A Way for the Weekend

Jon’s supervisor asked about our plans for the weekend, and he told her we were headed to one of our favorite backyard campgrounds. She asked why do we stay so close to home when there are so many great destinations just a few hours away.

Well, considering we start most weekends on Fridays at 5 p.m., and then return home around 6 p.m. on Sundays, we have roughly 48 hours of “weekend” time. It takes about an hour to get set up and another hour to break camp, so the last thing we want to do is spend up to six of those remaining precious hours driving to and from one of those “great destinations.”

Our closest parks are Cedar Hill State Park, about a 15 minute-drive from our storage unit, and Loyd Park, about a 30-minute drive. So, a visit to one of these local parks saves us four or five hours behind the wheel.

Jon’s supervisor then asked what there was to do at a local campground.

Let’s make one thing clear. When we go camping, we’re not interested in doing things. We don’t go camping just to get set up and then head out again. We don’t care for “movies at the beach,” or “scavenger hunts through the park,” or “stargazing parties.” We don’t choose a destination because it offers nearby shopping or antiquing or area attractions. We just want to get away in our tiny home and totally decompress.

We enjoy wonderful meals and we take long walks and we gaze at the sunset. We snuggle with our doggies and we hold hands and we binge-read The New York Times and The Washington Post. We binge watch-our favorite streaming series and we re-watch old movies and we listen to music.

Jon’s supervisor said it didn’t sound much different than what we might do on any other weekend at home.

So why go to all the trouble of getting away at all?

Quite simply, even if the “away” is our own backyard, it’s still a million miles from Monday. When we’re away from it all, we don’t do when we spend the weekend at home. We don’t do chores; we don’t do yard work; we don’t do laundry; we don’t run errands; we don’t fret over finances. And we don’t fall asleep, exhausted, in front of the TV.

In other words, we don’t do what we typically do.

We are so often overwhelmed by the complexity of daily life that the very idea of getting away from it all is quite compelling. And we love getting away from it all in our Airstream.

Like many Airstream owners, we’ve given our tiny home a name. We call it Cloud 9. Our particular Airstream is the popular Flying Cloud model, so we wanted a name that referred to it. And we wanted a name that conveyed the sense of bliss we experienced while we were in it. So Cloud 9 seemed just right.

And everything about Cloud 9 is just right. It’s a completely self-contained environment. We have everything we need to live large in a small space.

In the first century before the common era (BCE), the Roman engineer Vetruvius wrote a guide for building projects that influenced Greek and Roman architectural design for centuries. He said that an ideal structure should be solid, useful and beautiful — in imitation of nature. A bird’s nest and a bee’s hive, although simple structures, are solid, useful and beautiful, particularly to the birds and the bees that inhabit them. Thus, even a simple shelter in a forest can be virtuous.

Cloud 9 is just such an ideal structure. It may be mobile, but it’s sturdy, useful and beautiful. More like a luxurious studio apartment than a camper, it is an aesthetically attractive refuge. Is it any wonder we can’t wait until our next weekend outing, even if it is right in our own backyard?