Now that we have a child, camping is different: we pick campsites that are a brief walk to our car, our hikes are shorter, and we more carefully plan activities and food, whereas before we were a bit more adventurous and spontaneous. When we camp, we try to keep the same rhythm of meals, snacks, and naps, even when they are occurring at picnic tables and in tents instead of at home.
Theo’s first camping trip – he is 3 months old and didn’t act quite as terrified as he looks.
Our most recent camping trip – Theo is 2 years old and an old pro at eating dinner by the fire.
Overall, it’s harder camping with a toddler than without a toddler. Significantly harder.
But, honestly, that’s about how I would sum up ANY activity with a toddler, including sitting at home. And, when it comes down to it, encouraging Theo to stack leaves on a grassy lookout with a view of the bay is a good break from encouraging Theo to stack blocks in his room.
Even toddler meltdowns can be improved by throwing sticks off of a bridge or watching a wild turkey flying by the campsite. Sometimes, a pause is all we need to reset.
Theo taking a break from several successive meltdowns to toss small sticks over the bridge railing.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that’s a way that Theo has improved camping, and maybe life in general: I pause more and pay attention to the view, because Theo is certainly not in any rush, and rushing only makes him resist more. (Like non-newtonian fluids!)
In about a month, we are starting a two-year trip around the world. I anticipate that this trip will be harder than a similar trip alone or as a couple. Significantly harder.
Most of my past trips have been alone, and I love solo travel, not in the least because it gives me the opportunity to follow my own whims. I’m prepared for this trip to not be like this at all.
However, that’s not the choice I’m making: alone or together. While I still occasionally get away for short trips on my own, in terms of daily life, we’re in it together as a family now. The choice is one of where we want to be performing our rituals of family life and what we’ll be seeing as we do so.
So, we’re living as a family-on-the-go for the next two years, with our fingers crossed that even when it’s hard, we’ll at least enjoy mixing up the views.