Before we begin, let me define camping:

Camping, noun. Any event which requires an overnight stay in a location with rustic living conditions, no toilet hooked to the “living” structure, being forced to make dinner over some sort of open flame, and the likelihood of a tornado picking you up while in a sleeping bag and tossing you into Indiana. Because you’re too dumb to sleep in the real house you already own.

If you think camping involves a tent, meager supplies, and tinkling into the foliage then we are not of one mind. Please adjust your expectations and feelings about me accordingly. I can live with your disappointment.

I want to like camping, I really do. I just don’t. But I also know my kids love camping and my laziness shouldn’t deprive them of a wonderful childhood experience. My family camped all the time when we were kids. We’d hook the ancient camper to Dad’s Jeep and trundle off, stuffed to the gills with sleeping bags and marshmallows and bug spray. Eric’s family camped for years (and his parents still do) in tents! Tents! For a family of five!

As adults, this is appalling to both Eric and me because the work involved in packing, setting up, and repacking is horrifying. Eric and I both spent all day at work last Thursday, came home, tried to shove all the required things into the minivan, and then drove to the grocery store.

Eric almost lost his life in the middle the cracker aisle when he asked what I had packed for breakfast the next day. What he meant was “Do we need to stop in the breakfast aisle to grab some cereal?” What I heard was “I hope you remembered to pack some breakfast along with everything else you did today.” I nearly jumped for his windpipe with my claws extracted, but he saw the frantic look in my eyes and rephrased before I committed a violent act near the Cheese-Its. (Cheez-Its? It seems like sketchy spelling is involved in that snack cracker.)

Camping just really stresses me out. That’s my only excuse.

After spending more on groceries than we would have spent at a restaurant, we finally made our way to the campground where we had a cabin reserved for the night. This is the very same campground my family loved back in the 1980s, except WAY BETTER. Triponds is duly named for the three ponds on the property, and I spent my childhood happily swimming in the one with a beach (the other two were for fishing or something). The ponds are still there, but the family who owns it has added a pool, mini golf, a cafe, another swimming beach, tons of extra camping spaces, and cabins.

It’s like Audrey’s bike was made for this place!

Sweet, adorable, cabins. It’s tiny house living for a night at a time! I was in heaven until I realized I needed to unload the van. But I ate a few chips as we unloaded and felt better.

It really was fun, I have to say. Even getting up in the middle of the night to walk to the bathroom wasn’t too bad. But I realize this experience had nothing to do with actual camping. No bears ransacked our tent, we could have turned on the air-conditioning if it got too hot, and swimming pools hardly count as roughing it.

The kids had fun, although they would have had a lot more fun if we’d let them bring some friends. Maybe next year. Maybe if I get brave enough to try it again we can camp with their friends.

Lord, give me strength.

10 Comments on How a Non-Camping Family Goes Camping

  1. memyselfandkids.com
    September 4, 2015 at 6:20 pm (2 years ago)

    Look at you going rustic. Cool.
    How about the big city next year? I could give you lots of advice on NYC.

  2. David
    September 4, 2015 at 6:42 pm (2 years ago)

    Love it. Glad Eric survived the grocery store. I collected Beth last Tuesday. After 16 days under canvas or whatever tents are made of these days. I had folded down the middle row seats in the car and covered whole of the rear of the car in polythene before setting off. We sort of folded the tent and dumped it in the car. It has taken me since then to get it dry and clean (in/out of the garden, tent up/down in between the showers. Stick with the cabin Jessie. You know it makes sense.

  3. wineandhistory
    September 4, 2015 at 7:51 pm (2 years ago)

    That’s my kind of camping. Although I probably would have just gone to the grocery store for cereal and snacks, and gone to the cafe for the rest. Life’s too short for all that preparation!

  4. Jessie Clemence
    September 4, 2015 at 9:45 pm (2 years ago)

    Usually we go to hotels with a pool and then eat out for every meal, so this was a big step. (Or we stay home and whine. That’s our other option!)

  5. Jessie Clemence
    September 4, 2015 at 9:48 pm (2 years ago)

    I’ve never had to drag a cabin home in the car and then wash it out. I think your advice is sound and we’ll stick with the cabin!

  6. Jessie Clemence
    September 4, 2015 at 9:49 pm (2 years ago)

    Eric would love it! We get all excited about coming for the Thanksgiving parade every year, but never remember until it’s too late to plan.

  7. wineandhistory
    September 4, 2015 at 9:53 pm (2 years ago)

    We usually do some combination… Breakfast included at the hotel, picnic lunch and dinner out, or lunch out and grocery store dinner. We can make a mean fruit salad in an ice bucket! 🙂

  8. David
    September 5, 2015 at 5:15 am (2 years ago)

    I like cabins. The one we had in Sweden last year was great. But in terms of cleaning we had to clean it and have it inspected before leaving or pay the equivalent of about US$90! As far as Beth’s tent goes it cost £30 in the end of season sales a few years ago so she has done really well out it. While others got blown over or swamped by the rain this year dear old Beth survived! Sending her back (taking her back) to Youth for Christ today where she is volunteering for another year.

  9. Jessie Clemence
    September 5, 2015 at 8:55 pm (2 years ago)

    Yay, Beth! Is she thinking of a career in ministry?

  10. David
    September 6, 2015 at 2:44 pm (2 years ago)

    Not sure what happens with Beth after this year Jessie. Something we are praying about.