When I think back to holidays as a child, there were three kinds. Camping, caravanning and holidays abroad. The first time I sat on an airplane it 1986, I was 10, and we were on a 747 destined for my happy place. I’d never seen an airplane other than the ones that my Granny used to leave on to Spain each year when we dropped her off at the airport.
Before Walt Disney World [I think we all know how much I love Disney], my most cherished holiday memories were cultivated in a field of puddles. That field was always situated a short distance from a sandy beach with chilled rock pools and tiny, slippery green and brown crabs – and in my memories almost always was surrounded by hilly meadows of wildflowers and dandelions.
Pre-holiday trips to the camping store involved the purchase of 1970’s style sleeping bags and men’s Hunter wellingtons for my dad, and featured me and my younger sister running in and out of the assembled tents and caravans pretending they were our houses.
I know we camped because that was what people did in the 80s. We toured the South of England – where I now live – with our family sized orange tent, and we BBQed and built sandcastles and hunted for winkles and razor shells [and dead crab legs to chase my sister with] on the beach. It was all about the outside world and nature. My very favourite memory has to be leaping in and out of a [child] trench sized puddle in my Wonder Woman pyjamas and wellies whilst my mum made breakfast. It’s amazing how that cost nothing, but stayed in my childhood bank of happiness for decades.
|Our Wilderness Explorers in Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom with Dug
Now it seems so different. There’s glamping, yurts, deluxe camping sites – all a world away from when I was little [I won’t tell you the poop on a stick story, or the mallet story; I’m sworn to death on one of those by my sister], and so much more high maintenance. There’s no doubt as an individual I’d relish the luxury of these types of break [read: I’d give my Kingdom for one], but for families with children, I wonder what the point is – what memories they can make from such a “clean” camping experience.
I know my mum hated cooking – so perhaps the change is a good thing – but everything seems so far removed from nature now – and much more highly priced. It seems as though what we’re trying to avoid and yet encounter at the same time is nature.
Perhaps I’m wrong – and I’ve no experience of luxury camping – but I was a Venture Scout and the challenges of camping were the most fun I had. We’ll no doubt be considering camping this year as an option – so which one would you prefer? Roughing it in nature, getting an authentic experience, or revelling in luxury surroundings, no grasshopper in sight?
This post is sponsored by Cotswold Outdoor, but the content and opinion are mine alone.