We Live To Travel

The Princesses Go Camping

Camping and Princesses are two words that don’t usually go together. However, the Handsome Man and I decided to try out camping anyway. We had several reasons for trying this experiment, but I’ll just tell you the top three:

1)   We had gone camping and enjoyed it before…that was about 20 years ago though!

2)   We are doing research for our year off. Currently, with our fluid and ever-changing plans, we are wondering if we can camp for a month driving down the coast. We are both unsure of this plan!

3)   For financial reasons (AKA strike!) we were unable to go to Europe this summer and instead had to resort to camping in Nanaimo. That being said we saw several European people camping in Nanaimo, so have deduced it is probably the grass is always greener theory 🙂

We researched before we left (of course!!) to try to find a nice camping spot not too far from the King’s parents place in Ladysmith. We were borrowing their camper van for the first time, and the experiment was mostly about figuring out how to use all the parts of the van (which for the record seems extremely complicated). Our previous camping together has always been in tents, so this was quite an adventure.

The Fancy Pants Camper Van

The Fancy Pants Camper Van

Now let’s clear up this whole “Glamping” theory. We have been told that we are “Glamping” (Glamorous camping) when we go camping in a camper van. I am here to tell you that it doesn’t matter what you call it, there is nothing glamorous about camping… even in a very expensive camper van.

Today, we debunk the glamping myth! Proving that “glamping” is in fact the wrong term, and a more accurate (although less catchy) term would be “slightlymoreconvenientamping”.

Here is my evidence to prove this theory:

1) When you are camping there is dirt everywhere. EVERYWHERE! Dirt is not glamorous. If only you could see how dirty my feet got… it ruined my pedicure. Also I did not see one person wearing designer shoes. Not glamorous.

2) You have three choices to go to the bathroom. (Honestly, simply the fact that I am discussing this makes it not glamorous.)

* You can use the toilet in the van (GROSS… it is literally two feet away from where you sleep!)

*Or you can pee in the woods (not gonna happen)

*Or you can find a campground with actual toilets. Then there is the distinction between flush toilets and pit toilets (just the word pit is not glamorous)… and of course I looked for a campground with flush toilets. So let’s just say I picked the most glamorous bathroom accommodations possible… and yet there is not hot water in the taps to wash your hands, the toilet paper is gross and there are bugs and dirt in the bathrooms. Also if you have to go in the middle of the night you have to get dressed, stumble around in the dark, and hope no wild animals attack you on the way to the bathroom. Not glamorous.

3) If you are lucky enough to get a shower on your camping trip there are also a few options.

* We have the deluxe van so you can shower in your van. Keep in mind that involves pulling a curtain in a circle around you and showering by your kitchen sink and bed.

* We also have the option to have an outside shower with the van… with real hot water (I know… fancy right?) This involves showering in your bathing suit, unless you want to get kicked out of the campground, out in the dirt beside your van.

* You can find a campground with showers… which is what I did of course. This involves paying $1 for 5 minutes of hot water that comes out of a showerhead that is definitely not glamorous. Also you must wear your flip flops in the shower (this is a good time to wash them from all the dirt in the campground…although the minute you step outside they’ll get dirty again!) so as not to contract any gross foot fungus. Then there is the plastic curtain that keeps touching you while you are in the shower (and most likely touched everyone else that was in that shower). And finally, you are showering in a bathroom with strangers (granted, it isn’t prison style where they can all see you, but still).

Not glamorous.

4) Activities. There are many activities you can participate in while camping including: hiking, swimming, playing cards, and sitting around a campfire. While these things are enjoyable, they also occur in the dirt where there are bugs. Not glamorous.

Puzzled by my card play. Apparently I was cheating… A LOT!

Puzzled by my card play. Apparently I was cheating… A LOT!

5) Screaming children. Now I am not saying children shouldn’t scream while they play in the water, or run through the woods playing Mantracker. What I’m saying is that it isn’t glamorous. At their best children can be described as cute, adorable, fun-loving and adventurous… but not glamorous. We didn’t even take children camping with us… that doesn’t mean they weren’t all around us… happily screaming. Not glamorous.

6) Then there are the sleeping arrangements. Being that we are princesses, our bed at home is hotel worthy. The mattress is just the right soft/firm mixture with beautiful linens, pillows (six!) and a hypoallergenic duvet.

In our fancy van we are able to fold down the seats in the back to make a bed. The cushions are in some haphazard arrangement that involves one person having a strange soft spot in the middle. The cushions are hard (seriously… we said if we would go again we’d need to bring a pillow top mattress cover) so you have to roll over in your sleep every hour or so because it physically hurts to sleep on it. Also whoever slept on the side by the TV, had their feet trapped under the TV (I may have kicked it in my fitful rolling over).

* Sidenote, we did not have a cable hook up or use the TV for your information, you glamping accusers!

Steve’s favourite part was when I woke up in the morning before him and crawled over him to try to get out of the bed to go to the bathroom. Not glamorous

Showing off my fur hat (of course worn with a bathing suit cover up) in the "bedroom" of the van.

Showing off my fur hat (of course worn with a bathing suit cover up) in the “bedroom” of the van.

7) The food is also not glamorous. First of all when you cook it off the back of a van, that is not glamorous!

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Fine dining does not happen at camping. Fine dining is a restaurant (without dirt on the floor at the very least) with multiple courses that ends in a delectable dessert cooked by someone else. I’m not saying I don’t like hot dogs, sandwiches and roasted marshmallows… I’m just saying that those are not glamorous foods.

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8) Clothes. I did mention before about the shoes, but there are also the rest of the clothes that are not glamorous. For instance, Steve and I have soft beautiful white robes we bought from a hotel in Vegas. Those are NOT coming camping for obvious reasons. Your clothes for camping are of the comfy variety, not the glamorous variety. Pajama pants and hoodies…you get the picture. Not glamorous.

9) And finally, I would consider our day at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel Spa and Pool as a glamorous day. When we left there we felt relaxed, content and peaceful. When we left this so-called glamping all we could both think of was getting home to have a shower! Not glamorous.

Therefore, I propose that we eliminate this silly “Glamping” word, and use the more accurate term “Slightlymoreconvenientamping” to describe RV camping.

Okay, I really got off track there didn’t I?

We stayed at Living Forest in Nanaimo. This was quite a nice campground. The first night we stayed in a site with no-services that had a gorgeous view of the ocean.

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Our fancy van also has propane so we could use the fridge and have electricity without even having hook ups. The second night we moved to a site with water and electricity, but we didn’t have an ocean view. The sites were nicely treed and provided a bit of separation from the campers next to you. It was certainly more private than many campgrounds I’ve seen where you looked like you are all parked in a row in a parking lot.

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There was a campfire ban, but you could rent a propane campfire from them, which we did one night so that I could roast marshmallows. Here’s a tip about marshamallows. Don’t buy the gigantic ones… you have to roast them in layers. You roast them and pull the skin off and then roast them again and pull the skin off until they are actually small enough to fit in your mouth! I do love roasting marshmallows though… it is perhaps one of my favourite things about camping.

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I love getting up in the morning when everything is still and it seemed like I was the only one up. I sat out in my lawnchair…in the dirt…in my pajama pants and hoodie… (not glamorous…just saying) and enjoyed the scenery. There is a river that feeds into the ocean and the mist floating just above it looked like ghosts travelling up the river towards me. It was quite beautiful and peaceful.

The campground also had flush toilets, hot showers, a swimming area, a games room, a basketball court, a playground and even a little café to buy ice cream. This is the fancy pants of campgrounds and I would highly recommend it to those of you who like slightlymoreconvenientamping!

Couldn't resist throwing this one in… this is how Steve thinks you pack up sleeping bags...

Couldn’t resist throwing this one in… this is how Steve thinks you pack up sleeping bags…

Well what did we do you ask, besides the regular camping type activities? Well we went into Nanaimo and walked around the harbour. This took about 10 minutes. We live in a city with a beautiful vibrant harbour, so this one didn’t really do it for us. There are tons of little restaurants right down on the harbour if you are hungry, and a few little shops.

Petroglyph Park near Nanaimo

Petroglyph Park near Nanaimo

We also went to Petroglyph Park which is right before you get to the Nanaimo downtown area. The petroglyphs are ancient rock carvings done by the islands Aboroginal people more than 1000 years ago.

A petroglyph

A petroglyph

I thought it was interesting that places with high concentrations of petroglyphs were considered places of power and mystery… where the forces of nature were suppose to be extra stong. This was interesting and educational, but it is basically a 15 minute stop. Make sure you read the signs first if you go, so you understand the meaning of the petroglyphs. Oh, and when you walk to the area where the petroglyphs are, you may not see them at first because they are probably covered in dirt and pine needles. Also some naughty person has gone in and carved some of their own things into the rocks, which I think is quite disrespectful. It’s an educational place to stop on your way in to Nanaimo in a beautiful forest setting.

I'm always curious when I see little places like this… this one just had dirt and bugs in it ;)

I’m always curious when I see little places like this… this one just had dirt and bugs in it 😉

So you are probably wondering if we answered our question about camping for a month on our year off. I don’t think we’ve decided yet… I guess we’ll have to do more research. I’m thinking our next camping spot will be around Parksville or Qualicum Beach. Does anyone have recommendations for “Slightlymoreconvenientamping” campgrounds?

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