Having just survived another holiday weekend, I am contemplative of the major differences between those of us who full-time and those of you who camp on the weekends, holidays, and/or summer vacations. First allow me to clarify— When I say ‘full-time’, I am specifically referring to those who, like us, live exclusively in our RV while traveling regularly with no other “home” to return to. For us specifically, it means moving our home gradually from campground to campground, state to state, but in a slow “this is our life, let’s enjoy it” pace. When I say “weekenders” I am referring to those who camp on the weekends, summer vacations, and whenever they can take the time off work. Side note: I am not offering an opinion on those full-timers who are stationary (stay and live in the same location in their RV), not that they are not bona-fide full-timers, but rather because that simply is not a lifestyle that I have experienced nor can relate to.
As I write, it is the day after Memorial Day and our campground has emptied back out and has returned from a loud, boisterous, partying type atmosphere — to it’s typical weekday, quiet, slow, and just all around chill pace. Now only half-filled with mostly what I refer to as “live-ins” (stationary peeps) and traveling full-timers, like us. It’s funny because as a full-timer I always look forward to the crowded summer camping weekends and holidays as it allows us to get a fresh, close up and personal view of how excited these campers are for this rare time they get to spend right here at our campground, camping for however much time they have. They relish each minute here because it’s a special occasion for them. They simply don’t have the opportunity to experience this lifestyle all the time, like we do.
They arrive late Friday, or more often early Saturday morning and spend their first two hours setting up all their camping paraphernalia. Chairs, rugs, grills, cornhole (if we are in the south lol), dog crates, baby playpens, kids’ bikes, sometimes extra tents… you get the picture. I am always amazed and more than a little impressed when they check in on a Saturday morning, spend half their morning setting up their camp “just so”, only to turn around and pack it all back up and leave the very next day. You have got to have a great deal of respect and admiration for their dedication to make the absolute most of their camping weekend! Sometimes on long weekends (like Memorial and Labor Day weekends), they don’t breakdown until Monday. Regardless, these devout weekenders camp with gusto! They will sit outside laugh, yell, blare their music, play games, and stoke their fires, regardless of the weather. All too often this is the only weekend they have and they are determined to make the most of it.
I always enjoy watching them come in (often moving our vehicles so they don’t suffer damage in the process) and setup. They often get their whole family involved in the process. Kids are being loud and laughing, moms are trekking in and out of the camper trying to keep everyone happy, while the dads are barking orders and setting up basecamp. Speaking of barking, there is almost always at least one barking dog in the group, if not two. All this to say, I enjoy watching them immensely. Everytime I do, it renews my appreciation of how we are able to live every, single, solitary day in an amazing (and always changing) campground setting, enjoying what most everyone else works very hard to enjoy only a few precious days each a year of. Even after over two years of living this life, I still love everything about living in campgrounds. The smells of the bonfires and charring meats, the beauty of always being surrounded by nature and witnessing first-hand God’s creation 24/7, the ongoing excitement of anticipating our next location/adventure— I love it all. Weekenders help me to remember this fact, especially when life starts to feel a bit too routine. I see them and realize— our life is not, in the least bit, routine. Inevitably, this realization brings with it new appreciation and gratefulness for our full-timing lifestyle.
I often contemplate that to them this lifestyle must seem like a lot of work. And it is… for them. Being full-timers though, we simply don’t have the same issues and work that weekenders do. They have to pack and plan for days and weeks ahead of time to make sure that they bring adequate clothes, toiletries, food, drinks, dishes, games, towels, and everything else required to stay away from “home” for the weekend or even week-long trip. Us full-timers on the other hand, never have to pack… or unpack. Other than stowing our outdoor stuff, putting away some knickknacks and pulling in our slides, we already and always have everything thing we need, wherever we go. We never have to even think about what to pack or how to prepare for the next campground. When we arrive at a new destination, it takes us less time to “set up camp” than it does the weekenders, yet not only do we set up a great camp, we always have absolutely everything we need. Everything we own, to be specific.
Hmmm…. This life is sounding pretty good. So, for all you weekenders out there— keep on enjoying your weekends and when you camp — make us full-timers proud and camp with gusto! You truly are an inspiration to many, self included. For all you full-timers out there, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses and never, EVER forget how much you have to be thankful for.
I love the term “Happy Camper” and more often than not I am one. It’s actually funny that I even like that term as I honestly don’t consider us as “camping”. We live in what I consider to be luxury (luxury is a subjective word and I love our rolling home so very much that to me, it’s luxurious so I’m calling it like I feel it) in our beautiful, cozy, homey RV with none of the ‘roughing it’ aspects of what the word camping brings to mind. All that said… I am definitely one very Happy Camper!
So from our currently half-empty (because the holiday weekend is now over!) campground in the ‘it’s rained for 2 weeks and shows no signs of stopping’ high country of North Carolina…
Happy Trails and Sunny Sails