When do you feel like a real camper?

We finally feel like we relax more and stress less at the campground.  It is a great feeling!

When we first bought our pop-up and started camping, I felt like an imposter or someone from the outside looking into this secret club of folks that knew what they were doing.  It all seemed so natural and effortless to seasoned campers.  I was constantly struggling and scrambling at the campground.  Things would break, or we just didn't know what to do.  When do you go from the one scratching around to figure it all out to a member of the camping club?

Peggy Sue on our second trip camping.  The was the beginning of our journey.  A lot has changed since then!

When do you feel like a real camper?

Honestly, if you are camping, you are a real camper.  There is no unspoken rule book or secret handshake.  I think there are lots of curmudgeons out there that have their definition of a "real camper".  You know the ones.  "It isn't real camping unless you are in a tent."  Or, there are others that will tell you that you have to backpack into a remote location with everything strapped to you under a certain weight limit for it to be real camping.  I am willing to do lots of things, tent camping included, but you can take me off of the list of "everything has to be hard, dirty, and remote" for it to be camping.  You get to define what camping looks like and is enjoyable for you!  And, don't let anyone tell you differently.

Spending Thanksgiving at the campground in 2020 was a highlight for us last year.  It was an excellent trip!

First, I don't know if we are so much "campers" as much as we enjoy the RV lifestyle.  What I mean by that is we enjoy traveling in our RV.  We like going to campgrounds, hiking, biking, and building a good campfire at the end of the day. We enjoy traditional camping activities and locations.  But, we also like the flexibility of being able to hitch up and see new things beyond the campground.  Some of the travel and experiences we seek out are less "campy" and are more for traditional travel and sightseeing activities.  Just because we are traveling with your RV doesn't mean we have to be camping per se.  Our RV simply functions as our accommodations on wheels.  I suppose I am parsing with the semantics of it all.  Whether you consider yourself a camper, glamper, or RV enthusiast, at some point it all involves an RV or shelter of some sort that is mobile.  So, it's camping for me.  And we can all further identify into our own preferential categories, but overall you are a camper.

In 2020, we took our longest trip.  I felt like it was one of our best, and we felt confident in every decision we made for a change.

During our last trip of 2020, this may have been the first time that we felt confident enough to take a long trip and not be afraid of all of the "what ifs".  We had taken enough trips since 2018 that we were up to the challenges of a long RV journey.  We leaned into lots of random events on that trip.  We also returned home happy and ready to hit the road again.  We did it!  We were real campers.  But, I think we have been real campers all along.

We really learned a lot during our days in a pop-up camper.  I'm so glad we started out in a pop-up!

Our pop-up was comfortable and cozy on the inside.  I really loved those years!

If you are just starting out camping with your family, as a couple, with friends, or as a solo traveler, you are a camper.  The trips and experiences you have along the way will define the type of camper you are and how you enjoy spending your time on the road.  You are a real camper no matter how you outline your preferences!  You may not be confident about putting up that tent, setting up your RV, or doing your thing at the campground.  But, you are a camper.  

One thing that I know for certain is that someone is always going to know more than you, and you will always have something new to learn.  Embrace those facts and soak it all in.  As camping newbies, we asked lots of questions.  I still ask lots of questions.  The more you know, the better prepared you are at the campground (and in life).

Some of our favorite activities at the campground include taking walking, hiking, or just walking the dogs!

We have enjoyed many different types of campgrounds.  Over the years, we have learned that we like a mixture of experiences.  

And don't be that person at the campground that pops open a cold drink to watch the couple across the way fighting as they back into their spot or set up in despair.  It's just not a good look for you or them.  If anything, lend a hand if you feel inclined or walk away.  No one loves an audience for those days.  We have sought out help for attaching our weight distribution hitches, leveling our camper, and everything in between.  

In many ways, I think the only secret club in camping is being able to find a friendly face that is willing to give advice or offer help when you need it on the road.  All the negative Nelly's in the world just form this collective dark cloud that I stay far away from.  I camp to get away from the daily grind and enjoy some free time. The last thing I want to do on the road is to listen to a poo-poo parade.  

Home really is where we park it.  I feel totally at home in our RV and enjoy our time together as a family no matter where we are!

When the weather is cold or rainy, we enjoy games on tv trays inside.

If this is the year that you want to start camping, do it.  Make it happen.  Rent a cabin, tiny house, yurt, or a glamping tent.  Buy or borrow a tent to get outdoors.  Camp in your backyard.  You can even rent an RV to dip your toes in the water.  Whatever you do, get outdoors and explore.  It's a great activity to enjoy solo, with friends or your family.  There is no wrong way to camp unless you aren't doing it, and that's okay too.  It isn't for everyone.  But, if you are camping, you are a camper.  And with your journey will come the confidence to go more often and farther from home.  One day, you will look up and realize how long you have been camping and how easy it has become.  It's a great feeling, and I feel like we have learned a lot and grown together as a family along the way.

RV sales and visitors at state and national parks are at an all-time high.  There are more people hitting the campgrounds all across this country as more people get outdoors and social distance.  I hate that phrase by the way.  I just don't know what else to say.  But, this is a great time to start camping and take advantage of all it has to offer.  

Meals are always sweeter outside.

You don't have to be experienced to start camping.  There will be another camper at the campground that will be willing to help you.  Our family might very well be that group of campers.  It's a great chance to pay it forward in a small way.  If you are a veteran camper, be on the lookout for newbies out there and welcome them to the campground.  Let someone ask you questions and encourage them to keep going.  

Until next time...