A Camping We Will Go…
Y’all I feel it too. The desire to get out and just go DO something. I’m constantly balancing my thankfulness for everything we have with the restlessness inside my being that wants to get out there and be with the world. It’s an enviably problem to have.
We are still leery of leaving our home. There is so much unknown about COVID-19. We’ve already seen the strep virus majorly impact one of our children, so it is hard to step out when it could happen again. Kids are notoriously bad at social distancing, and not putting random objects in their mouthes. I’ve also been reading about how bad adults are at making rational risk calculations.
After many months of letting this all bounce around in my head, I called a family meeting. “I think we should plan some real camping trips.”
Jeff and I camped quite a bit in the time before kids. He is an Eagle Scout and avid camper. I’m happy to go along, so long as we don’t spend too many nights on the ground and Jeff does most of the work (Jeff edit: and it’s car camping, and there is good food and there are s’mores).
Camping with kids though is a new adventure. Not entirely new. We once crammed four of us into a tent in Rocky Mountain National Park for the elk rut. Meanwhile our couple friends relaxed in a much larger, roomier tent.
The Middle Little was not quite one. I earnestly thought we were going to die from either the cold or the bugling elk outside our tent. Any thought of ever doing that again was erased when the Big Little flat out refused to poop in the wild leading to constipation and lots of screaming.
In the Netherlands we glamped with friends. That was a lovely experience. The tent was all set up and ready to go when we arrived. In the Dutch version of camping there are cities within biking distance and we walked to a ropes course, ice cream and a petting zoo.
Camping has been on our mind since the early days of the quarantine. When we went into isolation Jeff took each of the boys camping down by the water for a night. They all loved it. Then it got too hot and muggy to even think about sleeping well outside.
So, with the promise of cooler weather and the enthusiastic cheers of the Littles, I grabbed whatever fall campsites I could find within a few hours’ drive. The plan for the fall is to learn to camp as a family.
We literally have none of the gear we need. Jeff’s trusty four-person tent is way too crowded. (I thought it was crowded with two of us!) I haven’t looked at our sleeping bags since we retrieved them from storage post Europe. I think our camp cook set is for two. We don’t own sleeping pads, a necessity as we approach 40.
I’ve always enjoyed the planning part of the trip nearly as much as the trip itself. The promise of camping and lack of gear has jolted me back to life. I now have something to research. How big of a tent do we really need? Look! This lady on Pinterest put together a camp cooking set from the thrift store and a Rubbermaid bin. I feel energized at the possibilities.
Never one to miss an opportunity to turn an adventure into a homeschool activity, I’ve also set to work creating criteria for different badges to earn while camping. My children are so motivated by badge earning, it is an easy win. Making Friends has so many fun badges, I ordered a few for things like campfire cooking, knot tying and hiking skills, and built studies around them. Each camping trip we will have the chance to earn some badges as a family while honing our skills.
I know we aren’t the only ones feeling like they just need a little something new. We have friends setting off on RV trips, thanks to the freedom of being new homeschoolers (or virtually schooling). Another friend is planning her fantasy family EU canal trip and realizing that post-covid, it could be. reality.
The world is tough right now. I feel the weight of it too. Planning something that seems feasible and moderate risk has given us something to look forward to. You will have to stick around to see how our family camping goes. (I’ve found some great options for tent camping and booked a few “glamping” nights.) I’m excited to be able to reframe some of this time into something new for our family.
I’d love to hear your family camping tips or what you are doing to help pass the cabin fever.