The hubs and I have a slight fantasy about camping. Now, we have never really been camping... once we camped out with our kids at Vogel State Park in north Georgia, but I'm not sure that counted because we rented a cabin. But we did make a roaring campfire over which we roasted hotdogs and marshmallows for s'mores. It's a great memory and one we consider a "camping" memory, but I'm not quite sure it technically qualifies.
We have had friends and family who've camped over the years and who still camp, but we have never gotten on the bandwagon. In my many years of observing campers, however, I believe they fall into three categories: The "wilderness camper" is the one who carries everything he or she will need for the trip in a pack on their back, including all their food and even the sleeping bag and pup tent they will sleep in that night in the woods, alone with nature and the grizzlies. Hmm, not for me. I'm afraid of bears. And large kitties. The "regular camper" is one who has acquired a plethora of camping gear, everything from Lodge cast-iron cookware to lanterns and lighting and owns a good-sized pop-up camper which is what they purchased when they were ready to step up from a six-man tent. They camp regularly on most holiday weekends and have a little sign outside their campsite with their names on it. Pop-up campers are not too bad. I find them pretty accommodating for everything you might need and especially for the space they afford when all is "popped up." This particular camper is saving and dreaming about the RV in their future, complete with flatscreen TV, a/c, a well-equipped kitchen, a toilet, a shower, and enough space to sleep 8. This is mostly who we see when we hike the trails at our local state park, and these are the campers we aspire to be. Then you have the "luxury camper." These are the ones who have spent every bit as much or more on that super-deluxe RV as they spent on their first house. Those babies are expensive. We have actually visited RV lots recently checking out everything from tiny ones (unh-uh, not for me) to some with nine-foot ceilings, full-sized kitchens and large baths -- comparatively speaking, that is. And though I'm not sure you could even consider folks who have these luxury accommodations serious campers, I know I could definitely do some "camping" like that. In fact, camping in one of those would be a dream come true. But is it really camping when your camper is as big as your house and has all the same amenities? I tend to think not. Isn't camping meant to experience the wilderness at least a tiny bit? I think so.
So, as we hike along the trails and take in the sights and sounds of the resident campers, we fantasize about living the life one day. What if... we sold everything, bought a camper, and just made the state and national parks our backyard for awhile... we could take our "house" wherever we wanted to travel. Every single night, weather permitting of course, we would cook on the grill outside our door and my hubby could smell that famous charcoal or wood burning smell that captivates him when we walk. Just the smell of a grill going or a fire burning in an outdoor pit and our mouths start to water for a mile-high burger. In fact, the campground is one of our favorite places to walk at the park and many times it's our starting point just for its wonderful smells! It seems the life of a camper would be simpler, having to worry only about your immediate surroundings (the camper and your campsite), and daily life would be all about nature and soaking up every bit of it we could. I remember exactly one camping trip my family took when I was growing up. After we drove what seemed like all day somewhere in the mountains of north Georgia, we finally arrived at Camp Lost Horizon. And, believe me, there is a reason it was named that. It was deep in the sticks away from all the conveniences we were accustomed to. As a child, I truly thought it was lost somewhere beyond finding, even though we found it. Thank God for good directions. This was our first camping trip as a family, and my mother had planned long and hard to make this vacation everything she imagined it would be and to give her children the camping experience. Somewhere into the second or third day, my mother was eaten up with chigger bites and she thought she'd heard bears outside during the night, so she insisted we pack up and find the nearest motel in which to finish our vacation. The next morning after a good night's sleep in clean, comfy beds at the motel, I remember my dad preparing a full breakfast outside the motel room on a grill -- bacon, eggs and the works! It was just like camping, only better! We never took another camping vacation after that. After all, if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
As we are entering into the time of life where we feel it would be nice to slow down a bit, get back to nature and the "simpler" things of life, we have considered the camping lifestyle and how it might be a great alternative for us. After all, we love the outdoors more than we ever have, we enjoy hiking in the woods, and we love the idea of paring back, making it simpler and living with less. But could it be a reality or is it merely fantasy? Could we really cohabitate in a 200 or less square foot space every single day? Where would we go in the dead of winter if one of us couldn't sleep? What would we do if one needed solace from the other's endless chatter? It's something to really think about before taking the plunge into the unknown waters of RV living.
So for now, we'll just continue to fantasize about the camping life. We'll continue to make our burgers on our charcoal grill outside the screened porch and our campfires in our portable pit in the backyard by the pond. I mean, it really doesn't get much better than that anyway, does it?
Posted by CC
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