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Camp Wandawega + Real Life Transparency – peace. love. quinoa

Nov 04


In July, just before the holiday weekend, my girlfriends sat at Chino Latino with our guys who were all meeting each other for the first time. During that monumental time in our lives, we decided that we wanted to take our next girls vacation “glamping” // for a moment or two we considered inviting the guys, they were relieved to be let off the hook. (not nice!)

I put a lot of value on getaways and quality time with my girls (#homegirls), but when we booked our glamping trip way back in July, I had no idea how valuable and necessary this trip would be for me.

I haven’t been well the last few months. Conflicted, uncertain, anxious, frustrated, and emotional are a few of many words I could use to describe the roller coaster I have been riding lately. I have not eaten regularly, I hadn’t even been to the grocery store in weeks until yesterday, I experienced anxiety attacks for the first time in my life, I don’t read, I don’t blog, I don’t leave the couch unless I absolutely have to, and I cry, I cry a lot.

You might be asking why?

Life can be rough, relationships can be tough, and unfortunately I’ve fallen victim to the struggle lately.

So yeah, camp. Camp Wandawega! CW has been on my bucket list for years, and I was thrilled that the girls agreed to trek all the way to Wisconsin for our glamping weekend. Originally, we’d considered camping somewhere in Colorado, which would have been amazing but I am thankful that I was able to get away from my home, a home that I’d spent countless hours crying in, and get out of Colorado.

I have no doubt that the world somehow knew I’d be desperate for uncommon surroundings to offer me varied perspectives and even though I didn’t realize it at the time of booking, I now know that our trip was booked with purpose.

I’m not the only one who needed the getaway, my homegirls needed it too!

Camp Wandawega prides itself on being a place where adults can go to play, to let loose, and to be free. Amanda, Laura, and myself ran around the modern-vintage retreat, not much different than we would have as kids at summer camp, photographing ourselves on the tree swing, telling stories from our bunk beds until wee hours of the night, and courageously walking from the shower house to our cabin wrapped in the Hello Kitty towels that were gifted to us as a Happy Girls Glamping Weekend gift. (Thanks Kristy!)

The weekend gave me exactly what I needed in my life at the time.
Girl Talk.

Although planning is my forte, busy schedules and lifes daily struggles kept us/me from doing much planning for our trip to Camp Wandawega. When the time came to make plans for this trip (scheduled departures, meals, etc.), I couldn’t even. I was not a functioning human being at that time, and I most certainly wasn’t able to make any decisions.

My beautiful friends, my homegirls, Amanda & Laura, compensated for my slack with extreme willingness and never showed frustration over my lack of function. Best friends aren’t called best friends for no reason.

Homemade Waffles with Almond Butter and Pure Maple Syrup //
Wild Rice and Butternut Squash Salad //
Copper River Salmon & Curried TruRoots Rice //
Sauerkraut & Sausages //
Cheese, lots of cheese & Wine, lots of wine //
Campfire Heirloom Apple Crisp //
S’mores //
Local-made Muesli //

We ate so fucking good at camp.
No thanks to me, the only thing I could suggest was that we make guacamole-stuffed peppers which is a staple for me when tent camping. I couldn’t even process the fact that we would have a beautiful, vintage kitchen to cook in while at camp. It’s called “glamping” for a reason.

We’d planned to visit an apple orchard/pumpkin patch during our trip but none of us expected to stumble upon Quednow’s Heirloom Apple Orchard which is an orchard that grows hard-to-find, heirloom apples.

Upon entering the small barn at Quednow’s, we were greeted by a smiling gentleman in a wheelchair, a delightful black cat, and unsurpassingly fragrant apples in varieties we’d never seen or tried before. We were offered samples of every apple variety we showed interest in. Each bite from each apple offered a novel experience, each variety unique in it’s texture, flavor, and fragrance.

Hawaii holds a special place in my heart, our hearts. When I think of the island, the experience, my heart expands, feels deep, and fills with love // love for my life, love for our life, love for my best friend(s). As you can imagine, I was delighted to find a Hawaiian apple variety // it’s pineapple-y flavor and suggestive name was all I needed to spark memories of my real-life love story…. a story that has been discredited in the recent past. I brought those apples home with me as a reminder…… and I shared them with my love.

On our last night at camp, we were invited to use the beautiful kitschy kitchen in the main lodge, a space that has been used by several Chicago-based chefs to create beautiful dinners and dinner parties.

Joined by the camp counselor (or so I’ll call him), we had our own dinner party. Local beers, red wine, and a full spread of german-influenced foods followed by s’mores and heirloom apple crisp was our feast.

Melody, a girlfriend of mine that I hadn’t seen in years and her 3 year old son joined us for breakfast on our last morning at camp // to see her progress in life and to experience her positive outlook fed me beneficial energy and good vibes. Through her, and my homegirls, I realized that the kids (him & I) will be alright.

After camp, Melody asked me to share one of my favorite quotes with her, the one I found most relevant for my life as it is today is this: “Wherever you are, be all there.” – Jim Elliot

Melody put that quote in to a piece of art and is sending it to me. Although I’ve committed myself to just as this quote suggests, hanging that piece of art of my wall will be a nice reminder.

I have it for my friends.
I have it for my love.
I have it for my new artwork.
I have it for an awesome glamping trip at Camp Wandawega.
I have it for the next trip with my homegirls.
I have it so hard right now.

For more photos and travel notes from our trip, visit Amanda’s blog, Heartbeet Kitchen // her post is a delight to read and brings tears to my eyes. Happy tears!

Had it not been for my beautiful friend Kayle spilling her heart to the world via a blog post, I’m not sure I would have had the courage to do so. Although our situations are very different, the emotions are feeling of drunken-ness are very much the same. I am thankful to have Kayle as a friend, and I’m thankful for the reminder that I am not alone in a world that has felt very lonely of late. And K, if you are reading this, HUGS.

With all that being said, I assure you (and myself) that I am on the path to recovery and normalcy. Life is good, man.

Also, go to Camp Wandawega, it’s fucking cool.


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