Monday, November 16, 2020

Recreate Responsibly

Last week, on my Instagram Stories, I posted a question box asking folks to share suggestions on things to do or see that were off the beaten path in a few National Parks that we will be visiting in the coming months. I received a reply from a follower that caught me a bit off guard. She didn't mean it to come across rude (or at least that's what she said) but she felt that not only was it irresponsible for us to be traveling during the pandemic, it was also reckless for me to be sharing about it on social media especially with the number of followers I have. I have been receiving my fair share of hate messages lately and realize oftentimes what people say can be more about them than me, but I still wanted to address this. This post is NOT to say that we have it all figured out, that we won't change our stance or actions in the future or that what we're doing is what everyone should be doing, but I wanted to share a few ways we're trying to recreate responsibly. 

{Side Note (because some of you don't know me from Eve): The hubby and I are both originally from Michigan. All of our family is back there. Due to COVID, we will not be going "home" for the holidays because of the air travel required, the self-quarantine time suggested, etc. Instead, we have decided to do two camping trips [Zion for Thanksgiving and Death Valley in mid-December] for the holidays. Although this may seem frivolous to some, it's a necessity for our my mental health. Both of us use the outdoors to recharge, reconnect (with each other and God) and refocus (on what's truly important). Amid everything going on in the world, these trips are an outlet for us (and I'm not just being overly dramatic). With that being said, we try to do it as responsibly as possible. We'd never want to put anyone in a dangerous situation.}

Obey Local & Federal Mandates

Whether or not we agree with them, we follow the local and federal mandates. This means if there are fire restrictions, we don't burn anything (even if we think there is nothing in the area that could catch fire). If we are told to shelter in place, we don't go out (even if we think the government might be overstepping their bounds). If our camping reservations are cancelled due to fires or a pandemic, we stay home (even if we could find BLM land to camp on instead). If we are told to wear masks, keep social distance and not interact with people outside of our households, we do it (even if we miss feeling hugs, seeing smiles and being with our friends and framily down to our core). I know my fair share of folks, especially when it came/ comes to COVID restrictions, who took/ take the stance of "I do what I want". Although I may not always agree with (or even believe the best in) our government, for me personally, unless it goes against what God says, I will obey those in power. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean I'm not praying my little heart out, asking the Lord to change something, or doing what I can to effect change, but, in the meantime, I'm abiding by the rules and regulations.

Pack Everything With You

We do our darndest to bring everything we will need with us, that way we can be as self-sufficient as possible. If you checked out my AdventureMobile post, you probably know that we could be "off-the-grid" for quite a while with no issue. {Shoot, we even have our own portable toilet and outdoor shower!} Of course there are times that something might slip through the cracks and we have to make an emergency stop at a local market/ grocery store, but that could happen at home as well. The only exception to this "rule" is firewood. You should always buy firewood where you plan to burn it (you don't want to bring little critters with you that could potentially impact the environment). The only thing we normally plan to stop for on trips is gas (and when we do, we're using wipes and hand sanitizer often to protect ourselves and others).

Leave No Trace {Leave It Better Than You Found It}

Similar to the "Pack Everything With You" section, we try our best to leave no trace. If we are staying in a campground that has trash services then we will leave our rubbish (in designated areas only - like DUMPSTERS!), but if we are staying on BLM land or if services are not offered, we pack out everything with us. For example, when we were staying at June Lake the recycle services had already ended for the season so we packed all of our recyclables with us and put them in our bins at home. We even try to do our best to leave it better than we found it. We have grocery bags in the AdventureMobile so we can do some trash clean-up if we ever see an area with garbage left out. If everyone picked up three pieces of trash that the saw on the ground (or didn't litter in the first place) imagine how much cleaner the environment could be!

Travel Off-Season

As I mentioned, we usually try to find things that are off the beaten path or we travel during the off-season. Call us spoiled or snoody, but we prefer to enjoy the great outdoors with as few people as possible (or at least as uncrowded as possible). This might mean camping in colder weather or setting an early alarm to hit the trails at 5am as opposed to 9am, but, for us, it's worth it. Don't get me wrong, the outdoors is for everyone... we just want them to enjoy it as far away from us as they can ;). But, in all seriousness, we try to schedule our trips when fewer people will be in the area to not only avoid the crowds but also to help minimize our impact on the environment. Not to mention, sometimes the off-seasons is even more magical. I mean, have you ever been to Yosemite in late November?! Sure, you may have to deal with colder temps, but (with the proper gear and planning) the beauty all around you can be evident no matter the weather!

I know that sometimes, when folks are on social media, they don't see the precautions and preparation that goes on behind the scenes, they just see the pretty pictures or end result, so I thought I'd open the curtain a bit to share some of what we do to make sure we are being as health (and environmentally) conscious as possible. Some people may think what we are doing is too stringent, some people may think what we are doing is too lax. I realize I'll never make everyone happy (nor is that my job), but we're doing the best we can with the current information we have - and hope you are too.

As always, I welcome respectful comments {but have no time or energy for hate}. My blogger doesn't allow me to reply directly to a comment, which is lame, but if you'd like to leave a thought, please do so. If you'd prefer to have a conversation, I'm also totally open to that! Feel free email me at CarleeMcDot(at)Gmail(dot)com and we can chat offline. 

What are other ways that you recreate responsibly?

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