1. Take a decent camera with you
Or else all the images that accompany your returning blog post will be rubbish! (That’s my apology for what you are about to see!)
2. Apart from the above, less is more when it comes to camping
We went quite basic. A tent, airbeds, sleeping bags, a picnic table, chairs, a lantern, a one-ring gas burner, kettle, frying pan… and I’m glad. The tent was quick and easy to put up and take down (…fortunately as the heavens opened just as we finished packing away).
I witnessed quite a few raised voices between couples. And the patience of parents (trying to assemble their camping city/empire) was seriously being tested to the limits by their children who either wanted to help (hinder?) or wouldn’t help when asked. Our basic construction and equipment meant we required no additional assistance and as soon as the Kids bikes were out of the car they were occupied.
3. Alfresco dining rocks
Breakfasting outside has to be the best start to any day.
We were lucky and had the weather to be able to do it. I’m thinking a wet and windy camping trip may not lend itself so well to outdoor eating.
4. Kids are social creatures
At what point of maturity does social awkwardness raise its head? If I had timed it, I would predict that friend number 1 arrived on the scene within 5 minutes of us landing (if that). By evening there were children everywhere. Next time there’s someone I want to be acquainted with I may just go and do a handstand next to them. From what I observed over the 3 days that is all that is required to strike up a friendship.
5. Toasted marshmallows are amazing, but as part of a camping trip they should remain
Ever since I saw The Frugal Girl’s photos of toasting marshmallows over a campfire I knew I wanted to do that with the Kids. It was a success. So much so, the Kids have asked to do it at home. One of my downfalls is not knowing when to draw the line when something is fun. Such good memories were made toasting on our trip, to ruin the illusion at home heating them over the gas-hob would be criminal. So I’m saying no. It’s an outdoor activity from here on in.
6. Don’t forget Son’s eczema cream
3 trips to the campsite’s chlorinated pool doesn’t bode well for the little fella’s eczema. Lesson learnt.
7. Camping is a community spirited activity
I felt safe camping. People said good-morning. I knew my neighbours (after all I could hear pretty much every word they spoke, even behind closed doors). Is this what life used to be like? What I heard my grandparents, and even my parents speak about? A life of not locking doors and helping each other out? A complete stranger kindly french-plaited my daughter’s hair before swimming as we had forgotten her hairband.
8. Early to bed and early to rise is the way to go
I’m not a morning person and have the mug to prove it.
And yet living the outdoor life meant I felt inclined to go to bed when it got dark and woke naturally as the sun rose. No TV or screen to overstimulate my tired mind and keep me from my slumber. Interestingly I felt better for it, and despite the fact I was literally sleeping on a field, on the ground, I slept better than I have in a long-time.
9. Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan!
Did I miss my kitchen? Understatement. Cooking was probably the worst aspect of camping, for me. Or rather the lack of it. The Hubby did the majority of the outdoor cooking. I feel we ate too much processed food, and indulged in too many snacks. It was only 3 days, but still it didn’t feel right. Even the Hubby commented that meal-planning would be a good idea for the next trip. Now I have my head around it all I will most certainly be more organised in future.
10. Wear sunscreen – or at least cover up in direct sunlight
I adore the lyrics to Baz Luhrmann’s track taken from Mary Schmich’s column in 1997. So much so, I could not pass up an opportunity to quote it. I saw a lot of people walking around that hadn’t adhered to Baz and Mary’s advice. It’s not a good look, nor is it a good idea.
Are you a Happy Camper? What lessons have you learnt living the outdoor life, or what advice would you like to impart to a novice such as myself?
(We have another trip planned, weather dependent. Therefore this is a genuine call for help! Particularly good tips relating to food and cooking)