If someone had told me 3 years ago that I would go camping, camping with three children, camping with three children and a dog… in a 5 birth caravan, a yoke that is nearly as big as our house but still quite small if it is lashing rain or freezing cold so you can’t spend a lot of time outdoors with a smallie… I would have told that someone to go get a grip. Camping? Me? The shower-in-the-morning-needer? The induction hob adorer? The tidy-upper? Hilarious!! Why would I do that? Let alone with three children. That’d be just mad, no? Well… last year, when I was heavily pregnant, I decided that I needed a caravan and that I needed it NOW. I suddenly felt the urge to bring the children on camping holidays. Everywhere. I was dreaming of beautiful camping adventures and making memories with all my children in a space that is as big as a regular shower cabin. The favourite husband listened and performed. He found a caravan big enough for us and we brought it home.
And we never looked back. Camping with children is adventurous. Loud. Chaotic. But it also provides quality family time. Slow mornings with extra cuddles in the big bed. Sometimes we have breakfast with a sea view. Some evenings we play outside until it’s too dark to see each other. We bring extra duvets in autumn and insect repellent in summer. There are board games and nintendos, ball games and picnics. We do city trips and beach days, we eat take-aways and simple dinners cooked on a teeny gas hob.
Those holidays are perfect for us. They teach us to slow down, to go with the flow, to allow badly needed naps as compensation for late bed times.
There are moments when I want to run away from them, too. When the evenings are just too long, the children are just too tired and the space we have to arrange ourselves with is getting too small. But at least I don’t have to have the kids ready and in proper, clean clothes for a hotel breakfast by nine o’clock in the morning. And isn’t that the one thing you DON’T want to do when on holidays?
Cork, October 2018
Wicklow, May 2018