OK, I accept that given the audience this won’t go down well but I hate camping. This might not come as a surprise to those of you who have been following The Wife’s blog but I thought I’d try and explain why it’s not for me, along with why I’ll be continuing.
Now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that people who camp are wrong. I’m a fairly liberal kind of bloke and each to their own, unless you’re a caravanner, but that’s a different post and I digress.
I just don’t get camping. I think there might be something about ‘learned behaviour’ here. In my formative years I can count on one hand the number of family holidays we went on and while I have vague recollections of going away to the seaside I couldn’t describe the accommodation or even where we went. What was certain is that we never camped. Contrast this with The Wife whose family camped regularly, creating her memory-bank of happy memories and, dare I say, rose-tinted view.
My holidaying didn’t properly start until my early twenties and then it was always to sunny, foreign climes. I’ve made it a mission to go abroad at least once a year since then and I’ve pretty much done it. I’ve visited some amazing places from Spain to India and the Maldives. I’m not bragging here, I’m just saying that this is my ‘learned behaviour’, my normal.
I can still hear some of you asking why I can’t like camping too? The Wife has asked the same question. She describes me as a bumpkin, I have an environmental occupation, I know the names of birds, animals and plants. I know how to catch rabbits, hell I can skin one in less than 2 minutes. But I still don’t get camping. When I’m at home I have my luxuries at hand, it’s warm, there’s a fridge and I don’t have to walk through a field avoiding guy ropes to go for a pee.
When I’ve been asked the question before I’ve just said ‘I don’t like it’ but there has to be a reason. I’ve given it some thought and I’ve come up with the following:
I don’t sleep well. Tents just aren’t dark enough and airbeds are uncomfortable. I’m 6’ 1” and my feet drop off the end of the bed or I slide off completely, not the recipe for a good night’s sleep. At home we have a lovely comfortable King sized bed. Surely holidays are about luxury and comfort not sleeping on the floor, which is something I’m getting a bit old for?
I hear everything. Those who know me know that I have slight OCD. When we go out I can check the front door four or five times and I’ve been known to turn the car around and go back to the house to check again. When we camp though there isn’t a door, and all that protects my family from the knife-wielding lunatic outside is a piece of canvas with a zip round it. As we have a tunnel tent with bedrooms at either end and a door in the middle, what’s worse is that this silly excuse for a door lies between me and the Tinies and might delay me getting to them. So the upshot is that every sound is enough to wake me – hardly conducive to a good night’s sleep.
I like my own space. Don’t get me wrong I love my family but just occasionally I like some time to myself. This might be as simple as unloading the dishwasher, doing the laundry or cooking a meal but it gives me time out. You can’t do this in a tent. Oh and I hate mess, and in a confined space a 3 year old and a 6 year old can make a hell of a mess!
Also, the weather’s rubbish. When the idea of camping was sold to me I was told of warm summers and days on the beach. The reality is howling winds and torrential rain. We were due to camp four times last year and managed twice, the other two cancelled because of the weather. Now The Wife will have you believe that up until this year I’d never camped. This isn’t exactly true, in 1993 (when I was 21), I spent an Easter weekend at Skegness with an ex-girlfriend and it snowed. Don’t get me wrong we found ways to ahem, amuse ourselves but even this couldn’t make camping look appealing. So my strike rate isn’t good. Three trips, one whiteout and two washouts = 100% failure.
So you’re probably thinking I’m mad to have agreed to go again? Well I probably am but while there are numerous reasons for me not to go camping again, there’s just one reason why I will be going. Simply, the kids love it and The Wife’s quite keen too. As I see it we all have to make some sacrifices for the sake of family and in my case camping is it.
And the payback? Well according to the countdown on my phone, in 25 weeks, 6 days, 2 hours, 19 minutes and 33 seconds we’ll be getting on a big white bird and going to see some guaranteed sun.