So, where do I begin??? I’m a 30-something year old American expat living in Serbia (that’s Serbia, not Siberia!). I like Serbia because there is a very relaxed pace of life here. Nothing functions like it should and the challenge actually makes people more resilient, flexible, and helpful. Serbia and the surrounding countries also have amazing nature and it’s not that difficult to get to untouched places.
I grew up camping, backpacking, and orienteering with my dad. There was also a small woods behind my house where I grew up in Upstate New York. I’d do there to make forts and read books in solitude.
So, spending time in nature is something I am comfortable with. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized how scared many people are of things like insects, snakes, and simply being away from civilization.
Looking back, I can appreciate how important backpacking was for my development. I truly believe that it’s important to spend time unplugged and away from the structure and rules which dominate everyday life.
It wasn’t until I had my daughter Isabel in 2010 that I realized just how important getting into nature is. At that point in my life, I hadn’t been camping in a really long time (I was traveling like crazy though, hitchhiking all around Eastern Europe and beyond). A friend asked me to go camping with him because he had bought a tent and didn’t know how to use it. His lack of experience made me realize just how much experience I had, and also how much I missed camping.
So, I bought some basic gear and planned a trip to the Albanian Alps with Isabel. She was only 3 at the time and I wasn’t sure how she would handle a big adventure in the wilderness. Long story short, it ended up being one of the best trips of my life.
After that successful trip, I took Isabel camping as much as possible. I don’t know how to drive, so we would get places with a combination of train/bus/hitchhiking and walking the rest of the way (Isabel still hates the walking part but is better about carrying her own backpack). I was a single parent then, so our trips were mostly just the two of us. However, I did take some friends wild camping with their children. It’s amazing to see how much kids grow and learn in just one weekend of camping.
Since then, I’ve gotten remarried and had Lydia in 2018. She went on her first camping trip when she was just a couple months old. We didn’t have a car then (and I still refuse to drive) and my husband has a physical disability. This does it a bit tricky to get outdoors and go camping. But I’ve made it my priority to figure out solutions.
If I couldn’t get outdoors and completely unplug, I would literally go insane. Often, I catch myself hating people and getting overwhelmed by all the problems in the world. Then I escape to somewhere beautiful and all the worries melt away.
I watch as the amazing daughter I’ve raised plays for hours in nature without complaining that she is bored or needs a gadget. She asks me questions that show how insightful and observant she is. When the baby comes on camping trips, I watch as she discovers caterpillars, the texture of a shiny leaf, or the tickly feeling of beetles crawling on her (yes, I’m the one who puts them on her).
I started Mom Goes Camping as a way to share my experiences and knowledge with other people, and hopefully help them get outdoors too. I love connecting with people, so please feel free to get in touch. You can contact me at momgoescamping (at) gmail (dot) com.