Twenty-one years ago, my family started a tradition. We go camping for Thanksgiving. Every year.
At the time, we lived in Grand Haven, MI. For those that haven’t endured a winter on Lake Michigan’s coast, November isn’t often described as “mild” or “brisk.” Rather, I recall regularly waking up to a foot or more of fresh snow and being disappointed that the snow crews had somehow still managed to clear all of the roads before sunrise. Needless to say, camping in November in Michigan isn’t the warmest, coziest, or most popular suggestion.
Since birth, I’ve been tent camping in every type of weather from rain, sleet and snow to gorgeous spring summer and fall days and nights. As a child, we had a big tent where the entire family could fit and sleep. Twenty-one years ago, I’d just turned seven, and the family had decided to make a big change: we were going to get an RV.
You see, my mom grew up loving camping. My dad? Not so much. After years of my mom’s urging and convincing, my dad had finally come around to the idea and now enjoys escaping out into the woods, but he never seemed to make piece with sleeping on a giant rock or obscurely placed roots. Probably doesn’t help that my family has the mosquito-equivalent of catnip running through our veins. And after years of being a good sport, he’d finally convinced my mom that owning an RV didn’t automatically turn us into The Griswolds.
1998 marked the year that we got an RV and began a tradition that will have continued for two decades this month. Every single year, we have gone camping as a family without fail, regardless of where we lived, who was working where, or how much homework or housework there was to be done. We do a full Thanksgiving dinner, including a roasted turkey, fresh cranberry sauce, candied yams, asparagus, relish plates, the whole nine yards. And, thanks to the creature comforts of the RV, we’ve also been able to catch the morning parades and evening football games. But most of the day (and week) is spent around a campfire or surrounded by the woods.
There have been years where we’ve collected enough wood to build a giant wall of firewood supplies, ranging in thickness from a small twig to larger in girth than your arm. There have been years where we’ve had multiple feet of snow and have had to thaw out the water lines. And, without fail, there’s always some sort of unintended incident that happens along the way, whether it’s a flat tire, a busted AC unit, or simply a last minute trip to Walmart to grab coffee and red bull for the cold mornings.
Camping has been a tradition for my family for many years. It has been part of everything from scouting to family vacations, and I could tell you countless stories. But the main point is that I was lucky enough to have people who instilled in me the appreciation for all that the outdoors has to offer. Not only is it a beautiful place to visit and photograph, but it offers fuel for fires, protection against the elements, memories made without modern technology, and opportunities for bonding between friends, families and strangers.
CannaVenture® was born out of a life of adventure, scouting, camping, hiking and civil disobedience; my early upbringing and training allowed me to enjoy cannabis in some of the most beautiful settings, and, through our events, it has been and continues to be my goal to share this sensation with our passionate crew.
I hope that one day, decades from now, our crew looks back fondly on the Summer Camps and disc golf tournaments and moments spent passing a blunt under a sea canvassed with stars without a cell signal for miles. I hope that we help create and share traditions with each and every person who helps make our efforts special.
From my family to yours, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you may be spending it. As for me, I’m going to get back to the campfire before settling in for Thanksgiving Dinner.