Summer Camp— My Freedom Fest

LEAFLast year at exactly this time I ended a 3 1/2 year relationship to go to Summer Camp Music Festival. Say waaah? Okay, so there’s more to the story than that one power-packed line of course. We’ve all had the feeling after a few years of holding hands, finishing each others sentences, keeping the googly eyes in check for that one special someone…..suddenly our eyes wander round and our heart wonders ‘oh what’s beyond the fence’…and we feel a panick, hot flashy sensation in our chest. Yep, that’s where I was at.

And at this time I found out that I had won a camp counselor in training position through Summer Camp’s Camp Counselor contest (an idea funny enough which was my bf’s at the time to enter into). He was graduating from college at the time and after finding out I won he told me he just wouldn’t be able to swing it with family & friends coming to celebrate him, no cash in the wallet and a potential new big boy job on the horizon. Sooo, I cried a little in my mini-wheats and rolled it around over and over in my head for two weeks. What was I going to do? He didn’t want me going without him and with each passing day I felt this need to do this for myself. to prove to myself once again that I could just show up in Chicago with a backpack by myself in the woods and I didn’t need a hand to hold, an eye to watch over me or a safety net to fall into.

I reached out to a girl on the Craigslist ride-board two days before the festival…still rolling it around in my head whether I could do this and if I could actually just hitch a ride with a total stranger. She was a sweet girl, a younger gal’ that went to the college right down the road from me and was offering the spare seat in her Prius. I told her I would let her know and explained a little of my situation. My boyfriend of course told me I was absolutely insane for even considering. So what did I do? The day before I ran to Target and grabbed a single ladies tent, lantern and granola bars then called the girl and told her all cats are a go. She told me to be ready the next morning at 8am.

My boyfriend was out of town playing a show in Tennessee so I simply wrote him a very thoughtful, compassionate letter about how I desperately needed to do this for myself. He would understand right? And then I hit the road with this very sweet young girl in a Prius with the compass set for the woods of Chicago. I showed up with a full pack hovering over me and wandered into the woods not knowing what was going to happen….