To camp or not to camp

It’s been almost a month since we’ve returned from our early summer holiday on Brač island. Since then all my social media newsfeeds have been full of pictures of beaches, sunsets and scantily clad people. This makes me even more determined to capitalise on the promise I made to myself (once again), that this summer (and this time for real) we won’t be spending weekends at home. When our work schedules, social functions and weather finally align and we’re ready for a weekend break all the hotels that come into consideration are either fully booked or outrageously overpriced. Then – every year at about the same time – I have the same great crazy idea: We should go camping!

I’m not totally unfamiliar with camping. I’ve experienced just enough of it that the romanticized idea of freedom, spontaneity and living with nature still sticks with me:

  • As a child I spent a couple of summer holidays camping with my parents. I still remember the huge tent we had set up at a campsite somewhere in Istria. There wasn’t a single tree around it and the days were so hot that by today’s standards all weather alerts would be glowing red. But my father had this theory that in the evening our exposed tent would cool down much faster than the ones standing in the shady pine forest. I spent most of the days in water just steps away from the tent and fell dead asleep as soon as the night fell, heat or no heat.
  • One of the first travels with my now husband was a three-week camping trip of Ireland. We were on student budget and the whole trip cost us less than we’re able to spend during a weekend break now. At that time we truly learned to appreciate little things: An ice cream to finish off our modest dinner of baked beans with tuna. A calm evening when our tiny gas stove was not constantly getting blown out by the wind. We carried all our equipment in our backpacks and envied all those lucky bastards travelling by car for being able to sit on proper chairs!
  • My most recent camping experience happened a few years ago, when some more business-minded campsites invented glamping. My husband treated me to a night at a cosy wooden hut of Camping Bled as a birthday surprise. I loved the comfort of proper bed, the luxury of our private bathroom and the unique outdoor wooden hot tub. Soaking in hot water under the starlit summer sky while sipping champagne – now, that’s camping I could get accustomed to.

The whole scenario I described above repeated last week. I was seriously considering the idea of spending the weekend camping somewhere in the Alps, possibly right on the shore of some crystal clear lake – the whole idealistic image included. There were just two obstacles holding me back:

  • The fact that currently all our camping equipment consists of two sleeping bags. At first I almost started browsing for a new tent. Apparently, now you can buy tents that pop up right out of a Sport Billy bag, that’s how much the technology has evolved since our camping days, so I thought this would be something we could handle. But then I figured out it would probably be cheaper if I booked one of those overpriced hotels and gave it a pass.
  • The fact that my husband is as enthusiastic about camping as he is about inflating my SUP board or having one of his kidneys removed. I was weighing my options and couldn’t decide whether trying to realise my romanticized image of camping was worth risking having him on the brink of a mental breakdown after a stressful week.

But then something totally unexpected happened – my parents phoned me letting me know they were returning home with their camper van for the weekend. My first obstacle was suddenly resolved and as for the second I thought I would handle it somehow. Just like that we were due for our next camping experience.

Are you curious how it ended? Check back for my report on Camping Challenges for Dummies soon. Spoiler alert: We’re still alive. 🙂