Or at least for me, camping is not a holiday.
Before you read further, please note that I am very happy if you love camping, if you enjoy it, if it’s the option you choose for holidays. If you make it work for you and your family and love it, then I am delighted for you.
But for me, camping is not a pleasure. I don’t enjoy it, and really never have.
I have camped. At school, we did Duke of Edinburgh and I camped in very soggy Scottish mountains and fields littered with cow pats. I did it because I wanted my award and not because I loved camping. At the end of school we spent a week camping and hiking on the Isle of Skye. I hated every moment of it but was given no choice.
I have camped with families I have nannied for. I have even camped at the odd festival. I did a camping trip with friends before I got married and I have camped with Brownies and Guides when my daughter was a member of those organisations.
I just don’t get the fascination. Sleeping on the ground (and please don’t come at me about air mattresses and sleeping mats or camping beds, you are still sleeping on the ground. I love nature, and enjoy being in nature, but I don’t want to sleep in her. I have spent many a night shivering in a sleeping bag or sweating in a tent, with a sore back and hips, desperate to pee but not wanting to negotiate a dark field or campsite to get to the toilet to do so, I have cooked over a fire, used a camp cooker, washed up in streams, carried a soggy tent and camping kit for miles, spent nights listening to campsite neighbours being noisy til dawn. I have slept in a field of sheep, and even fought a sheep out of my tent once. It’s not for me, cheers.
I also don’t enjoy the sharing a toilet with lots of other people, the having to walk miles in the dark at night to the loo and or the not being able to wash much at all/pee in a bush thing either. If you are camping alone, you do get some privacy but if you are on a site with other people that is pretty limited. I think I am also scarred by the non sleeping years we had with our son, and the idea of being in a tent, awake all night with a non sleeping child is one that makes me sweat, a lot. We never did it, I wasn’t ever brave (mad) enough.
Camping for me, is in no way relaxing or a holiday. There is no privacy, and if the weather decides it’s going to rain or be boiling hot then you are either stuck in a soggy tent or a baking hot oven you can’t escape.
I get that camping has probably improved dramatically since I was at school and there are more sophisticated tents, kit and camping gear around now, but really, for me, it’s not fun. It may be cheap but if I wanted to sleep in a field near some sheep, I would become a shepherd. If i wanted to be woken with the birds at 4am, I would set an alarm at home and go sit in my garden with a cup of coffee.
We have been glamping, and that I can do, and you get the benefit of doing some of the things that I can see are fun with camping, without having to sleep on the ground or check your sleeping bag for spiders.
I know for many families camping is brilliant fun, and for us, we compromise. I would never stop the husband and kids from going camping, and they all love it and embrace all the fun that camping brings for them. They go, I stay home. The cats and I enjoy a peaceful few days and they get the joy of tent sleeping to their heart’s content.
There are some advantages to camping in that it can be an economical way to go away, and also to be able to travel and stay in places and I am in now way against kids being out in nature and enjoying life in the great outdoors. Many people find it fun, and love it. I am very happy for them.
Just don’t make me. I don’t camp. Camping is not a holiday. I like my own bed, and a loo I don’t have to share with nature’s finest, in the dark, having hauled myself out of a sleeping bag on the ground.
Are you a camping fan? Interestingly, when I asked on my social media, I found I wasn’t alone, phew…