Mother Nature has been a great spiritual guide throughout my adult life, although I wish I’d reconnected with her sooner. As a little girl, I used to spend hours daydreaming in my mother’s garden, picking berries, catching frogs, growing all kinds of things. Our family friends owned a greenhouse down the street, where I worked growing up. In this way, I came to love of gardening, cooking, and nature from an early age.
During college I found my calling in an Environmental Science and Policy degree, with an Earth and Ocean Science minor. I wanted to see the world, explore wild places, and understand how to care for nature through clean energy and sustainable design. However, at that time I was feeling very confused about the world and my place in it. Feeling inadequate somehow, self-conscious about my under-exposure to certain things growing up in an Ohio suburb. Feeling detached from my roots because I didn’t identify with that place anymore. Wanting to do something meaningful and socially beneficial with my career, but I would say lacking awareness around privilege and power. I was out of balance with nature and the universe.
Internally, I struggled with the aftermath of a traumatic event that would haunt me for years. That nature-loving young girl from Ohio had her life forever changed by a random act of violence. While on vacation with my family in Disney World one summer, I was violently attacked and sexually assaulted by a complete stranger. I was 14 years old and it completely broke me.
When something like that happens to you, your human brain launches all of the normal defense mechanisms and they all fail. Afterwards, your biological response is to kick your brain into high alert and adopt the habit of hyper-awareness from that moment on. Sensory triggers – a scent that you catch, a voice that you hear, entering darkness – all grip you with fear. And it is painfully terrifying and arduous to reprogram your brain to be brave. To prevent fear from ruining otherwise healthy relationships, and learning to let go when things veer towards the unhealthy with someone whose affections you desire.
But that is exactly what survivors must do. We fight that battle and regain control of our relationships, our emotions, our courage, and our purpose. For me, that meant embracing a somewhat nomadic lifestyle once I was uprooted from my hometown and never looking back. But then knowing in not looking back I was not facing the losses experienced there and integrating that into my being, which was important to do too. It meant building the confidence to take on big challenges to advance into the next phase of my career, and admitting to myself why communicating poorly and lacking better emotional management would only hold me back . Perhaps most importantly, it meant going on a spiritual journey to really put violence and suffering in context. Over the years meeting teachers who would help me understand more about privilege and power, the intersectionality of social issues. Opening my heart to spiritual guidance from Mother Nature, pure imagination, and great reads from authors like Brian Weiss and Clarissa Pinkola Estes. And fucking glamping.
I accidentally discovered my new favorite hobby while driving from Austin to San Francisco with my houseplants. I gave away most of my belongings and packed the rest in my car, which somehow included lots of exotic printed fabrics and pillows. Because I was moving my life from one place to another, I also had all of these quality organic soaps, lotions, and beauty products, along with most of my wardrobe. I just happened to be pitching a tent and sleeping in lovely natural places along the way. And one might as well deck that shit out if one has mountains of vibrant prints, LED lights and houseplants. Let’s make a camp a home while we’re at it, you know? Not in the questionable RV park sort of way, but in the let’s cook on cast iron skillets and make friends in the wilderness sort of way.
Glamping is amazing and hilarious to me, and incredibly fucking liberating. As a woman who’s had to continuously challenge herself to stop feeling afraid and recover from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, sleeping by myself under the stars gives me the greatest sense of accomplishment in a very healing sort of way. Knowing that the best revenge is feeling fucking awesome and alive. Connected to nature, balanced, and unafraid but fully aware.
This blog is a testament to that journey and the glory of glamping. Thank you for stopping by.