You know how you can take a wild animal and train it to become domestic? You know how they always say that it doesn't work the other way around? That they can't release zoo animals back into the wild or Orca Whales from Sea World back into the ocean? That the animal will not be able to survive in the wild? Well, in the last two weeks I discovered that this is also true of humans.
A family friend was getting married a couple of provinces away and as we had never done a family vacation before my husband and I had the extremely intelligent idea to turn our trip to the wedding into a family get away. The theory of this was really very sound and would likely have worked out wonderfully...IF we had been been more wise in the way that we executed the endeavor. Our "inspired" idea was to turn it into our very first family camping trip. Naively we thought we were being brilliant. Think of the money we would save without staying in hotels! Think of the magical moments roasting marshmallows in the evenings and and playing games in the trailer on rainy days! Think of how hassle free we would have things without having to haul stuff into a hotel every night! Oh how innocent we were.
We started off on the wrong foot to begin with. We were late leaving town and immediately realized we had forgotten some very important items...like an axe. This put us even further behind schedule since we obviously had to go back to pick ours up since chopping firewood with a kitchen knife is pretty near impossible. As it turned out we needn't have bothered. Camping, it seems, has changed since I was a kid. Not a single campsite, except for the one we stayed at in the city where we attended the wedding (take note I said IN THE CITY, all the other campsites were in the country) allowed fires. Not only did they not allow them...they didn't even have fire pits! The closest we came was one campsite that had a small fire STAND! Something like a mini barbecue on top of a pole.
As for the saving money without staying in hotels thing? Again, naive. We quickly discovered that the cost of driving my dad's pick up truck (our SUV is not large enough to tow the very heavy trailer we borrowed. It's not a big trailer but it's old so it's heavy) plus pulling a trailer is about tripple what we had originally expected. We had to fill up gas a minimum of every two hours and each fill cost around 80 bucks. And if we didn't find a gas station every 100 km or so (which happened three times)....we ran out of gas. Costing us even more money as we had to either call a tow truck or walk to find fuel. In a matter of days we realized we were totally blowing our budget.
Then there was the hassle thing. We travel a lot and so honestly we are pretty excellent packers. The hassle of hauling stuff into a hotel every night and then out again the next day ended up being WAY less than setting up and taking down a campsite daily. Add to that the fact that when camping you are still washing your own dishes, cooking your own food, cleaning up your own area....and we quickly deduced that this was NOT vacation. This was simply taking your life on the road, cramming it into closer quarters, and doing it while sleeping closer to your neighbour than if they actually lived in your own backyard.
By the time we reached our first official stop we were SO ready for a break. We spent two days in a mall, at a water park, and on amusement park rides. That part was all a welcome relief and the kids LOVED every minute. However, while there my cell phone, containing my entire brain as well as access to all my information, was stolen. So we ended up spending our first full evening and a good part of the second day working on trying to resolve that issue.
When we finally reached the wedding city we had decided we were now MORE stressed than before we left home and were DONE with this camping idea. We were tired of being dirty. Tired of tiny camp showers and trying to cook our meals on a teeny tiny stove. We were tired of driving and tired of campsites. We were done with constant disappointment and ready for REAL relaxation. I.E. A hotel. So we decided that after the wedding we would simply head straight home rather than extending our stay for the initially planned second week. We decided that even staying in a fairly nice hotel and paying for our food would still end up SAVING us money compared to what we were spending on camping.
We spent a wonderful few days attending the wedding and seeing friends and family in the wedding city. That part of our trip was 100% worth it. Honestly I wish that had been our whole trip. Next time we will probably just fly there and stay with family or at a hotel. It was SO incredible to see all our friends and family. Made me very homesick for them and for that city!
The day after the wedding we began our trip home and it was a good thing! Just a few hours into the trip Lancelot got a wicked high fever and was very sick. We stopped at a hospital where they said he had a throat infection and put him on antibiotics. The next day Little Lady had it. By the time we got home we were all sick and everyone but PC was on antibiotics! Not much of a vacation!
However, determined to still salvage our vacation we packed up and headed for a hotel in the city. Thankfully we had an amazing time there! We swam a LOT, shopped a little, ate out or ordered in and played with the kids. The perfect vacation! And we are totally ok with being domestic animals!