Sometimes I think the idea of conventional camping is weird. Everyone sits in traffic, in the heat, for 3 times as long as it should take to get to a place where they can set up temporary miniature housing units in what is akin to a open air subdivision. There, the basics of life take 3 times as long to do in 3 times as little space with 3 times more insects and 100 times more dirt. Upon returning home it takes 1 whole day of napping to make up for the loss of sleep over the weekend due to heat or cold, bugs or rain, alcohol consumption, marathon Uno games or the location of your tent over a rock/root/pinecone/pebble or any combination of the list.
I enjoy camping. I really do. I just think it that we should stop kidding ourselves that we are doing it to get away and relax and admit we do it to properly appreciate the amenities of home. One of the best parts of camping is the first shower I have at home. The first time I flush the toilet. The first time I flick on the stove. The first time I cook something without blinking furiously to get the stinging smoke out of my eyes. I like, no, love the refrigerator. When I have to fish a tepid carton of milk out of a puddle of water in the bottom of my fridge I know it’s because the damn thing’s broken down not because that’s what coolers do after a day and a half in the sun with two blocks of ice.
There is the whole nature thing. But really, if you’re driving a three tonne RV down the freeway you’re not heading into the backwoods. The boat you’re towing behind that truck with a fuel tank capacity of an above-ground pool is not going to help you enjoy the solitude of nature. There will be no sneaking up on loons or wading moose families with that thing.
And you can forget the promise of relaxation. The mad scramble to get a camping spot in a provincial campground that doesn’t take reservations is not calming to anyone’s nerves. Neither is the stop and go traffic on the way home.
What’s happened to camping? I don’t remember it being like this when I was a kid. When I was a kid I spent the whole day riding bikes around the campground, checking out the other kids. We disappeared for hours down at the lake and took turns pushing each other off the dock. We came back to camp for meals and then left again. And therein lays the solution. The secret to getting away and relaxing while camping is to have someone else do all the work. And I don’t suppose having a tricked out RV hurts either. Some of those things have dishwashers in them.