Reflecting on the first Lady Banks Living outdoor adventure had me re-calculating, questioning, and rethinking every step of the entire process. The event was undoubtedly a rousing success! When I imagined overall what the campout would be, the actual event mirrored my imagination almost to the letter. However, by the time I left the campsite in almost complete darkness on Sunday night, I was literally crying.

So, I will start at the beginning of this success story with the preparation. Preparing to go camping alone is one thing but preparing to guide five other people camping, while providing 3 square meals a day and activities is a completely different story.

There are no secrets to success.

It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.


Colin Powell

If you know anything about me, I’m a prepper. I prep for everything and very rarely approach anything without at least a few hours of research. According to my records, preparation for the October camping trip started in the second week of July. Taking notes, reading up on other trips people have taken, taking stock of the equipment I owned, and trying to sort out about how many people I would feel comfortable doing this with. My personal timeline had me book the campsites (more on that later) the first week in September to get my desired location and I posted the Save the Date for the event on September 30. My goal Halloween camping with 4-6 other people at Lake Whitney.

I wanted to be sure that the people going with me had an “OVER-standing” of what to expect on the trip. So, I created our “Camp Guide” to be sure to document anything anyone could ever want to know.

The Camp Guide consisted of 11 pages including a Table of Contents, links to driving directions, the most anticipated packing list, weather predictions (as good as they can be a few weeks out), and pictures of our campsite.

I usually make one of these “AYEWTK” guides for most of my events for two reasons:
1. I do not like being the only person with information, because that means I’m the only one with the answers and the only one people can ask questions of. As someone who may or may not have been paid very handsomely to execute high-level events, being asked rudimentary questions in the critical days and hours before an event grinds my nerves in a way that only event planners can understand. People will still ask you questions, but you do get at least a small bit of personal satisfaction when you point at the paper with the answer right there.
2. I am the person who wants the guide! When I am invited to an event or activity, my prep time is cut in half when someone out there is thoughtful enough to create the guide for me in advance. I want to know all this information plus some. This does not mean, however, sending me 12 emails for me to hunt and peck for the info I seek.

Truth be told, most other people want as much information as possible as well. Especially introverts who have a hard time going into new experiences alone. They’re just too afraid to ask…yup I see you all in the corners.

Creating the guide meant figuring out all of that stuff in the guide, how it would work, and the timing of it all and then getting out in a reader-friendly form that maybe just maybe someone would read.

That is just the computer prep work. Then comes the actual equipment and meal prep for the weekend. I advised everyone to subscribe to the three-bin system of packing. A bin for each location of your campsite, inside the tent, kitchen, camp life. I spent a month constructing my packing list to make sure I listed what I had and what needed to go in which bin/section. And because I was providing all of the kitchen equipment for everyone, I had to get all of the dishes and linens washed and packed away. This is before I even went shopping for any groceries.

Hear me when I say….my camping setup is just a wee-bit “over the top.” Surprising I know. In addition to everything else you actually need for camping, it includes a living room, dining room, and kitchen with stove and grill. My list of creature comforts does include dishes and linens amongst many other “nice to haves”. I am by no means “roughing it.” I also don’t call it “glamping” because we do sleep in a tent. I have dubbed my camping concept “Fancy Camping.”

Well, after weeks of getting everything itemized on the list, rearranging my living room furniture to accommodate all off stuff I pulled out of closets and nooks and crannies, 5 whole hours of load in the day of the trip, I learned that my Fancy Camping setup BARELY fits into a full-sized pickup truck with just enough room for me and water bottle.

YUP…. going to be THAT kind of adventure!

Part Two: Hard Work – Coming Soon.




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