I am still smiling when I picture the setting of last Sunday: My 17 year old son left for his first 3 day camping trip (without us), but with 3 of his friends.
They checked thru everything in our basement and packed whatever they found useful: camping chairs, a tent, a mattress!, pillows, blankets, a solar lamp, a cooler, a lot of food, a kayak, water shoes, a cooker, a couple of t-shirts and I am sure I forgot a lot to mention.
I convinced him that he would need a towel, because he hopefully would shower sometime. They also camped on a lake. So he took ONE towel! The car was completely packed and they had a hard time fitting themselves inside the SUV.
They left very excited, freedom here we come.
I had to laugh and then I remembered my first camping trip with my friend Elli, traveling from Germany to Italy when we were 17 years young:
My first camping trip
We took the train and carried a big backpack with all kinds of stuff we thought we would need for a 2 week vacation.
Actually we mainly needed bikinis, the summer was very hot in Italy. We slept in a tiny little tent without even enough room to fit our backpacks and ourselves in. Our tent was overcrowded and uncomfortable, hot and sticky.
An interesting crowd occupied the campground and we had an awesome time. Alone from home, no parents, nobody who told us what to do. We definitely enjoyed our freedom and once in a while chose to sleep in somebody else’s tent.
Hey, we enjoyed life and we didn’t had to worry about anything or anybody else. We had fun, no need to worry. Who bothers when you are 17, you don’t really care about what other people say. We were free and we did whatever we wanted to do.
What a feeling – I wanted to get my freedom back.
That wasn’t my last camping trip. Many more came and I loved being independent and free on these trips.
These vacations changed as soon as I had my baby. I still didn’t feel like booking hotels in Spain or in Florida so we started renting Campers. We drove down the West Coast from Vancouver Island to Tijuana, Mexico and from Maine to Florida on many different trips.
Staying in National Parks was the best and we had the freedom of doing whatever we wanted to do. Well, we didn’t sleep in other peoples’ tents, but we still had fun.
Fast forward about 3 years ago…
Buying a camper
We tried camping again, but when you are passed 50 you enjoy sleeping in a bed and not on a flat camping mattress on the floor. (At least I do).
So last year we had the great idea to buy our own camper, to renovate it and to go on trips all over the East Coast of the US.
And because I love to renovate and paint and make things pretty that was a great idea. We bought a tiny, 10 year old camper and I started to renovate it right away.
If you are curious how I updated our Travel Trailer from brown/beige to light blue and pink here is How to Remodel a Camper Easy and Cheap
Feeling free or getting your freedom back
We went on our first trips and somehow I hoped, that I would have the same feeling again as being 17. But no, it felt so different. The easygoingness was gone, I couldn’t just let myself drift wherever it took us. I have different expectations now, than 40 years ago. (Well o.k. that is pretty obvious, but still….)
Just hanging around on the beach doing nothing, waiting for somebody or something exciting to happen as I used to, doesn’t work for me anymore.
I need to know in advance where I am going and what I am doing. I want to see things and do things, I like being active, going on hikes, into museums, on sight seeing tours or whatever exciting action there is out there. This is why I am traveling now.
Thinking of buying a Camper?
If you feel like I do, then read ‘How to plan a road trip‘ – if you use some Apps, it is really simple and so much easier. Do you own an RV? Are you thinking about buying one? Think about what you would like to do on your free time.
Do you like to pack the pets and the kids and hit the road? No need of making hotel reservations long time in advance and knowing where to go. With an RV you have the freedom to plan a couple of days ahead of time.
Read these tips first before you make a decision. Step by Step guide for buying an RV or Travel Trailer
Yes, I am not 17 anymore and easiness has disappeared, but on the other hand, there is a lot of cool stuff to do even when you are beyond 50.
Although we are traveling with a camper now and not with a tent – because we love sleeping in our own bed – we still enjoy our freedom of doing whatever we want to do. It just feels a little different.
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