with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

We live on vacation

Our trailer parked in the old site at Shady Acres Campground, photograph by Lorelle VanFossenFriday arrived with a note from a friend wishing me a good holiday weekend and telling me all about what he would be doing on his three day vacation. He wanted to know what I was going to do this Memorial Weekend. All of a sudden that question struck me as really funny.

I live in a campground where people go to play and vacation. What the hell am I going to do on a three day weekend when I live in a place people want to be?

If I go away from here to another place where people are playing and vacationing, they will all be there, playing and vacationing, and I will not be “alone” but with a crowd. That’s no fun. Part of the joy of “vacation” for us is to get away from people, not get “with people”.

Since Shady Acres Campground is right off Interstate 10, it’s very popular for people passing through on their way to or from Florida or crisscrossing the southern United States. Two highways split the lower 48 states, Interstate 10 and 20, so there are millions of people passing by on the highway less than a 1/2 mile from our campground.

Shady Acres Campground, Mobile, Alabama, photograph by Lorelle VanFossen

Every day I see people coming in and out of the campground on their way to or from somewhere. They come in expensive motor homes, cheap trailers, rented class c motor homes, and vans. Tents aren’t allowed here, as there are no facilities for them, but this was a place for tents and those “roughing it” many decades ago when it first opened up as a fish camp on the river.

For them, this is a place to rest on their way, stay and explore the area from here, or sit on the dock and fish, walk the quiet streets and trails, and just relax. Be on vacation.

Since I live where people vacation, where would I go?

Vacation for us means…

When Brent and I go on vacation, we get “away”. We travel a lot on work-related or hobby-related destinations. Rarely do we vacation for the sake of vacation.

Tricolored herons doing a mating ritual in Florida, photograph by Brent VanFossenWe almost always have a goal in mind, something to do, photograph, and see. Nature subjects are our favorite, of course, along with archeological and historical sites on occasion, so we are often chasing elk, moose, wildflowers, deer, rabbits, pika, and other interesting fuzzy creatures, insects, and plant life. But honestly, we chase a lot of birds. Brent adores his bird watching and bird photography. So we go for the birds.

I can’t even remember the last time we just “vacationed”. I mean, what would we do with ourselves? Sit still. Be quiet. Read a book. Relax?

The welcome sign for Shady Acres Campgounrd Mobile AlabamaOh, wait. We stay home in our campground. We can take a walk through the nature trail outside of our door down to the river. We can read a book, be quiet, play with our hobbies, and we are ON vacation. Away from noise, away from people, away from the pressure to DO and BE.

So my answer is….we’re staying home this vacation weekend.

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