Let me first start off by expressing gratitude to the Wonderful Women of Waxahachie, Sisters on the Fly and Girl Campers that made my first camping trip an experience that I will never forget. These ladies embraced me with warm hugs, kindness, and tips and tricks for camping. What I experienced was true sisterhood at its finest. I thought camping meant that I had to get dirty, sleep in an uncomfortable tent and have restless nights worrying about being mauled by a bear. But, that is not so! These fantastic women showed me how to camp and in style! Wither it is in a vintage trailer, minivan or back of an SUV the possibilities are endless.
For the last few years, I have been dreaming of going camping, but no one I know camps or was enthusiastic about the idea when I mentioned the word camping or sleeping in a tent. I wanted to know what it felt like to sleep under the stars. So, I decided that I would go camping by myself that I had nothing to fear but fear itself! I did my research, planned my trip and purchased a tent! But before I was to leave for my trip, I was invited to an all-girls camping trip from Janine Pettit who is a girl camper, a jewel and a person with a heart of gold. I packed my bags and hit the road! Waxahachie, Texas here I come!
Being a newbie camper, I did not know what to pack for my trip other than toiletries, tent, pillows and a fan. It never crossed my mind that the night temperatures might drop below 30 degrees which it did and I never got to use my fan. Ha! Not to worry though, Janine and several women had me covered. Offering their extra blankets, portable heaters, and trailers to sleep in. I was blown away by so much kindness which I experienced from everyone that I met including the city workers of Waxahachie that was assisting us in any way that we needed.
I was the only black person that I saw and never did I feel like my color was an issue. I got so many warm greetings and compliments that I am still basking in them. At no time did I feel unwanted or unsafe and as you can imagine, safety is always a top priority for me since I travel solo. I am a person that does not see color. I feel that we are all God’s children and that we come in different shapes, sizes, and shades. We would be boring if we all looked the same, right? When I researched Sisters on the Fly and browsed through photos, I did not see anyone that looked like me, and I could have allowed that to be my excuse not to go. But I did not! I love learning from others especially in how they live, beliefs and cultures.
As a very introverted person, I use to live in a cocoon where it was always safe only hanging out with the same people doing the same thing. After a while, it got boring especially when I was ready to spread my wings and fly, and everyone else wanted to stay nestled in the nest. We live in a beautiful world with some great people regardless of all the hate and crime that we see in the media. I have been very fortunate to meet some of those great people in the last four years of traveling solo. I have learned that on the other side of your comfort zone is where great things happen. Were strangers treat you better than some lifelong friends. We do not meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason. Remember, that every new friend is a new adventure and the start of more great memories.
As I lied down for the night, curled under a warm fluffy down comforter, crunching on Doritos praying that a squirrel did not maul me to death for my late-night snack. I pondered back on the day and became overwhelmed with emotions for my bravery and courageous self for stepping out of my comfort zone which allowed me to have the best first camping experience ever. To meeting amazing people and allowing them to meet me. I will never forget the laughter and good conversation shared with like-minded people from the dinner table to the firepit where we sat in our pj’s, robes, blankets and fuzzy slippers laughing the night away. I will never forget the morning greetings that everyone expressed to each other as we made our way across the campground with bedhead and missing eyelashes. One by one we head to the bathroom to brush our teeth and wash our faces. Each person was as pleasant as the night before. Spending one last time around the breakfast table or neighbors tent for one last hug and well wishes before we went our separate ways!
If you are looking for a sweet retreat where you can laugh the worries of life away with good people I recommend you check out the “Sisters on the Fly” webpage, and Janine’s podcast “Girl Campers” to learn more about these fabulous ladies that go places and do things!
“It is the friends that we meet along the way that bring new energy to our soul and help us appreciate the journey.”
Janine, thank you for the invitation and fluffy down comforter. I am forever grateful that you invited me on this camping trip. It was an experience that I will never forget. I get tickled everything I think about sleeping under a down comforter in a tent. Life is good!
Neiena, thank you for teaching me how to pitch my tent and being the best tent neighbor, any gal could wish for. And sharing your special gift of humor with us.
Laurie, you represent the city of Waxahachie very well. You went above and beyond the call of duty to take good care of us – thank you. I also want to thank you for being so kind to me and helping me find the perfect camping spot next to the best tent neighbor ever!
I look forward to camping with the beautiful SOTF again. Thank you all for making my first camping trip a success and one that I will never forget!