It’s the middle of the night and I’m wide awake in my quiet, dark house. It’s our first night at home in two weeks after a camping trip away. It’s weird.
The thing about camping is that it’s hard work sometimes. There’s no electricity. There’s no wifi. Sometimes there’s not even any mobile phone reception. Do you know how hard it was to watch a short video clip someone sent me or to get a second to watch some Instagram stories?? It was hard to keep our phones charged. We had to rely on the car battery or the battery we were using to power the fridge. The Engel fridge that my generous father in law lent to us at the last minute when the fridge in our camper van decided it had given up on life and was threatening to gas us all with ammonia (hmm – guess now we’re home we had better address that).
There’s very little privacy when you’re camping. You can’t have a conversation without there being several people within ear shot. Your little home you’ve made at a campsite has nothing but canvas walls, which may as well not exist. Everyone can hear you and you can hear everyone. At night time, if you use a battery powered light inside, people can see everything you do too. You’re all lit up!
Our camper van has a double bed. Mr Unprepared took up 3/4 of it just by default. It was squishy and whenever someone turns over in bed, everyone else in the family can hear and feel it as the van shifts. The slightest breeze and everything wobbles a little. The baby was camped right near us in a Kmart travel cot. It was really useful but damn it was hard to climb around without waking her and hard to put her in it. If she woke everyone could hear her crying. If our friends’ children woke, we could hear them.
It was hard for the baby to fall asleep on her own or get any kind of regular, adequate by ‘at home’ standards day time sleep.
Sometimes there was very little refuge from the hot sun. It was hard to find shade and we had to be so vigilant to stop ourselves from becoming burnt to a crisp or getting heat stroke. We forgot some stuff in the rush to get away. Stuff like a beach tent and a flotation vest for the Little Mister and other things to make life a whole lot easier.
It was difficult to shower. The water pressure there was ridiculously OTT and the temperature of the water was very hard to control (you had a choice of scalding or slightly less scalding). Some of the stalls had a wonky bench to rest your stuff on, a missing clothing/towel hook or a slightly blocked drain. One of them had a lock on the door that would get stuck so you couldn’t close it properly. Another had a ‘cold’ tap that would fall off when you turned it, so you’d have to pick it up somehow (without burning yourself with the hot water that was already gushing at you at a million miles an hour) and re-attach it. The reason you put the hot tap on first was because all the laminated signs in the ablutions block told you to. I kind of called bullshit on that idea half way through the holiday! You had to wear thongs in the shower, because the floors were so gross. If you accidentally dropped something in there, you would have to fully wash it before ever contemplating wearing it or using it again.
Juggling a baby and an exhausted 6 year old was tiresome during the witching hour. Getting them bathed when they didn’t wanna and wondering if you’d ever get to do the same was full on. At bed time, we would all have to listen to each other battle with our children. It was like hearing your own struggles in stereo, with the amount of us in the camp!
We often didn’t get to sleep until quite late, and then woke with the sun. I might be up really early (think 1am) after passing out before 9pm, but I probably just had enough quality sleep for a whole night camping! My body probably thinks I’m done!
Sometimes we were out bush. No toilets. No nothing. No choice but to squat and hope nobody saw you. There was red dust everywhere and sand flies that bit my whole back, replicating my old PUPPP rash scars. The ones I’d worked hard to help fade for so long.
DAMN, I MISS IT. I don’t want to be here typing on my laptop, in the comfort of my four walls. I don’t want to turn my TV back on ever and I’m a bit sad knowing I’ll be sucked back in quicker than I’d like to admit. I don’t want to fall back into the humdrum of every day life. I want to see spectacular scenery just by waking up and walking outside and seeing the sun rising at the back of our campsite. I want to feel feral and free. I want to see my children blossom as fast and as gloriously as they did on our trip away. I’d rather feel frustrated as fuck at my 6 year old having a difficult moment (or 5) on holiday than at home! I don’t want to feel the pressure to wear make up every day that I’m out and about. To wear real shoes. To ‘dress for my body’. To have too much of an ability to look in the mirror and think too much about what I look like. I don’t want to stare at my wardrobe every day and think I have nothing to wear. I don’t want to wear winter clothes again, after my taste of summer. I don’t want to find it so difficult to have quality time with my family and friends. I don’t want to feel annoyed as I sit in traffic each day. I don’t want to worry about what to make for dinner each night or experience the evening routine rush between school pick up and the kids’ bed times. I don’t want to be that anxious dickhead who shooshes everyone who breathes once they’re in bed. I don’t want to do entire loads of washing daily, always feeling like I’ll never win the war against laundry, when at camp I only had to do one load for the whole family 3 times in two weeks. I WANT TO LIVE IN MY BATHERS AND THE SAME 3 SINGLETS FOREVER PLEASE.
Camping is certainly not for everyone but damn, it’s in my veins and it’s a sign of an amazing trip away, when you would rather experience all of the challenges above than to come home and have wifi on tap and a comfy bed! The rewards were all absolutely worth it. TAKE ME BACK!!!!