I went camping with my family last week. I didn’t want to, but my kids really did. Leading up to the trip I quietly dreaded it, and then the day we left for the two and a half hour drive to the campground I felt oddly excited.
The last camping trip we went on was a couple of years ago and I didn’t love the experience. Crammed in an incredibly busy area, I felt like a sardine in a can and was counting down the days until I could escape. Sleeping in a tent trailer and walking down a dirt road to shower with spiders in the public restroom wasn’t my cup of tea either. This time, I was told, would be different. Why? Because we’d be in a hotel on wheels, also known as a motorhome.
Not in a fancy hotel with all the bells and whistles, mind you. It would be more like an economically priced no-frills motel on wheels.
But I didn’t care. I was going to have electricity, a toilet, a kitchen and a shower. So, not exactly roughing it like a true camper. But I think we’ve established I’m nowhere near being one of those.
When we arrived at our destination I was immediately charmed. The small lake was gorgeous and serene, there was a row of simple cabins, and the campgrounds behind them were large, spacious and surrounded by trees.
As I stood by the docks watching my husband and son unload the fishing boat, the owner and I started talking and immediately hit it off. She was a beautiful woman and looked like she belonged in the city shopping with me rather than out in the boonies. Caroline explained how she and her husband used to live in Kelowna near us, but he had found this place on the internet a few years earlier, and when they went to check it out in person, it was love at first sight.
I could see why. It really was gorgeous and suited its name, the Jewel Lake Resort. But then she dropped a bomb: no internet and no phone service. Oh my gosh, I might as well have been trapped in a tent.
“It’s kind of nice to unplug for a while,” she said. “That’s a huge attraction for a lot of people. You can totally relax and disconnect from the outside world up here.”
After setting up our site, my husband and 12-year-old son went off to kill fish while our 10-year-old daughter, Daisy, and I wandered around the campground. Stopping in for ice cream at the office, we discovered a vast array of books, board games and some pictures of Caroline’s husband, former NHL player Jim Harrison, up on the wall. Turned out the guy was in the Guinness Book of World Records for most points scored in a professional hockey game with 3 goals and 7 assists back in the ‘70s.
Yeah, okay. If an energetic high-achieving dude like that could kick back and relax out in the wilderness, I should be able to as well. I decided a little downtime and not being able to work for a couple of days would be good for me.
And it was. I picked daisies, played games, had a few drinks, read a magazine, made some friends, relaxed by the fire, and slept like a log.
Did I miss having wifi and phone service for a few days? Yes I did. But not nearly as much as I thought I would. Caroline was right — being unplugged forced me to relax and disconnect from the outside world.
I wouldn’t want to do it full time, but shutting off the computer and phone temporarily through the week in order to get grounded and calm the heck down seems like a good idea to me now.
Sleeping in a tent and showering with spiders still doesn’t.