December 4, 2008
By Nancy Lee, Appleton, WI

Aldous Huxley once quoted, “Most human beings have an absolute and infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” When I think about this quote, it is true. Most people take things and other people for granted too much and they don’t realize it until the very end. Unfortunately, I was one of those people.
It all started when I decided to go on a camping trip. It was going to be at least nine days, outdoors, without any electricity and running water. I thought that it would be fun to live without all of those things, but it wasn’t. On the first day, we kayaked about four miles to our destination, which was an island. When we got there, we unloaded our belongings and set up the tents. After all the hard work paddling, we got hungry and made dinner. Since it was a little island, there was no gas or electricity, so we had to use the old fashioned way of cooking our meal, which was to build a fire. We gathered wood and twigs to set up the fire. Luckily, we had lighters to help start the fire. It took us a few minutes to get it started, but then the wind came and blew out the newly lit fire. It was terrible because that meant that we had to start over again. Finally, we got it to stay lit and then we cooked our meal over it. We still had to go look for twigs though, or the fire would go out. I knew that it wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought it would be. After dinner, we needed to wash the dishes. Since we were not allowed to use soap, we used sand or soil and water to clean. Instead of a sponge, we used our hands. Cleaning the bowls wasn’t as hard as cleaning the pots and pans because they had a lot of food stuck on them. Because it was an island, there were no flushable toilets. Instead there were portable toilets, or the ground. It was awful, but when you need to go, anything will work. Like I said, there was no running water so instead of taking showers, we went swimming in the lake. Each day that went by, I became more homesick and starting to realize that I took my family for granted too much. I missed them a lot. Besides being homesick, we did everything pretty much the same, but it got easier.
When we came home nine to ten days later, I was so happy to see my family, to get to shower, and to use the toilet. Then I realized that if we didn’t have toilets or sinks or anything that we use everyday, it would be like what I had experienced while camping. I have learned to appreciate everything and everyone around me because if it weren’t for them and the things I have, I wouldn’t be here today. So my lesson I learned while camping is to not take things for granted and appreciate everything around me because without it, I wouldn’t be the same.

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