Katherine Peach writing about monday morning…

It was a chilly but golden morning in the Virginia woods, the autumn sunlight dappling the ground. I was snuggled up in a woolen blanket in my camp chair, nursing a cup of hot tea and watching two deer stealthily make their way past the tent and down the hill to the stream.

Except for my husband, who was still snoozing in our sleeping bag, there was no one around for more than a mile. It was quiet and relaxing. Not your typical Monday morning.

I love Sunday evenings and Monday mornings at the campsite.

A popular campground will be bustling with families on the weekends – squalling kids and barking dogs.

Not that I don’t love kids and dogs, but I’m always happy when they clear out on Sunday afternoon, leaving the forest – and us – in peace.

Often, we’re the only people left at the campground come Sunday evening. We’ll wander around the empty sites, gathering leftover firewood so that we can make a roaring blaze.

On this particular weekend, we were camping at Sky Meadows State Park in the Appalachian foothills of Northern Virginia. The campground is tents only (no noisy RVs) and a mile-and-a-half hike from the parking lot. With no electricity or water hookups, it’s definitely not “glamping.” But with campsites spaced further apart than usual, this campground feels very private and is a favorite of ours.

A friendly ranger came by, making his Sunday evening rounds to check on us – to see if we needed anything before he left this section of the park, leaving us alone in the woods for the night. Since we were the only campers, he stayed for a bit, sitting near the fire and swapping ghost stories with us as we cooked spiced beans and rice with fresh tortillas on our little stove.

Monday morning is just as quiet as Sunday evening. It’s an excellent opportunity to see wildlife (including, once, a sleepy bear on the hunt for his breakfast of berries). I’d much rather have deer and raccoons as office mates than grouchy, hungover coworkers on a Monday morning.

I decided two years ago to quit my full-time job and work for myself, freelancing as a writer and editor.

And, except for the occasional free birthday cake, there’s not a thing that I miss about the office.

I especially hated the long commute, the uncomfortable “professional” clothes, and the rigid, nine-to-five (or 5:30) work schedule.

Now I can choose what schedule I want to work, and often I’ll adjust my workload so that I can take time off on Fridays and Mondays. I don’t mind working early in the morning or late in the evening during the week so that I can enjoy a longer weekend. That’s especially handy because one of my passions happens to be camping.

On a Monday morning like this, I’ll check my email on my cellphone, but there’s hardly ever anything that needs immediate attention. The rest of the morning is spent packing up our gear at a leisurely pace. There’s no frantic rush.

And since there’s hardly any traffic on the road at midday on Monday, our ride home is peaceful as we talk about the hiking that we’ve done and the trees that we’ve seen.

P.S. Discover how you can enjoy a more laidback, authentic, independent way of life in Truth & Plenty. Sign up below to have it delivered – free of charge – to your email inbox.

Image: ©iStock.com/jacoblund

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