Letters from Me Camp 2022: Week 1 in Aspen & Tips for Solo Travel (I Spy Katie Couric!)
You guys, it’s time again for us to load up the suitcases, grab the comfy shoes, and head on out to Me Camp 2022. What is MeCamp you say? Jen took an extended solo trip to Maine last year after a really tough season. What she thought might be lonely and maybe a bit TOO reflective became something so rejuvenating and powerful in her life, she couldn’t keep it to herself and began sharing her experiences online with her community. So this year, she decided to mix it up and do some more solo travel (and add some friends in the mix during the time) and pull in her podcast community for all the insight, learnings and fun. This year, join Jen as she spends time in the beautiful Rocky Mountains for week 1 of MeCamp 2022! Binge Jen’s first full week while she hits the town with an open heart and mind, eats where the locals eat, and shop where they shop. Bonus tidbits: she visits the Aspen Ideas Festival, a space filled with some of the smartest humans alive (and maybe a random Katie Couric spotting!). Join us as all (even you folks from Aspen, who might have spotted Jen out there) as we all live vicariously through Jen’s trip to rest, reflect, and learn.
Hey, you guys, Jen Hatmaker here, your host of the, For the Love podcast. And I could not be more excited that you’re here with me this week. If you spent more than eight minutes in this community, you know that a little trip I took last summer that I dubbed “MeCamp” has changed my life more than I can really even say, like, I’d never done that before, of course. But I basically took off last July and I spent three weeks in Maine, mostly by myself. Like originally this was because Remy was spending four weeks at summer camp in Maine. And last summer when everything was just so fragile. So fraught, I needed her to know that I was close. So like, kind of at the last minute I just said, “Okay, honey, I’m gonna be in the same state. I will come the same amount of time you’re there. And if you need me, I can be there in an hour.”
That was the impetus behind doing it, was really just kind of to be an emotional safety net for my daughter. And then turns out camp was absolutely glorious for her. It was everything she needed and more, and I ended up with three weeks in Maine thinking I was gonna be on call, not being on call and enjoying myself like I have never in my life. I traveled solo. I walked everywhere. Like absolutely everywhere. I connected with– I think all the locals, plus everybody else traveling there. And I just took sideways time from the chaos of everyday life.
I was still working. It was just different. A handful of my beloveds joined me for a few days over the course of the month, which was incredible. I was so happy when a couple of friends came in for a few days. My daughters came in for a couple of days, but most of it was by myself and the timing was just incredible.
I learned so much about me, about what I was capable of, what felt restorative to me, what independence felt like exercised in a new setting. What I want, what it means to live again. And look, hear me say this loud and clear. I know how lucky I am to be able to do that. I do that. I know it’s not a common experience that people can just head off to a new location, you know, and take a break from their lives for a minute, for three whole weeks. Right. I know that. The reason I’m able to do any of that is because of you, because of your just like wild, loyal support of me in so many ways, just on this podcast, in the book club, everywhere, my books, all the things like my community is so true and good and loyal. And so I’m so grateful to every one of you and this year I’m gonna take you along with me.
Y’all, last year I essentially threw me camp against the wall. It’s not something I like branded. I was already in Maine, like doing a live video, just talking nonsense. And all of a sudden I was like, I’m here because Remy’s at camp. And I was like, oh, you know what? This is, I think this is like “MeCamp”. I just made it up like on the spot. And so the whole thing was kind of a surprise and a delight. I was discovering it literally day by day. But this year we got a little bit of lead time on planning.
And so you’re coming with, folks. You are coming with me virtually through a bunch of audio journals of my time at MeCamp 2022. I am just gonna quickly record a bunch of stuff for you while I’m there. This is not gonna be super polished. It’s not gonna be like scripted or whatever. It’s just me to you –like directly me to you. I’m thrilled to welcome you to our official MeCamp podcast series.
We’re calling it Letters From MeCamp 2022, which, one of you guys came up with that last year. So we’re just sticking with that. Like, don’t fix it. If it isn’t broken. So really like, just like those letters that you used to write home about all the friends you were meeting at camp and how much fun it was to win the potato sack race and like, all that, I’m gonna give you the grown up version of summer camp and all my adventures along the way.
So here’s where we’re going. You will travel with me from my home in Austin, Texas, all the way up to Aspen, Colorado for the first week. And then up, up, up, up way up way up way, way, way, all most freaking Canada, the shores of Lake Superior in Northern Minnesota. And I am at a tiny, adorable artsy little town called Grand Marais. It’s the sweetest thing you ever did see. And if you’re thinking, well, Jen, Minnesota is about as different from Austin as you could get, you are correct. And that is why we’re going. So each week I’ll be sharing snippets of my time and everything I see and experience and learn along the way.
So from a scenic detour of sorts, in the mountains of the Rockies, which I love to the cool nights of the north woods. So without further ado, please enjoy this week’s letter from me camp.