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Is Camping a Vacation?

“Why don’t we go camping?” Every year, as we sit down to discuss summer vacation plans, my husband will inevitably ask this question. Every year the answer is the same – NO. It’s not his fault. Someone must have told him, wrongly, that persistence pays off. No matter how hard he tries to convince me that camping would make a great summer vacation for our family, the fact remains that camping is not a vacation.

In my opinion, camping is nothing more than work! I just can’t find the fun’ in camping. First, you load the truck with enough gear to see you through the longest African safari. Work. Once you get to your campsite, you unload. Work again. Then, you set up everything, build a fire, and cook dinner over the fire. Work, work, work! Then you . . . what? You sit on a folding chair and stare at the fire. Finally, when the boredom is just too much to bear, you crawl into your tent, and sleep in a bag! Right? Where’s the fun?

I have asked several friends, who highly recommend camping, just what do they do after they set up their campsite. The answers that I received ranged from “hiking” to “ride a bike” to “sit around, talk and drink.” BORING! I don’t even own a bike, and as for sit around, talk and drink’, well, I can do that at home!

And hiking, well that is just another draw back to camping. I am not a hiker! The only hiking that I like to do is around a mall. I really doubt that there is a view that I need to see, or ‘nature’ that is so breathtaking or obscure that I must see it no matter how far the hike. If I want to see obscure nature, I can go to the mall on Saturday night and watch the mating rituals of the local teenagers! Just going to the bathroom requires a ‘hike’ too. And, if you need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, which is a given once you are middle-aged, you need a flashlight, a pair of shoes, and a good sense of direction! At home, the bathroom is just down the hall.

Some friends recommended swimming in the lake. Personally, I don’t like to swim in a lake. There is something about not being able to see what my feet are stepping in, or whatever those things are that brush past my legs and freak me out. I like a pool. In a pool, I can see my feet, and I don’t have to worry about unseen things’ rubbing against me. Besides, I was never told to get out of the water because of a snake-sighting at a pool! I know there are campgrounds that have pools, but, as my husband would say, “that is not roughing it.” I wouldn’t get the true “camping experience” if I swam in a pool.

Don’t get me wrong, I have tried the whole camping experience. Years ago, my husband and I rented a cabin in northern Pennsylvania. It had a bathroom, refrigerator, stove, beds, and a television. Just as I thought it wouldn’t be so bad, I realized that the television was a portable, 13-inch black and white model, with no remote control. No remote control! Every time I wanted to change the channel, I had to get up and actually walk over to the television. Talk about roughing it! I don’t know how I made it through the week! That is as close to roughing it’ as I ever want to be again!

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