Two camps divided on family ‘vacation’

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Lori Welbourne / Guest Columnist

After a week of camping with my family in the great outdoors, or rather a jam-packed campground, I have these three words: I love home!

We had phenomenal weather, met some wonderful people, floated down the canal, painted rocks, played cards, went to the fair, took the kids go-karting and even found time to read. Not too bad after my initial resistance to the trip.

“So,” my husband said at the end of the week. “Should we do this again next year?”

From our beautiful site directly on the beach I looked out at the lights glistening off the lake and smiled.

“Or,” I said with my eyebrows raised. “We could stay in a hotel.”

“You had fun,” my husband said. “I know you did.”

“I could have more fun in a hotel,” I replied, having experienced both accommodations and preferring the one with room service.

It wasn’t just about the room service, though, since I rarely order that anyway. It was about peace and quiet instead of partying campers who kept me awake all hours.

It was about walking down carpeted hallways instead of dusty dirt roads. And it was about a private toilet in the middle of the night instead of an ice cream bucket that would later need emptying.

I could understand the carefree appeal of camping for children since I used to be one and loved it as well. But now that I was an adult and partly responsible for all the work that camping brings, I wanted to understand the appeal for adults. The sweet family of six tenting next to us said they loved being outdoors and sleeping in close quarters because it forced them to connect in a way they couldn’t with all the distractions of real life at home.

I respected that, but it was the lady two sites down who really spoke my language. “I’m a princess like you,” she said. “The only camping I do is in this bad boy.”

As I entered her fancy motorhome, bigger and nicer than some of the hotel rooms I’ve stayed in, I understood why she liked camping. She had her own shower and toilet for heaven’s sake. What’s not to like?

“You weren’t exactly roughing it either,” pointed out a friend of mine after I whined about the crummy Internet connection and having to use a knife as a mirror to apply make-up when the washroom was being cleaned.

“You were in a big tent trailer with electricity and bathroom facilities nearby.”

For a moment, I tried to imagine a week without electricity and the fear I could instill with my caveman hair and foul expression.

Admittedly, I knew I was lucky. Roughing it is relative, especially when we remember how millions of people live on a daily basis in third world countries.

This trip might not have been my idea of a relaxing vacation, but amazing memories were made, our kids had a blast and now my small, messy house seems like an immaculate mansion by comparison.

Maybe camping isn’t such a bad idea, after all.

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