My First Time Camping Changed My Life

My First Time Camping Changed My Life

Sleeping in the middle of the woods for one week was terrifying and absolutely lovely at the same time.

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Last week I was a camp counselor for an amazing group of kids and I have to say, it was one of the best weeks of my life. Not gonna lie, when I first walked into my cabin and saw a chipmunk scurry across the dusty floors, I screamed. Loudly. Then I screamed once more when I realized there were no outlets to charge my phone.

I remember the struggle of climbing to my top bunk and almost falling off every single morning. Oh, and the bathrooms were horrific. It was a cozy home to many spiders and beetles, but it was more like a haunted house for me. I made sure to close my eyes while showering so I didn't have to look at the musty walls surrounding me.

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But every night, the cool breeze of the woods and the sound of rain drizzling on the roof of the cabin would gently put me to sleep. Even though I would have to wake up at 6:00 AM the next morning, I slept like a baby and was fully rested the next day. As much as it was frustrating not to touch my phone for about 14 hours a day, it was liberating, too. I felt more relaxed and no longer had that urge to check on my Snapchat streaks and go through my Instagram feed. I was happier than ever getting to know my kids, playing all kinds of games with them, and singing camp songs all day.

My favorite part was the campfires. When someone handed me a stick with a giant, puffy marshmallow, I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. I cautiously held it over the sparkling fire and watched it become this perfect golden glow. As one of the other counselors squished my marshmallow in between the crackers covered with chocolate, I started tapping my feet like a little kid.

As I took my first bite, I felt like the happiest girl in the world. My campers were looking at me like I was crazy for never trying a s'more before. They were right though, I was quite crazy for trying it so late. Apparently, I was missing a lot of magic and gooey happiness in my life.

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I'd done quite a few things I've never done before at camp. I went rock climbing for the first time, and yes, it was pretty tough. I also went zip lining through the woods, and almost felt my heart jump out of my chest. It was a rush of excitement and fear all at once. I also participated in my first color wars and unfortunately, a lot of the powder went into my mouth rather than on my white shirt.

Oh, and it was also my first time trying a corn dog. Yes, I know what you're thinking: "Did this girl even have a childhood?" I'm just so grateful I went through all these first-time experiences surrounded by people who made my first week of camping so incredible and memorable.

As I go through all the Facebook photos, I can't help but feel the wave of nostalgia hit me like a truck. Despite the spiders and raccoons and hideous bathrooms, camping was such an inspiring and magical experience. I feel so blessed to have met so many great people and create new friendships and memories that I will always remember.

Thank you, Camp Kesem.

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The Ultimate Minnesota Waterfall Roadtrip

No matter the season, you'll want to make this trip.
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Minnesota's glacially carved landscape is marked with countless remarkable natural features, including some of the best waterfalls in the country.

No matter the season, it is worth the trip. You can do this road trip in two ways: 1) Start south of Minneapolis at Vermillion Falls in Hastings, or 2) Start at Wolf Creek Falls at Banning State Park just south of Duluth,following the scenic Lake Superior shoreline for the remainder of the drive up to the Canadian border.


1) Vermillion Falls in Hastings, MN


2) Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis, MN

Bonus picture because it's cool...


3) Wolf Creek Falls at Banning State Park


4) Gooseberry Falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park


5) High Falls at Tettegouche State Park


6) High Falls at George Crosby Manitou State Park


7) Cross River Falls in Schroeder, MN


9) Temperance River Falls at Temperance River State Park


10) Poplar River Falls in Lutsen, MN


11) Cascade River Falls at Cascade River State Park


12) Devil's Kettle Judge C.R. Magney State Park


13) High Falls on the Pigeon River in Grand Portage, MN

Instagram post by Pat Dakolios • Aug 1, 2016 at 3:13pm UTC


Now what are you waiting for? Get going!



Cover Image Credit: Microsoft 2017

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10 Songs That Were Made For Long Car Rides

The ride home from college shouldn't have t be flipping through every song in your playlist.

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As college semesters start coming to a close with the dreaded finals, students will begin to head home for the holidays. If the college kids are anything like me, they have a few hour drive to get to their hometown or wherever they are spending the holidays. Here are ten rocking songs that are sure to make your car rides home feel a little bit faster.

1. "Burn the House Down" - AJR

The trumpets have this nice cruising down the high way feel while sticking your hand out the window (unless it's raining).

2. "My Blood" - Twenty One Pilots

An anthem for you and your friends when you want to lift each other up and know you've always got someone there for you.

3. "Valentine" - 5 Seconds of Summer

Whenever I listen to this song all I can do is bop my head. Their voices are so smooth and the beat just puts a smile on my face.

4. "Kamikaze" - WALK THE MOON

Taking a step in the direction you are most uncomfortable with, but doing so with confidence. This is a great pump up song when heading to anything you are scared to do.

5. "Simple" - Florida Georgia Line

Imagine cruising down the freeway along a river, not a worry in sight. Just enjoying the scenic view.

6. "Breathin" - Ariana Grande

For anyone going through something, it is nice to just have a little "pick-me-up." Just keep breathin'.

7. "Tip Toes" - half alive

A nice little alternative rock song to get your blood pumping.

8. "Why" - NF

Gotta have an angry rap song to scream the lyrics of. If you've got any pent up aggression, which I'm sure you do.

9. "Do It All The Time" - I DON'T KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME

This is that one random song you don't skip, but half way through realize you wish you did, but you some how enjoy the song.

10. "Feel Something" - Jaymes Young

If you're single and getting a little desperate, here's a nice one to just sing all alone to your solemn self in the car.

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