How did you spend your last weekend of summer? In a bold move of parental confidence, my family decided to rent a 25-foot camper and head to upstate New York. My husband has a work associate whose family has a grouping of campers on a river, so we thought, “Hey, why not?!”
The kids had never been camping before and they could not have been more thrilled with this idea. Their excitement was through the roof when Daddy pulled the camper in the driveway. Along our journey, many memories were made and I learned a few things about myself, my family, and life in general.
It felt amazing to unplug! I always have my phone near me, but I found myself “needing” it less. I made sure that I took pictures to document our trip, but I didn’t have to photograph everything. I checked the usual social media a few times, but not frequently. My phone is always my watch, but I found myself letting the day just happen, more so than I can do at home. Not watching the clock like a hawk felt pretty amazing. This was unfamiliar ground for a mom who runs a tight ship with a militant schedule.
We are pretty dependent on morning television! I was excited to have a weekend of no TV. But the mornings were HARD! After our summer of leisurely mornings, I did not realize how dependent I was on that 25 minutes of Mickey Mouse. Mornings in a camper were mostly just us tripping over each other, trying to find things buried under mountains of blankets, the baby pulling everything out of the cabinets, my daughter demanding eggs NOW, and my son heckling people out of the window of the upper bunk. It was stressful. But with school starting again, we are going to have to get used to mornings with no Mickey….no better time to start than when you are crammed in a camper!
My children will not sprout potatoes in their ears if they go a few days without a bath! I bathe my children pretty frequently in the summer….mostly because it’s the one place where I can corral all three of them in one spot and kill an easy 30 minutes in the evening. But when you have a holding tank of only 16 gallons and a husband who is less than thrilled about emptying it….bathing the children turns into “let’s just wipe their faces.” They were filthy and I lived to tell about it!
Going out of your comfort zone can be quite freeing! We have never camped as a family, so I was nervous about how successful it could be. I also like to know where I am going and what to expect; the unknown factor was tough for me. Once we were on the road with the kids though, I felt myself relaxing. It’s good for my kids to observe me handle new situations and either struggle or succeed. And I think that it’s good for them to go outside their comfort zone with us. Exploring the campground, observing the process of fishing up close, going on a small passenger boat, dancing at a lobster cookout and playing with new friends were fun experiences for all of us.
We have too much stuff! We survived on very few “things” for the weekend and it was easier than I thought. I even could have packed much less. Emerging from the 25 foot camper into our house, one of my first thoughts was, “Geez we have too much stuff in this house.” This was some much needed inspiration to start cleaning out the crap at home.
Camper life is fine, but I like my bathroom! Our camper was nice, but boy oh boy did I breathe a sigh of relief when I got back to my bathroom. My lovely bathroom with a real size toilet and real shower! I felt like Carrie Bradshaw walking into the closet at Vogue. Squealing with delight puts it mildly.
What are your survival tips for family travel in tiny spaces?