Go on a Backyard Campout with the Mandagies

Adventure |

During their longest stretch at home ever, travel bloggers and Teva Explorers Berty and Emily Mandagie discover new ways to stoke their adventurous spirits. Words and Photos by Berty and Emily Mandagie. 

If things were going according to our ideal 2020 plans, we’d be camping on the Washington Coast right now. We can actually hear the waves churning rhythmically in the distance right now… oh wait, that’s our dishwasher.

Yep, just like many other freelancers, bloggers, and photographers, recent events have postponed our outdoor adventures, keeping us at home for the greater good. But what are travel bloggers supposed to do if they can’t travel?

The Mandagies

Emily wears the Flatform Universal in Lark. Berty wears the Hurricane XLT2 in 90s Multi.

I think we felt every emotion possible during the past few months. It felt very sudden and unfair that our “normal” was taken away. We didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to our anticipated plans and future trips, much like the rest of the world.

March was filled with worry and anxiety about the future, and how we were going to get work and projects if we couldn’t travel. Slowly, April began with trying to find a new routine, this time with new activities like walks around the park and gardening to ease our minds. Finally, as the sun started to show up more and more, the latter half of April has been filled with time outside in the sunshine, savoring this long vacation in our little home.

Hurricane XTL2

Berty wears the Hurricane XLT2 in 90s Multi.

I know that no one expected their 2020 to look this way. However, as we were sipping coffee from our reusable mugs, making laps around our local park, it dawned on us: this is the longest stretch we’ve been at home EVER.

We slowly noticed over the past few weeks that our morning chats turned from scary news events to house projects. Things like the kinds of flowers we could plant in the yard and dreams for what our home could become. These ideas wriggled into our daily talks and we discovered we were actually creating a new normal for ourselves, but this time it wasn’t on the road.

Our minds now filled with the possibilities at home, we all of a sudden had the spark to create our own ‘vacation’ and bring some of our favorite elements of travel to our home. One of the biggest projects we did was make our backyard fire pit dreams come true, filling the yard with greenery, flowers, and space for our friends and family to come visit one day!

Flatform Universal

It’s a strange feeling, empathizing with the world and communities affected by the pandemic, while also balancing immense gratitude for this time to slow down and care for our own micro-world.

However, still being travelers at heart, we’re choosing to bring the adventurous spirit of travel to our home and keep that fire alive while the world is preparing to have us return to the trails again.

If you are looking for ways to connect with the outdoors and stoke your own wanderlust at home, here are some activities that have kept us busy.

Flatform Universal

“Starting seeds is easier than we thought. We grabbed a few seed packets from the grocery store and cleaned out some plastic containers for seed trays. Trying to find new ways to use historically single-use items is really rewarding!” Emily wears the Flatform Universal in Lark.

Hitting The Local Trails: Emphasis on “local”! We’re talking about the kind of trails that are a few blocks from the house. Our city and state officials in eastern Washington said something along the lines of, “If you have to take a car to the trailhead, it’s too far” and we’ve really taken that to heart. Thankfully, we’ve got a few parks just walking distance from our house to enjoy. Spending time moving our bodies has really helped us stay healthy and enjoy our daily dose of vitamin D!

Hurricane XLT2 and Original Dorado

Emily wears the Original Dorado in Canyon to Canyon. Berty wears the Hurricane XLT2 in 90s Multi.

Learning How To Draw On Procreate: With more time at home, we’ve had the opportunity to dabble in side projects that have been kept on the back burner. One, in particular, is creating custom maps for our blog. We’ve been using the program Procreate to draw road trip routes, color-coded guides, you name it! We’ve had so much fun learning from tutorials on Youtube and fostering a new hobby. (It’s true, you can learn practically anything on Youtube!)

Spending Time In The Garden: Berty and I have spent countless days in the yard tilling soil, starting seeds, and planting bulbs for spring and summer blooms. It’s been incredibly life-giving to watch seeds grow, even witnessing the little progress day by day! We also decided to support our local nursery and buy a Magnolia tree. Berty and I planted it in the front yard to beautify our street and commemorate this extended time we’ve had at home.

Backyard campout

Having A Backyard Campout. To celebrate the beginning of the camping season, we decided to bring the adventure to our own backyard. If you are craving some outdoor time, we definitely recommend setting up your tent in the yard (or the living room!) for some fun nostalgia. It’s also the perfect way to inspect your gear for any damage before you take it on its inaugural campout later—when social distancing is over, of course!

Hurricane XLT2

Berty wears the Hurricane XLT2 in 90s Multi.

Backyard Campout

Being at home, we’ve experienced moments of freedom that we didn’t know were possible. Here are some things we’ve discovered about travel while being at home:

*We’ve had the freedom to care for our planet in a different way than we’re used to. Instead of picking up garbage on the trails, we’re planting flowers and trees.

*We’ve also had the freedom to express our love for travel with a new perspective: creating custom maps and guides to share with our blog readers as they plan their own future trips.

*Finally, we’ve had the freedom to celebrate the things we love about being in nature, in the comfort of our own backyard! By building an outdoor fire pit and throwing a backyard campout, we’ve learned that you don’t need to travel to a faraway place to enjoy your time outside.

So while we wait to get the green light to drive to our favorite national parks and trails, we’ll stay home and watch the sunrise from our back porch. And that’s perfectly fine with us.

Spring sandals

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