…a decade of camps…
Way back in 2011 – a DECADE ago, goodness – after four years of chatting online, our quilting chat group decided to take the plunge, and organise an in-person meeting. We found a place that offered crafting retreats within a few hours drive of a lot of us. It looked ideal for our purposes, and so we booked in for the last weekend in November. And just like that, an annual tradition was born. Over the years, the group has changed as people drop in and out, with only Car and I being the last ones remaining from that very first group.
Until, that is, 2018. For the very first time since we started camp, Car couldn’t make it. Life exploded fairly spectacularly for her, and we missed her, but we came up with a plan to make her feel included and not too bummed she couldn’t be with us. Enter: Where In The World is Carrose San Diego. At one of our in-between catch ups, I had taken a photo that was deliciously memeable. We had a blast taking “Car” out to breakfast, and to the beach, and to an art gallery opening.
Silly? Sure. Fun? Absolutely. Life is too short to take oneself too seriously. More importantly though, making our dear friend feel included and part of the proceedings was much more important that what a gallery full of people I would never see again thought of me. We snapped photos all weekend long, dropping them in the group chat for that immersive, camp-by-proxy experience. Beforehand, I had sent her a “camp in a box” with all the essentials one would need to survive camp at home. Afterwards, I also compiled all our photos into a hardcover album for her to keep.
The fun continued in 2019, where I received from Car, a fabulous handcrafted memory book, with highlights and photos from each and every camp, including a blank page for me to fill in 2018, and space to add 2019/2020/2021.
Isn’t it beautiful? It’s such a wonderful keepsake of the years we’ve had on retreat. I think because our face to face time is so limited, in a way it’s good in that we take So Many Photos. Both of us being photography enthusiasts probably helps too, but I definitely have more photos with our camp group than I do with my local friends. Possibly the fact 2020 and 2021 were left empty wasn’t a great sign? We’v joked more than once that the book is a jinx.
Missing people is, I think, a universal theme over the last 18 months. Camp 2021 is an at-home affair, but I am hoping by camp 2022 things might be slowly getting back to normal (ever the optimist. I said that about 2021 as well!). In the meantime though, the years of messaging and connecting remotely are serving us in great stead. We continue to chat online. We come up with joint projects and challenges. We set up zoom dates. We watch tv shows apart-but-together. Eventually, we will be able to hug and go for a walk and stay up far too late laughing far too hard. Until then, we get creative. Care packaged and group chats and making the most of the weekend. Apart-but-together. After all these years we are well versed in making the most of a lack of face to face time.