November 5, 2009

Holiday In A Parallel Universe

My friend Michelle recently returned from a camping weekend with her family. In the rain.

They erected their own tents, built their own campfire, cooked their food on a butane stove, and huddled in sleeping bags for warmth. In the rain.

And they shared shower facilities and a toilet block with about twenty other families. Oh, and did I mention it was raining?

I love Michelle dearly and I respect her tremendously. I’m just starting to think that she is, perhaps, not quite right in the head. Because Michelle and her family loved their camping holiday.

They loved erecting their tents. They loved their clever little stove. And they even loved the shared toilet block (okay, so maybe ‘love’ is too strong a word, but they used it, which is more than I would have done).

Furthermore, when it started to rain, Michelle and her gang stayed at the camping site. They didn’t run home. They didn’t book into the nearest motel. They just got wet.

Despite being such close friends, it’s clear that Michelle and I live in totally different universes. Mine is a sane universe, where people go on vacation to be in a better place than where they are now. Hers is a demented, parallel universe, where people go on vacation to inflict upon themselves tremendous inconvenience, discomfort and – in certain circumstances – wetness, presumably in the name of adventure.

Now don’t get me wrong. I like adventure as much as the next girl (provided she’s neurotic, anxious and anally retentive). I like to go to new places and see new things. I just like to see them from the comfort of a nicely air conditioned hotel.

Now I know you’re thinking I’m just a Princess, but in reality I don’t need great luxury in my holiday venues. After all, it doesn’t take much to take me somewhere better than I am now – particularly when I haven’t vacuumed or done the laundry in a while and the dishes are piling up in the sink.

I can do without room service. I can live without 25 TV channels. I can manage without a spa in my bathroom. I can even cope without chocolates on my pillow (provided that they are within easy access at a convenience store down the road).

There are however, certain basics that I cannot live without. A bed, to protect my aging back from the floor. Walls, to protect me from wild animals (in fact, any animals at all). And a roof to keep out the rain. For some bizarre reason I don’t like getting wet as I sleep. I know. I’m just strange like that.

But still, the most fundamental of holiday essentials is the private bathroom. You see, there is something about shared bathroom facilities that makes me want to immediately go out and take a shower, which creates a rather vicious cycle when the shower itself is in a shared bathroom. You know when a dog runs frantically after its own tail? Well, that’s what happens to me in that situation. It’s not pretty.

As for Michelle, though, I’m really happy she enjoyed her bizarro holiday. And I can’t wait for her to come round and show me all her photos.

But before she comes over, I’d really just like her to have another shower. She’s been in this public bathroom, and it’s just a funny thing I have…..


  1. I do LOVE to wake up and find your blog KS! Why did I not see this yesterday? I LOVE it! and I see eye to eye with you, I don't like camping in the rain.. SHARING a bathroom with anyone causes me feel great distress and neuroticism (if that's even a WORD). Another great blog!!!

  2. How did you ever get through your teens/twenties Kerri? Were you the only one NOT at the music festivals?! Or was this what spawned your detest for camping and shared bathrooms?!

    Tee hee. I have a romantic view of camping, but never actually commit to doing it... These memories were created by my wonderful parents who took us camping in a giant luxury tent every year for 10 years in a row, to the same place where the camping ground was amongst a pine forest on the edge of a white sand beach. I never had to deal with the washing, cooking, getting sand out of everything, erecting the tent, collapsing the tent, trying to keep things dry in the rain etc etc. I just ran around all day with the other children in the camping ground, ate iceblocks and swam. I can see it would be a totally different kettle of fish as a Mum, and not sure I'm ready for it! Perhaps when the Munchkin is a little older...

  3. Ha ha, my husband is the same 5 star hotels only for him (I call him princess).

    Me...I don't ind getting a little dirty...well, I didn't when I was 12. Haven't been camping since LOL!

  4. I'm with you, Kerri. ALL holidays should be experienced 5 stars, all the way, even if it's only every 25 years.Camping is primitive,and should only be undertaken by boy scouts and girl guides,as part of their training.........

  5. Ha! You're a loon, a fabulous loon who reminds me a lot of myself. I used to go camping with my best friend and his family every year for five years in high school and it sent me slowly bonkers.

    The one thing that I cannot, will not, abide by are public toilets. I didn't once (not ONCE) use the toilets at my high school in all those years. As it happens, this has contributed to my iron bladder which is the chief instrument responsible for the fall of the Berlin Wall.

  6. I must be the odd one out: I just came back from camping this weekend where we had to dig our own toilet and I had great, great fun. Yes that's right, there were no toilet or bathroom facilities. But we didn't have share our campsite with anyone and it wasn't raining.

  7. Oelare: I do not know what to say. You are a creature of the parallel universe. I knew there were others like you, I had just never met them before. Wow!!!!!!!1

    Rick: I HEAR YOU!

    Alex: My husband is WAY more of a princess than me.

    And Eco-Chic-Mummy: No, I never went to music festivals - I worried about the toilet facilities! *hangs head in profound shame*

  8. When Hubby took our big boys camping earlier this year, I was all for getting the Taj Mahal of tents in light of the fact I figured the 2yr old and I would join in at some stage. However, now that *that* day fast approaches, I'm starting to think it was a FREAKIN' CRAZY idea of mine, because now I have NO excuse! Aaagh. Give me a hotel with an ensuite any day.

  9. I camp... once a year. In a tent we call the Taj Mahal. It has rooms, with tenty walls... and zips for doors. I take a deluxe queen size camp bed, my sheets and doona and pillows. The kids stay with grandparents, hubby and I go to a music festival. We camp, in staff camp grounds (where they have hot showers) and "help" drink, er I mean sell wine to festival goers. Thats it. Thats my camping trip... and when I get home I help send the share price of napisan through the roof.

  10. I hear you!! i don't do dirt!....simple, can be a one star motel as long as i'm not wiping my butt on leaves and digging a whole to poop i'm happy!

  11. oh so so so true and if nothing else i have been completely put off communal bathrooms forever by a music festival that went for three days with composting toilets (internal retching) (needless to say I went off into a non camping field as far away as possible from people and found a bush covered fence by the third day)
    But yes, walls and bed. that is all.
    (also ha ha ha ha ha ha ha *giggle* and thank you :) )

  12. Ok so this is the first time I have ever read your blog and I am concerned we may be kindred spirits! LOL you cracked me up and made my Friday morning I must say :)

    I too shudder at the thought of public toilets/showers etc. I went last year on a fabulous camping trip (or so I had convinced myself) with above average toilet/shower facilities too! what a bonus! not really.

    I was woken in the night by squealing possums fighting outside the tent beside my head and never got back to sleep - let's not mention the spiders on the back of the toilet door. Anxiety plus. Camping 1 Me 0. Never again. Love the beach, love being outdoors, love my perfectly soft pillow and mattress and super clean spider free toilet and thus don't feel the need to camp anytime soon, or make that EVER.

  13. Yes Ms Sackville, with our love of minestrone and dark chocolate (not at the same time, of course), our lives in the spotlight which were STOLEN by a certain Ms Kidman, and our clear preference for holidays which don't involve any setting up other then fluffing some pillows, we are clearly kindred spirits.

  14. Love Love this post. Funnily enough I had a moment of insanity last yr when I convinced my husband we should buy a camper trailer...'we owe it to our kids to camp" I said. Hmm Owe them the opportunity to see their mother & father at their absolute worst more like it..after 3 times ( and even I am shocked I tried 3) the camper is up for sale, ready to try again with the next family.

  15. I'm with you, Kerri. ALL holidays should be experienced 5 stars, all the way, even if it's only every 25 years.Camping is primitive,and should only be undertaken by boy scouts and girl guides,as part of their training.........

  16. Ha ha, my husband is the same 5 star hotels only for him (I call him princess).

    Me...I don't ind getting a little dirty...well, I didn't when I was 12. Haven't been camping since LOL!


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