I could start this post by saying we are confirmed campers. When I think about it though, I haven’t actually had a proper tent holiday since before I was pregnant with Freddie. I can’t even pinpoint it now. Maybe the Summer before but I think not, so probably even the summer before that. If it was then, then that was the Summer when things were so bad that I actually didn’t go on our family holiday. I stayed home and worked, joining them all for the last few days. So it’s been a while now since I’ve really enjoyed a holiday of that sort, which is a shame, as we have an amazing family tent, as big as the ground floor of our house, if not bigger, solid, comfortable and warm. It’s a bit of a pain to put up for just a night or two though, so when we did have a couple of nights in a field last year, we took another smaller one instead, which is okay.
I have two big problems with tents. One is I have a bad back which doesn’t enjoy the floor; even with a good quality sleeping mat I tend to be really uncomfortable when I sleep in a tent. The second is that, unlike my family who seem to have some form of inner nuclear reaction going on, I get cold and when I feel cold I feel sick and I cannot get warm. In fact, the only thing that has ever kept me warm was having Josie in with me; I’m not sure if using a child as a hot water bottle is good parenting or not? My third problem, yes, okay I have three problems with it, is I end up going to the toilet about 5 times a night. After all those babies, my bladder is not the best and being cold just makes it worse!
I have a feeling that the days in our trusty tent may be over sooner than I would like. I’m not sure I have the energy, let alone the bladder, to keep at it. The last two holidays we’ve had, we’ve rented a two bed cottage and the KIDS have camped! (Bad parents….)
Recently a number of our friends have moved on from tents or upgraded; there have been newer caravans and there have been folding campers and trailer tents. Nothing has quite appealed to me, even though I can see the advantages. The storage would be a problem for us and so, I think, would the upkeep. I can see endless arguments over the choice of caravan insurance and how many crocheted blankets I was allowed to have in it. But I have to admit to a certain envy for the speed of getaway. I can imagine just having it all ready to go. We keep saying we’ll get a trailer and have it packed ready for a fast weekend away, but we never quite get organized.
Perhaps the trick is to be a bit more radical. Perhaps if I had no possessions or packing to worry about, if everything I owned was tucked into my campervan and I didn’t have too many choices or decisions to make, it would be easier. Take our friends Nic, Ady, Dragon and Star for example. Last year they awed us all by decluttering their lives down to a folding crate each and going WWOOFing; in their trusty camper Willow, they’ve been visiting organic farms and intentional communities, learning self sufficiency skills and a simpler style of living along the way. Their blog, Wondering Wanderers, in absolutely inspirational and has really made me think an awful lot about what is important. Stuff, certainly, is less important to me than it was. Family time, as I think this blog clearly illustrates, is a huge priority. So is living a lifestyle we enjoy, even if it comes at the cost of holidays abroad and posh clothes. Living right, not harming other people, not taking advantage of other people, working as a family team and within a community – all those things matter to me. It seems to me that by taking to the road in a campervan, the WW’s have encapsulated an awful lot of what make me happy. Being lethargic and can’t be bothered, whether due to toilets* or being cold or uncomfy, should not stop me living a life I can look back on with pleasure. It’s something that requires thought.
*I confess, I have limits. I’m never going to make lifestyle changes that involve compost toilets. Although admittedly, Nic once said we would never get her to sleep in a field.