Things I Learned While Camping
Posted by homeschoolmentormom on August 2, 2011
Our family is on our second “season” of trailer camping. It really does involve some learning/skills to get it done right…lots of planning, too. Each trip seems to get easier; it’s almost a fine art. Here are some of the things I’ve learned by living in a trailer:
1. I learned how to flush a toilet with my foot: Lift up to add water, push down to flush. Oh—you have to be careful where you put the toilet paper…put it in the wrong spot and it won’t go down, so you’ll end up fishing for it. Yuck.
2. I’ve learned how to sleep on a dining room table: Well, once it’s transformed into a bed, that is.
3. I’ve learned how to sleep at odd angles: Head higher than my feet, feet higher than my head, one side of the bed slightly higher than the other (just enough that I feel like I’m “rolling” to one side, and so on.) We don’t have one of those new-fangled rigs that levels itself; we have to try to level off by driving the trailer wheels onto boards—so we can only get so close.
3. I’ve learned how to shower in the tiniest spaces imaginable, where I touch a wall or shower curtain with every move (yuck again.)
4. I’ve learned how to open cabinet doors: We only just realized that half our cabinets (the ones we thought we had to yank hard to open, and slam to close) have a retractable catch on them…all we have to do is pull up a tiny bit on the knobs to open and close the cabinets gently (if they aren’t ruined because we yanked on them and slammed them so often.) Boy, do we feel silly. I guess it goes back to that old axiom: “read the instructions.”
5. I’ve learned to put on my make-up and blow-dry my hair sight unseen.
6. I’ve learned that nature (or camping?!) seems to affect people’s personalities: It makes them kinder, friendlier and more helpful to others. NOTE TO SELF: Spend more time in the natural world and in nature study next year!
7. I learned to do without most of the things I thought I couldn’t do without.
8. I learned to appreciate simple things like my own, comfy bed and a hot shower (especially a shower that lasts as long as you want it to.) I’ve also learned to do what my dad called a “Navy Shower”: Get in and rinse off; turn the water off. Stand there shivering and soap up, then turn the water back on to rinse. Brrr. I’m asking my hubby to install an electric “instant” hot water heater in our trailer ASAP.
9. I learned that when little boys play outside long enough, they’ll put themselves to bed.
10. I learned that a large family can indeed live happily in a very small space.
11. I learned that real life experiences really are the best teachers (for me and the kids).
Helpful hints for new RVers/Campers:
*Create a master packing list (and remember, you really can’t have too many towels, wipes, or zippy bags–we use them to “catch” throw-up on windy roads, and for collecting treasures at the beach, etc.) Kathy: Thanks for the idea! Ben only threw up *once* this trip…the bags worked perfectly.
*Bring bicycles, scooters, etc.
*Buy an electric griddle and cook outside a few mornings (we had scrambled eggs, bacon, and pancakes!)
*Spurge on some really comfortable chairs and a BIG plastic rug for outside time…when you RV, your family room is outside.
*Bring family games along (this trip we played Double Solitaire, Casino, Three Kings in a Corner, and Uno Tiles.)
*Plan to spend lots of time walking and hiking (the trail guides at CA’s state parks are worth the quarter…give the kids the job of finding the markers along the trail. Your job is to read each marker’s entry—it explains what you’re looking at–and help your kids grow their sense of awe.) We love getting out in nature! This trip we’ve seen: Deer, Cormorants (and their babies!), ducks (and ducklings!), Stellar Jays, Chipmunks, and one giant Banana Slug (among other critters.)
-Stop at state parks! Be sure to check out the park’s visitor center. Our favorite this trip was at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park: The Visitor’s Center had labeled birds nests and other park “finds”; stuffed wildlife (we asked, and yes, they died natural deaths…Ben said the tiny fawn there made him want to cry); lift and match flaps with info about the coastal redwoods, animal habitats, etc; maps; history of the area, AND—the boy’s favorite—rubber stamps of animal footprints (we wished we had more time there, but we got there near the end of the day.)
*Have campfires at night and hang out around them; make S’Mores (you can buy JUMBO sized marshmallows at Target stores)
*Spend at least ONE day doing NOTHING but “hanging around” the campsite and relaxing
*Have fun! ~Susan
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