Ok so here’s the thing, I am a non-camper! Now before you jump down my throat with the “princess and diva” comments, which I happily embrace, my dislike of camping stems back many many decades, back to the good old days of school camps. You see school camps and I didn’t ever see eye to eye. In fact after my year 9 camp and enduring many camps of leeches, freezing cold sleeping bags and tummy bugs, I walked off the bus, met my Mum, burst into tears and said “I am never camping again!”.
Now to be fair, I am precious and I do believe sleeping under 5 stars is the way to go, but before you yell at the screen “for god sake Nix give it a shot”, I’ve had my fair share of camping / adventure trips. Camping in the red centre, racing stripped race yachts across the med with no food and water, beach side camping and even cabin style. I’ve given it a few shots and it’s just fair to say that it’s just not my preferred mode of tripping!
So when the chance to spend my Australia Day long weekend camping by a river popped it’s little head up it’s fair to say it was met with a fair bit of hesitation! However, not one wanting to let my pre-existing school hang ups get in my way (and not wanting to split the fam), I found myself en-route down the freeway heading to the “Nix camping trip of the decade”.
The first thing I can honestly say about camping is that I think I am a worse packer for camping than any other trip (and that’s saying something!). Confident I wouldn’t need 7 pairs of shoes and a hair dryer, I found myself stuffing every nook and cranny of the car with towels, sunscreen and some sort of toddler floatation device! Perhaps in hindsight 6 towels was a little much, but in fairness I used them all.
Our destination for the weekend is river side. A lovely all Australian location, with the main camp site over looking the water, farms with cows and Kangas stretching for miles in the distance and gum trees dramatically surrounding our secluded location. Australia at it’s finest. Now I whole heartedly admit I am a bit of an overseaer. In other words stemming from a family of poms with a passion for travel my holidays tended to see me more town side in Europe than soaking up Australia, so it’s great to take a much needed step back and appreciate my back door.
As the great camping trip of 2018 unfolded, I discovered that camping can show you the good, the average and the different of holidays:
Location, location, location! Nothing quite beats being water side in Australia and by a river is beautiful! And with that comes a lot of fun! Watching my twin boys have so much fun learning to swim in the shallows of the waters, experience their first fast boat ride, go on a canoe ride and discover the snack drawer which seemed to have an endless supply of tiny teddies was awesome! Passing on the opportunity to go for a ski, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the others have their best crack! Then there were the cows! You’d think the way the boys were reacting they’d never seen a cow in their lives (let alone live just near thousands of them), but never the less the chance to get nice and close to the cows and help the property owner feed them left them bouncing in their steps!
While I really enjoyed the location and activities, and I was lucky enough to have a pretty decent place to crash, there are some things with camping that I will never love. These include port-a-loos, sleeping on floors and bouncy beds (its a bad back thing – don’t judge) and the few creature comforts I miss (like the dishwasher). The biggest thing I learnt is that for me, camping with twin toddlers is a challenging adventure. Little ones who have no desire to sleep, are totally over exhausted and wound up like springs made for one tired mumma bear! Plus you never notice the hazards when you don’t have little ones, and who’d have thought an electric fence would bring so much anxiety! If you are going camping with toddlers here’s my tip – don’t be shy to take them for a drive for sleep time, my saving grace! 🙂
I was reminded that camping makes me see things slightly differently. The points of difference from my typical comfort holiday don’t necessarily relax me in the same way but they leave me feeling content in different ways. It makes me appreciate some of the things I enjoy a little more, the coffee from the cafe or the dinner out, yet in other ways it makes me appreciate the basic things we have even more. Having kids made me see camping differently, I have a greater appreciation for the activities and entertainment that a camping trip can offer. The ability to do so many different things in one area is fabulous! Equally I do love my creature comforts and I realise how much they relax me and take the pressures of my daily obligations away (perhaps that’s laziness, I’ve never been good a washing dishes!)