Anyone that knows me well has heard me state quite emphatically that I HATE camping. In my world there is no reason to schlep all your earthly belongings around with you when you have a perfectly good waterproof, warm and sturdy home and there are BnB’s and hotels available. And yet, somehow I am drawn to blogs by people who persist in this habit.
Our family camped when I was a child because it was what we could afford for our vacations. Dad was always coming up with some new fantastic idea of ‘torture’. We started camping with this old, smelly US Army surplus canvass tent, probably a WWII leftover. The thing was enormous! It took all 5 of us to put the crazy thing up and then we were so exhausted we just wanted to sleep, didn’t matter that it smelled musty and every bug for a 5 mile radius was invited in by the holes in the screening. It was our home away from home.
When I was about ten years old Dad upgraded to a pop-up trailer he got in a “shrewd business deal.” Probably traded something for something for something else to get this – in my opinion – horrible thing but it was ours and it had an indoor kitchen. Whoo Hoo! We no longer had to schlep all that kitchen cooking gear to cook outdoors but, Mom loved cooking outdoors so we still schlepped it with us in addition to the cooking equipment in the trailer. (I have to admit, food tastes better outdoors. Just don’t ask me to camp to get a meal outside. That’s why we built a screen-porch.)
Not long after getting the pop-up camper, Dad got a deal on an old laundry delivery truck. Oh how he loved working on converting that truck to a camper. He planned the layout and built a kitchen and sleeping quarters to make the truck more comfortable. Dad got such satisfaction hearing all the compliments and praise for his ingenuity. Then he sold it only to buy another one. I lost count of how many trucks Dad converted but it seemed every year there was a different type of panel truck in our driveway in some state of renovation. All throughout my high school years, Dad had us helping to work on those truck conversions. I think it was three or four but, through upgrades with each truck conversion Mom and Dad were able to afford a real hard-top camper. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately for me, I was already old enough to not have to be subjected to camping ever again.
With time and a lot of hard work, Mom and Dad were eventually able to trade-in their hard-top camper and afford the camper of their dreams……an Airstream. They continued to LOVE camping, why? I have no reasonable explanation except to say that they loved it and took great pleasure in camping and meeting new people; maybe it allowed them to afford to see so much more of our great country on their limited budget. Mom and Dad have passed on but the memories of camping are still with me; not all bad, some quite good memories.
I still loath camping but for some unknown reason, I am drawn to others’ trials, tribulations and triumphs brought about through their camping escapades. Recently I started following a blog by a young family in Latvia. They are caravan owners, lovers of herbal tea, and have two (oops three) adorable little girls that make me wish my grandsons lived closer. Whatever the reason, I find Ilze’s blog charming and find myself quite contently reading the next chapter in a day in the life of a Latvian Mom. Thank you, Ilze for sharing your family with me.