Spontaneity is among the characteristics of our family. Everyone is in unison with the instant actions we take for fun, it could be just a drive around the city for an ice cream past 10 in the evening or to another town just for a bite to eat and the recent one, unplanned camping.
We went camping on weekdays, before the weekend graduation of two of our 8 blended children – one graduating from high school and one from elementary.
On a Thursday morning, the day my husband intended to bring the family camping, I was 100 percent sure we were not going. We didn’t go shopping for anything, much more bought a tent. Oh wait, we will need at least two tents for our family of 10.
Besides not purchasing a tent, we didn’t book the campsite at the Fanshawe Conservation Area yet.
Two essential factors for camping — tent and campsite — were not ready at noon time. We hadn’t packed and I was complacent that we were not going. Not a big deal to me as I was half-hearted to go anyway, I was more occupied on our two girls’ graduation.
However, the man of the house was able to pull this camping mission successfully. At 3 pm, Thursday, he confirmed with me on the phone that we were going camping, he has two tents for the family and booked the campsite too. He was on his way to check the campsite, before bringing the family.
Woohoo!!! The children were excited to go camping. Oh well, not really the camping per se, but the thought of making s’mores and sitting around the campfire is what they were looking forward to.
Our pre-teen was not really feeling it. Camping, she said, is not her thing. One teenager is looking forward to it, she likes exploring new places and looking for bugs and insects. Our eldest, 17, is an easy going one, exploring a city or camping she enjoys both activities.
Despite all my apprehensions, this camping was one of the best unplanned moments we’ve had as a family. Besides discovering my husband’s capability to camp and cook and keep things together (is it obvious that he earned +points on this adventure? lol,) I learned the following in this camping trip.
1.MEC gear rentals. Without this service from (Mountain Equipment Co-op) MEC London, we wouldn’t have made it to our camping adventure. A $20-rent per night for a tent that accommodates 4 people, I think it was a reasonable deal. Besides tents, other things available for rent at MEC London are backpacks, sleeping bags and pads, kayak and boards — therefore, you don’t have to break your bank to have these gears available on your next adventure.
2. Fanshawe Conservation Area. During a low season of camping, especially on weekdays, booking accommodation at the campsite is easier. It was really great dealing with them. This is also a jewel in London, ON that we discovered, worthy to spend a break from the buzzing city life. While there, you can enjoy various activities such as kayaking and boating, fishing and hiking. Also within the vicinity is the Fanshawe Pioneer Village, another good place to explore if you want to look into the way of life of rural communities in Middlesex County from 18-20 to 1920.
3. Marinated meat from a halal store. Yes, since it was an impromptu adventure, my husband bought our spiced meat prepared and it helped with our meals at the campsite.
4. One plate/tray for all. So instead of packing individual plates, I just brought one big tray, where we put all our cooked food and we ate together from the same “plate”. It saved the environment from additional trash. It taught our children some of the etiquettes when eating a shared meal with other people.
5. Pack the first aid kit first. We had an incident while camping, one of our boys tripped and fell on his head, got wounded and had to be rushed to the hospital. Although his wound was beyond first aid kit, I realized we didn’t bring a first aid kit, which is very basic and important.
At the end of this camping trip, our pre-teen who was hesitant to camp has admitted she wants to do this again. The boys without hesitation enjoyed the freedom of being out and about.
Everyone was happy during this adventure, that we intend to do it again soon, in shaa Allah. Next time, it is planned and prepared, and I’m expecting we’ll have a blast!
What’s your camping tip for our next trip?