I got to thinking recently about what home means to me. We've lived in our house for 7 years now, having bought an old wreck, and done it up ourselves slowly but surely. It's round the corner from where my grandparents used to live, and I have family just round the corner. I love our house, and do feel at home here now. But there's always some kind of chore that makes truly relaxing difficult to do at home. After an hour of sitting reading my book, I start to feel guilty about the plants that need re-potting in the garden. Next thing I know, I'm washing the dishes, putting the rubbish out, and tidying the kitchen. Just as we're sitting down to watch a dvd, someone calls at the door. You get the picture...
Now don't get me wrong, I love people calling in, and don't mind putting the effort in to the chores so that our house looks nice. But when I really think about where I'm happiest, where I most feel at home, where I can truly and completely relax, where I don't feel guilty about chores, it's not our house at all, but our tent.
There is no pleasure on earth like getting the tent pitched somewhere stunningly beautiful, on a calm afternoon, and sitting down for an hour or two to enjoy reading my book in the beautiful surroundings, knowing I have nothing to do, and there will be no-one to disturb.
Then, when hunger begins to call, there's no thinking - "What will we have tonight?" or "Oh no, there's nothing in the fridge, we'll have to go shopping". You just have to have whatever is in your bag, no thinking required. And you don't even have to feel guilty if it's supernoodles (again), because you're outside, it feels healthy enough, you don't need vegetables too!
Even chores like cleaning the pot feel like camp craft and therefore fun.
And the best bit - walking up in the morning, unzipping your tent and being greeted once again with the most spectacular view. You'd almost forgotten how nice your camping spot was, and you're right there and ready to explore.
Of course, to love camping, and your tent so much, you need a good one, and some decent gear to go with it - if you've been kept awake all night by flapping sides, leaking seams, and cold seeping through your mat, you aren't going to be a happy camper!
For a good night's camp, make sure you've got the essentials sorted..
Must-haves for a good wild camp experience
Sturdy, weather-proof tent
Warm and comfortable sleeping mat
Warm sleeping bag
Enough food to keep you going (ability to make a warm dinner goes a very long way)
Plenty of water (to drink, cook & clean)
Change of clothes (so you can get out of any damp clothes)
For a more in-depth look at the best gear for a wild camp trip, see my blog post "Camping Gear must haves"