Mention camping in conversation and you'll find some strong reactions. People either love it or hate it. I didn't grow up camping, but I happen to love it. Maybe it's the time away with my family, maybe it's getting away from it all, or maybe it's because I'm a true introvert at heart. Whatever it is, to me there's nothing like a camping trip for r&r. Even so, I admit that there can be some drawbacks to long stays in the great outdoors, especially with kids along.
Things I Dislike About Camping:
- Bugs. They're not my favorite, but you deal with them. Lucky for me I have two boy children who don't mind taking on freelance extermination jobs.
- Snakes. I've never actually seen one while camping, or hiking. I've heard of other people who've seen them, and so I'm ever leery of running into one.
- Other wildlife. Honestly, after living in bear territory for seven years, I don't scare easily anymore when it comes to wild critters. Live and let live, and put your food away at night.
- Showers. I don't like campground showers (particularly when they're cold). It's better than not having them though.
- Laundry. That's the worst thing on my list. At the end of every camping trip, I'm left with a massive pile of laundry that takes me a week to get through. Everything that we take camping ends of reeking of campfire smoke.
Things I Like About Camping:
- Fresh Air. We've got a big yard and lots of trees at home, but there's nothing like actually being out in the woods.
- Relaxation. Camp attire is quite casual. No one is worried about impressing others with the latest fashions. People walk around sporting baseball caps, sweatshirts and ponytails. I think it's good for my children to see that it's possible to have tons of fun, and not take hours primping for it.
- Lakes. I wish that I lived near a lake. Camping near one is the next best thing. Just the sight of the water calms me.
- Family time. I love having my kids away from all of the usual distractions like TV, computer, phone, neighbor kids. I get to spend real quality time with them.
- Work. Yes, I like the work that's involved with camping (at least to a certain degree). The kids are learning practical skills from my hubby and I: how to set up and break down a tent, how to safely build a fire, how to find your way in the woods, cook outdoors, etc. Each time they help with a task, I see their confidence grow.
- Stories. Every camping trip, there's at least one night where the kids absolutely insist on stories (the scarier the better). It's developed into a tradition for us, and the most wonderful part is that now the kids each come prepared to tell their own stories too.
- Play. Hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, exploring. With no TV at hand, we have to come up with ways to entertain ourselves. Somehow it's never a problem at all.
- Nature. There's something amazing about watching my kids absorb the beauty of the outdoors. They see everything, from the smallest flower, to the tallest tree. Even birds and insects are more interesting out in the woods.
- Campfires. They might be the cause of a lot of laundry for me, but there's something so primitive and earthy about a campfire.
- Food. Everything tastes better outdoors. Then there's the just for camping treats like, smores, campfire pies, and our new favorite, lemonade in a bag.
-Simplicity. When we're camping, and we're together as a family, it's easy to organize our priorities. We're all safe and well, everything else is just incidental.
- Memories. Even though BadDad and I are exhausted at the end of every camping trip, the kids are sure to ask when we're going again. They talk fondly about parks we haven't visited in years. These are going to be some of the fondest memories of their childhoods. And that, to me, is priceless.