Go camping!

If, like me, you were brought up in Pretoria, South Africa then you most likely encountered loads of camping trips endowed upon you by your parents in the misguided belief that it would be “fun for everyone”. Aside from the fact that camping is of course, cheap. For me, at the time it felt that all we were doing is visiting boring after boring, dusty after dusty venue with nothing to do but read.

If, like me, you were also forcefully endowed into the abysmal system of slavery that was called ‘conscription’ in the South African National Defence Force, you probably encountered other kinds of “camping” trips that made the experience from childhood seem like a walk in the park.

All of this, instilled in me a complete sense of dread and adversity whenever camping was involved. Over the last years of my adulthood, I’ve simply shunned all forms of camping as “sub-human”.

So, here I am 20 years later, having actually enjoyed a camping trip. Vincenzia’s requirement for her 32nd birthday was a simple one, yet for me (initially) nearly unachievable due to my preconceptions.

She wanted an “adventure”. With Ruben now at the age of seven, and really having developed into a true rascal, my years of shying away from camping was bound for an overhaul. Besides, I’d actually bought a tent about a year ago so with the idea that Ruben could have some fun with it.

So, Ruben and I google’d mom’s secret adventure, and landed onto the website of Hartebeespoort Oord, camping and otherwise average-looking resort.

Aside from the fact that there was a (apparently unsuccesful) Christian Rock concert scheduled for the entire weekend (have you _ever_ heard of something as oxymoronical as Christian Death Metal?) the weekend was a blast. Ruben used his scooter in the pretty impressive skate park, we played mini-golf, swam for hours in the heated pool, and just generally relaxed.

I stuck to a few basic rules though:

1. Go prepared. In fact, go overprepared.
2. Go somewhere where there is LOTS of green grass.
3. Go somewhere where there is LOADS of things to do for a 7 year old kid.
4. Limit the damage by going somewhere close, and only going for one night (grin).

In all, it’s turned out  to be a complete blast (again, aside from the Christian Death metal).

I guess sometimes  you have to “get out of it”  a little bit in order to appreciate things back at home, and to see what the rest of the world is doing.  It also takes you out of your comfort zone, away from the drudgery, and just this  simple act, of 36 hours  has taken nearly a million miles off my stress-ridden shoulders. Vincenzia was entirely delighted with the birthday “present” and has already started planning another million trips I’m sure…

I might try this again, in a few months time. Time to start un-turtling… (Thanks Joe). If only there was a site somwhere on the interweb’s where people could rate their experience truthfully. Hmmm. Maybe I shoudld consider registering the24trip.co.za …  😉

Author: roelf on June 29, 2009
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