do it, ON YOUR OWN! You are going to make mistakes, but that is where the expertise comes to be finely polished and you become more and more proficient. You don’t just stand up and walk as a baby, nor do you just start riding your bike, driving (I wish I had been around for teaching some people how to do this!) or anything else. You must have practice to be good enough to perform any task. Camping is not something to give up on. If we had given up after that first experience, we would never have gotten to see our little boys enjoy throwing leaves at the campsite, never enjoyed taking naps on the hammock, not gotten to spend time with valued members of our family on a more personal level. We also wouldn’t have the bad experiences, but when you look back on your experiences, MOST of the time, only the good memories remain and the bad are a whole heap funnier than they were at the time. Keep trying, it’s a lot more fun to try than to quit and give up.