In less than 24 hours I'm going to CAMP. I will be getting on a bus with a bunch of strangers to attend The Unique Camp http://theuniquecamp.com/ a 4-day conference which gathers creative thinkers and entrepreneurs, takes them to a summer camp environment and offers a curated four-day experience programmed to stimulate mind and body, inspire, increase innovation, encourage collaboration, and grow success.
It's two hours away from where I live in Los Angeles, in the middle of nowhere surrounded by woods, nature, a lake and no cell service. They had me at creative thinkers.
I have a two-year old son, so my mind could definitely use some "stimulation" - other than Milo's current favorite book Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site. And my body, well don't even get me started on that, my body is tired, old and in need of any form of moving actively, other than chasing my toddler son. The camp website says between workshops led by innovative and visionary creative leaders, I will have "free time" to go swimming, horseback riding, do arts and crafts and other summer camp-like activities. "YAY" is all I can say.
Let's get this out of the way-- my husband is a rock star. Not only did he urge me to go do this--he knows I could use some adult time out to decompress, get inspired, and hit the refresh button and ignite my creative juices. I run a small business so professionally this is a no brainer. He's also hanging solo with our son for four days straight. Yes, I hit the husband jackpot. But let's be honest, a call a spade a spade, he's no doubt over the moon excited to have a break from the miss "bossy pants " wife and all my annoying requests, demands and unwelcome commentary about oh, everything. I don't blame him for wanting to "give" me some time away. I want some time away from me too.
The Unique Camp -- is uber unique, they have a strict no cell phone policy. Yes, you read that correctly. Upon arrival, every camper will release her cell phone for four days; it's mandatory and not up for discussion. The whole I need my phone so I can take pictures isn't cutting it, remember that thing called digital cameras? Yeah, you can bring that. In case you're wondering, I am bringing Xanax to the woods, not necessarily for myself but for fellow campers who may crack publicly from not being able to Instagram or send a tweet during the first 24 hours. See, drugs can be very productive in a group setting every now and then when used responsibly.
All kidding aside, as the departure hour inches closer, I definitely have that butterfly feeling in my tummy about what lies ahead. I'm like a 10-year-old kid excited about all the carefree fun that lies ahead. Of course, all the sunshine, swimming and arts and crafts will be wondrous, but I am most looking forward to hearing other successful and innovative entrepreneurs share their stories and wisdom. The Unique Camp Founder Sonja Rasula is a powerhouse of vision, passion and inspiration. She's curated a perfect balance between business and creative as well as social media and crafts, with leading thought leaders. That's my kind of lady. I am bursting with anticipation and excitement.
I should also admit within my excitement, there are a handful of things that are completely causing me to have anxiety and get a rash. While my husband is super supportive about me doing this, he also admits he can't believe I'm really "going through with it." In my daily life, I'm a complete creature of comfort and habit. I love being home, I rarely leave the beach zip code, and I don't really love small talk, and that is pretty much what you do with a bunch of new people--you excel at speed small talk as foreplay to friendship. I like to be in control, I like to hang at home and I love sleeping in my own bed. With camp on the horizon, all my comfy, cozy, regular life living is about to get tossed up and flipped thirteen different ways to Mars--and I have no idea where it will all land, and that is the part that scares me; the unknown. In my 20's, I was the poster child for living on the edge of the unknown, I reveled in it -I even chased it. Now as forty-four year old mother and wife, not so much. The unknown is now a distant foreigner who I barely feel safe around. The only unknown I am cool with in my life is not knowing if I have half and half in the fridge.
Things are about to get VERY uncomfortable for Milo's mommy. I tell my friends all the time, " it's in the uncomfortable where we gain the most growth" but, nonetheless, I am slightly freaked out.
Top 5 Fears of Going to Camp:
1. Letting GO
I am a self-proclaimed control freak. I make lists, I like to have a plan, and I like everyone to be in sync while executing the plan. Camp is not going to let me be in control of anything, in fact I will be a little camper soldier, going where I am directed, starting each day off being wakened at 7am by a trumpet - awesome.
I have sleep issues. I have a tough time shutting my mind down, it's essentially on an acid trip 24/7 with ideas flowing like a speeding freeway, and my sleep environment is very controlled. At camp I will be sleeping in bunk beds, in close proximity of strangers, without my own bedding little to no noise control. I find myself praying in the middle of the day "Please God don't let them match me up with a group of people who think they are going to Coachella. Please let me be matched with a mom who is tired, irritable and longing for some alone time in the midst of brilliant creative workshops just like me. "
3. Social Butterfly meets Wall Flower
I love to talk, I like meeting people- sometimes. There is no rhyme or reason what my social attitude will be from one day to the next. It's a bit of a gamble. When we go to a party, I pull what my friends call "runners" which means, I sneak out and leave without saying goodbye, because I just want to be done and not make a big deal of it. Camp feels like major group activities all day and night with nametags while being paired up with other people and no escape route. Not so awesome. But, the website does say I will likely meet amazing new people who may even share friendship bracelets at the end of the journey. #newfriends
I am a picky eater. I eat the same 15 things all the time, I am not an adventurous foodie and I would rather starve myself than try something new. My other prayer to God is that camp serves chicken and steak everyday and that the words vegetarian and vegan are not part of the camp field guide--otherwise, it looks like mommy is coming home 10 pounds closer to being a supermodel.
I sort of hate costuming. I married a Halloween junkie who lives to create unique and exciting costumes every year--it's his thing. I play along because I adore him and it makes him blissfully happy. This year, I was Princess Leia, our son was Chewbacca and my husband was of course, Hans Solo. The year before, we were matching marathon runners with red headbands and yellow wristbands and funny socks with marathon labels that sported our birthdates as our runner number. See what I mean? He's serious. There is a dance party the last night of camp with a theme: "Future." I'm one of the most creative humans on Earth, I can paint, I can draw, I even have my own font, but when it comes to costuming, I'm out.
Hopefully by the time the bus departs Downtown LA in 16 hours, I will have found my old school digital camera and some earplugs.
Up next, After Camp: Part 2.