How Recreation Found Me

I’m almost half-way through my year-long challenge and even though I’ve learned so many different and awesome recreational sports, the brand I’m living (REI) is a plethora of all things recreational, not just sports.  So to discover what recreation could encompass, I decided to take my boys camping in the San Juan Islands during the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

This trip was scheduled around my youngest son’s birthday since he absolutely loves nature and I planned multiple excursions with throwbacks to my Geocaching and Longboarding adventures, as well as May’s Bike to Work month focus…. cycling!

To prepare for the weekend REI came through on multiple levels for us, first of all I downloaded their camping checklist and started getting equipment set aside months ago.  We needed a tent, sleeping bags, campfire chairs, lantern and of course the youngest’s birthday present (which had to be a bike!) and all of these items REI supplied us with at every turn.  I visited the Issaquah and Seattle store so much in preparation for this trip that I’m absolutely the Foursquare Mayor of both places by now.  Not to mention I have quite the growing online REI wish lists and I’m not ashamed to tell you right now… I could buy that whole store for REAL!  In 6 months I have grown quite fond of being the adult-kid in the recreational-candy-store and I bet you I’m not the only one.

For those that have never camped, or have very few times (like me) REI has multiple ways to learn how to get started.  From their online videos and checklists to their in-store classes, REI always has excellent resources to get you on your way, and it’s always the staff who are happy to help you with your next adventure.  In fact, I had other customers adding their best camping tips into our conversations which is always wonderful to see, the enthusiasm and passion for the outdoors that everybody in the REI brand exhibits!

So with all our supplies purchased, my checklists complete and our essentials packed up, we set out for the islands…

Much of our weekend was spent Longboarding, Hiking, Geocaching and exploring every inch of our new island playground.  We loved the beaches, the paved roads at our campsite for learning to ride a bike, the hills of Mt. Constitution for shooting the next Longboarding video and of course trying to find Geocaches in hidden beaches (which were never found).  And each evening, after our day’s adventures, we cozied up to our breathtaking campsite for another evening of widdling wood, playing games, roasting marshmallows and sleeping REALLY WELL in our new comfy and warm REI sleeping bags and our spacious REI Kingdom 6 tent!

After three and a half days of campfire smells, no schedules and lots of nature, it was hard to say goodbye.  Which is not an easy statement to make coming from a person who has camped out less than 5 times in her life!  After getting prepared through all of REI’s resources, and after days of sleeping very comfortably thanks to excellent equipment, I have to admit that I grew fond of camping for the first time in my life.  And after hearing my son’s statements like “I was disconnected (from technology) for days and didn’t get bored” or “we going to campsite again mommy” I have a fondness of this lifestyle and ALL things recreational now.

Don’t get me wrong, half-way through my year-long challenge and I’m still as driven as ever to learn every recreational sport I can (and this summer promises to be thrilling for sure!) but now my definition of recreation holds a much broader influence throughout my challenge…. and I can’t wait to know recreation better by continuing to live the brand that got me here, REI.

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