Camping On Thanksgiving

Camping On Thanksgiving

Have you ever cooked an entire meal in a cramped trailer?

Thanksgiving: often defined as a traditional, religious holiday in which participants invest in giving thanks to God for all of the blessings their lives hold.

Within this classic textbook definition, I would like to point out the word traditional, because my Thanksgivings are far from traditional. Thoughts of family surrounding a dinner table slathered in delicious turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, etc. come to mind. Is my mouth the only one watering right now just thinking about it?

Anyhow, back on track – Thanksgivings can be far from traditional. Well, it depends on the season. I love indulging in a traditional Thanksgiving. We all gather at my cousin’s house considering my Aunt ALWAYS hosts Thanksgiving. It’s such a rewarding time where you truly do realize what you are grateful for, your family and all the quirky memories you share.

While my Aunty Lisa’s Thanksgiving has a special place in my heart – how could I miss her classic sweet potato casserole? Yet, there was one Thanksgiving where my parents decided to fly down the nontraditional route with gusto. Rather than spend Thanksgiving in the city, it was decided we would have a small Thanksgiving in the middle of some forest. This did not bode well initially. What about Aunty Lisa’s? What about seeing the family? What about the food?

It became apparent that my judgements were too harsh jumping to hasty assumptions that proved false. On this Thanksgiving, we spent it in a trailer hidden in the trees. We spent the day riding quads around with the chilly breeze making Thanksgiving all the more festive. Once dinner time came around, our plates were licked clean – we deep-fried a turkey. If you’ve had deep-fried turkey, then you can relate to the “plates being licked clean.”

However, it wasn’t the simple Thanksgiving dinner, it was the experience. An experience entailing the changing colors of the forest leaves trickling down from the sky. Beneath these auburn giants, a little creek captures the leaves as they float like little sailboats hoping to survive the rocky waters up ahead. To compliment the beauty of this nature, iridescent, golden sunrays glimmer through the treetop canvas. Sparkling along the creek, the sun is drawn to the leaves; illuminating hues of a burnt sunset, you felt incased in this little paradise. Sitting along the edge of the creek, my feet upset the current as refreshing water washed over me. Laying back and taking it all in, I wanted to take a photo but I realized no photo could ever capture the beauty of this moment – this moment of pure bliss that I knew my memory would never let me forget.

It’s these moments, these moments where Thankfulness flourishes not simply because some holiday declares so, but because people have joy in their hearts. We are surrounded by what makes our lives worth living. Sometimes this isn’t a cookie cutter Thanksgiving at my Aunt’s house, sometimes it’s a messy Thanksgiving in a cramped trailer followed by a breathtaking sunset.

This being said, try something new this year. You’ll be surprised how your perspective changes. Who knows, you’ll probably have a few new things to be thankful for. So, experiment! Try volunteering or take a spontaneous trip to the forest. But never forget to give thanks for what truly lights up your heart every day.

Cover Image Credit: Cecile Vedemil

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33 Basic Summer Bucket List Ideas For College Girls That Don't SUCK

27. Stay up all night and watch the sun come up

The weather is finally getting warmer and summer is just two short months away.

The other day I got my first whiff of food being cooked on the way home and it made me think of all the stuff I want to do this summer and what I want to accomplish in the upcoming months. It also made me think about how I make the same promises to myself every year and don't accomplish half of the things I want. So, this year, I decided to make a summer bucket list. I've heard of people doing this and I always thought it was kind of stupid, but I figure writing it down would motivate me more than just thinking, "That would be a nice thing to do."

So here are some things on my summer bucket list and hopefully they inspire you to go out and have the best summer of your life.

1. Find and do a summer exercise challenge

2. Go on a road trip

3. Visit a water park

4. Make fresh-squeezed lemonade

5. Have a water fight

6. Attend at least one outdoor concert

7. Research and apply to internships

8. Start journaling

9. Sign up for a class

10. Spend an afternoon on a boat

11. Read a new book every month of the summer

12. Eat fried dough

13. Attend a fair

14. Spend the day at a beach

15. Roast a marshmallow and make s’mores

16. Host an awesome summer party

17. Go to a drive-in movie

18. Cook something you never cooked before

19. Have an epic movie marathon with friends

20. Go river tubing

21. Reconnect with friends you haven’t seen in a while

22. Eat lunch on a dock

23. Order a new flavor of ice cream

24. Go bowling

25. Take pictures in a photo booth

26. Go shopping on a boardwalk

27. Stay up all night and watch the sun come up

28. Eat pizza by a pool

29. Do a Pinterest craft

30. Ride a four wheeler

31. Big an epic blanket fort

32. Go to an aquarium

33. Lay in the back of a pickup truck

Cover Image Credit: footsloggers_outdoors//Instagram

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Do Not Waste Your Summer Away

Just because your summer fantasy isn't reality does not mean it is a waste.

With summer quickly approaching, it is quite easy to fall in the trap of perpetual laziness and idle daily routine. God knows I am guilty of having my lazy summers. Of course, summer days when you decide to not go out and stay inside to watch Netflix or spend all day on your phone are welcomed. However, it is super important to not waste your precious summer days away.

The months of June, July, and August are the three quickest months of the year. I try my best to cherish every single day of the summer months because before you know it, they are gone. As I'm growing older, summers are going by even faster. It has allowed me to realize how much I wish to make every day count. To do something productive — no matter how big or small — each day is essential.

With having no school and no homework or projects, it is very easy to lose motivation to do, well, quite frankly, anything. As I said, I have had my fair share of lazy days. They are okay to have here and there, but I have also learned it is all too easy to fall victim to this vicious cycle of an unproductive routine. Once you have had one lazy day, it progresses into two lazy days, then five lazy days, and so on. DO NOT LET THIS BECOME YOUR SUMMER. Take control of your summer and make the most of it because (sadly) it does not last forever.

If you are anything like me, you have always held a dream of what your summer should be. My summer fantasy consists of living at the beach, working at an ice cream shop, visiting the beach every single day, being tan, and having a summer fling. Unfortunately, this fantasy summer has never become reality. Maybe it will someday, but not this year at least. It's vital to keep yourself grounded as well. I've learned that this might never become reality, and that's okay. Maybe some aspects of it may come true, but just because your summer does not consist of all of your fantasies, does not mean it is a waste.

I believed in this notion for a long time: that because I wasn't at the beach every day, because I wasn't tan, because I didn't have a "bikini body," because I wasn't traveling somewhere every day, that my summer was invaluable. That I wasted three months doing nothing important. But this wasn't truly the case. I just believed that since I wasn't doing something considered "fun" every day, that I wasted three whole months of my life. What I now realize is that I just wasn't making the most of the situations I was given. One of the most painful realizations of growing up is that you are not going to be able to do something fun all the time. This lesson was much to my dismay. When you're little, summer consists of no school and doing something fun every day. There's no work... and then you get older.

In addition to working A LOT this summer, I'm planning to also go to the gym, write an article for Odyssey every week, read plenty of books, lose weight, and attempt to grow my hair out. These are all practical goals, and it is important to set goals and not lose sight of them. It's summer and we don't want to even think about setting goals, but we must always be striving to better ourselves. This notion applies even during our days, weeks, or months off.

A few years ago, just reading that list of goals would've made me say, "no." I want my summer to be my summer. I don't want to have to work all the time, I want to hang out with my friends, go to the beach, go to the park and everything else in between. I don't want to be expected anywhere. However, I've grown up in the past few years and realized that I have to work, whether I like it or not, and just because I'm working does not mean I won't have time for my friends and doing other fun things. And if I work a lot, the more money I will have, and the more things I will be able to do.

I mean yeah, it's disappointing, I guess. Everyone wants to be able to do whatever they want with their summer, but that's just life. This allows us to appreciate fun times with friends and family more. So, set your goals. You'll feel great once you achieve them, and don't forget to have fun in between those goals.

Always strive for balance! Have a great summer, everyone :)

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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