We’ve come and gone from Myrtle Beach State Park and are now situated next to beautiful Lake Gaston, on the border between North Carolina and Virginia. We’re on the North Carolina side.
When I say this place is heavenly, I mean that this setting is what I sometimes envision heaven to look like. Without all the RV’s. Although you figure even in heaven, everyone’s got to live somewhere, right? So why not an RV? Except maybe in heaven, everyone gets to have a beautiful, unobstructed view like I have right now.
I’ll soon post about the wonderful time we’ve had over the last few days, staying in some wonderful settings and enjoying some good times with a couple of friends. I’ll include some photos. But I wanted to post about something else today.
This morning, Robin … another friend from the teardrop camper group … mentioned on Facebook that she was just returning from a three-day camping trip and how, “women that camp are down to earth wonderful people.”
It really got me to thinking about the people we’ve met while camping. You know, I’ll bet that Frank and I have met and spoken with over 1,000 fellow campers. It ranges from exchanging pleasantries as people walked by all the way up to deep conversations that could only be had while sitting in the camp chair.
These are people from all walks of life. Some were in little pup tents while others were in RVs that had to cost $300,000! And everything in between. Campers who would go home to cities, suburbs, and out-of-the-way places.
Some were retired seniors and others were young adventurers. There were traditional families, kids camping with favorite aunts and uncles, big family reunions, single men and women, and partners in relationships – gay and straight.
There were people who liked rock and rap and country and classical and alternative and just about any other type of music you can come up with … and there a couple of times when I was reminded that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover when people surprised me with musical preferences that ran opposite their looks.
I even ran into a few old retired farts like me, but not like me. All having different reasons why they’re living this lifestyle. Those were some of my favorites, although I will admit to the possibility of a little bias. : o)
And all those above? They were pretty much every ethnicity, political ideology and spiritual belief you can think of.
With all that said, it seemed like none of those differences mattered because all anyone seemed to see was a fellow camper. That sounds a bit cliche, I know. Sure, it’s easy to get along when everybody’s relaxed and away from the office and having a good time. That could be part of the reason why everybody got along. It’s possible.
Except what I saw wasn’t people being “nice” to one another just because they were kicking back having a few beers. I saw campers reach out and genuinely offer help without any thought of identity differences. Help might have been anything from setting up a tent, to backing a car up to a hitch, to saying, “I’m going in the town. Is there anything you need?” All for pretty much total strangers.
They never showed anything but respect for their fellow campers. And they shared freely of their food, drink, and laughter. That goes well beyond niceties. It demonstrates a basic goodness. To witness that is a blessing.
Obviously there are the exceptions that prove the rule. But I can probably count on one hand the number of asshole campers I’ve encountered. The ones who stuck out from the others like a sore thumb. Or the number of times I witnessed someone being a jerk to another camper, for whatever reason the bad encounter occurred.
And I would probably have fingers left over.
I had a momentary twinge of sadness when I thought about that for a while this morning, recalling my mental state the month before I started out three years ago..
I remember back then, when my view of my fellow man was clouded by limited contact with people in the real world. When all my business was conducted over the phone or through email. And any other contact was either through Facebook or political chat threads. I had a few friends that I spoke with on the phone every now and then, but that was all.
But when you come out of isolation, things change. Over the past two years, I’ve met so many great folks. I’ve been trying to think of just a few of them to mention here, but there have been so many examples that it’s simply too difficult to mention only a few without mentioning them all! I’ve talked about most of them here in the blog. Click on any month at random from the index over on the right hand side and you’ll read about them. They have all contributed to the restoration of my belief that there are way more good people in the world than bad.
It wasn’t the people that had changed. Any changes that happened? They were all inside me, my perceptions, my triggers and my biases. So that’s why I had that flash of sadness (which hung around for all of 30 seconds and was gone as quickly as it came – another change). I had allowed my vision to become so clouded. And my outlook to become so cynical. And my faith in mankind to have been replaced by hopelessness. That’s not hyperbole. I felt completely hopeless when I started this journey. It began out of desperation.
But on Easter Sunday, I celebrate my 2nd birthday on the road. I think that’s why I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect a bit on the journey. And on the blessings I never expected to find. Funny, but all I had to do to find these particular ones was open my eyes and look.