When I was a kid, the one thing we did often as a family was go to the lake. My grandfather gave my dad his old v-hull boat and my dad worked on that boat an entire winter to get it just the way he wanted. New seats. New fiberglass interior finish. New motor. When he finally got it ready to go, off to the lake we went.
We’d stay a whole week at a time – fishing, swimming, skiing and floating on air mattresses. We drank sodas from a can and ate bologna sandwiches and potato chips all day long. We ran free and did whatever we wanted. For a kid, there could be nothing better. Get dirty? No big deal, just jump in the lake. All we had for camping was a heavy canvas tent with a pole in the center and a Coleman stove, but those were some of the best days of my life.
When our own kids were growing up, we also had a tent and a Coleman stove. But we didn’t have a boat. We would drag those kids camping, sometimes more willingly than others, and we would camp. Turns out being the parent isn’t quite as much fun as being the kid. Camping is some work, am I right? As the mom, it seemed like all I did was prepare meals and clean up messes… and try to keep bored kids entertained. I suppose if we had a boat it might have gone differently, but we did hike and swim and float and enjoy the great outdoors. Even if the reality of adulthood took the wonder out of camping, I still really enjoyed those trips.
Now that we are mostly retired, Skip and I bought a little camper. I mean it’s small. It looks like half a camper, haha. Compared to our campground neighbors with their big rigs and their four slide outs and outdoor kitchens, ours looks like an egg theirs might have laid. But when you compare our camper to a tent, we have taken a big step up. This is luxury.
Our Aliner Ascape 13′ camper has a booth style table which converts into a queen size bed, a two burner gas stove, a small refrigerator, a built in microwave, a TV with soundbar and Bluetooth, a cassette toilet which is a real blessing, an outdoor shower, AND AN AIR CONDITIONER. We are not suffering. The best thing is that we can pull it with our KIA Sportage. It only weighs about 1600 pounds!
Interestingly, as it turns out, during this time of COVID 19 and social distancing, camping has become a popular activity. It’s sometimes hard to get a reservation these days. In a time that everything in our lives has been turned upside down, I am thankful we have this little camper. We love to fly, we love to travel, we love to go to restaurants and theaters. It has been painful to have to sit at home. At our age we see the clock ticking and we feel like we are waiting at the starting gate. At least when we are camping, we don’t dwell on what we are missing. We enjoy those days as if nothing had changed.
If there’s a silver lining to 2020, it’s that we have been forced to slow down. We’ve found the time to reflect upon our lives and what is important to us. Our campsite is my own personal place of reflection. I am, in that space, a happy camper.