Cottage Living with Dani

The Tradition of Roughing It

There is a tradition that has been passed down in my family. It’s a tradition that pulses deep in our veins. My grandparents carried it on and passed it down to my parents. My parents honoured it and in turn, my brothers and I hold this tradition close to our hearts as we teach our kids to honour it as well.

We are an outdoorsy family. It’s a noble calling. Not for the faint of heart. It means that we have endured stormy nights in tents with hurricane winds; sleeping bags soaked through from leaky seams. We have braved lakes that are infested with leeches, campsites swarmed with blackflies, wildlife that comes too close for comfort. We have

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endured backbreaking hikes and portages, long paddles that leave you with blisters, sleepless nights, creepy crawlers, freezing toes and fingers. “Roughing it” sometimes really does mean just that. But we love it.  

I am thankful for the resilience that every canoe portage has taught me. I am grateful that sleeping on lumpy tent floors has made me appreciate my warm bed and comforts of home. I have learned courage with hikes that have taken me to unknown terrain. I have found the strength to keep paddling through less than perfect conditions and through exhaustion because I simply had to. The lessons I’ve learned from “roughing it” are principles I have been able to apply to everyday life, which I hold dear and hope to pass on to my children. And the beauty of them is that they have brought an appreciation for nature and a reminder to enjoy the little things; star-filled sky away from city lights, the wind at your back when you are paddling home, the crackling of a warm fire because you found dry wood and kindling. These experiences far outweigh the discomforts.  

So, my kids will get used to sleeping on the lumpy ground and they will learn to build a campfire, and they will learn to sleep through the rustling noises outside the tent at night because we are an outdoorsy family and we will pass all these lessons on to our kids. After all, it’s tradition.

By Danielle McNelly, Nortech Windows, Doors & Sunrooms