I am busy preparing myself for Camp Bestival next week and getting our dear beloved campervan ready for the journey. Sadly, we’ve actually not managed to make that many trips away this summer, it seems that we have just been too busy bar the odd day trip now and then – she’s good for picnics.
Looking through photos the other day of previous trips, I was reminded of all the things that having a campervan has taught me. Let me tell you, camping in a van is simply really quite different to camping in a tent, so I thought I’d share a few ponderings with you about what I’ve learnt from my campervan experiences so far.
Campervans are colder than tents. Seriously
Don’t underestimate just cold a tin can can get. For some reason tents seem a little bit more protected, what with their inners and all. In the campervan, whilst my body felt nice and snug under my winter duvet, my nose felt like it was going to drop off. I’m seriously considering a balaclava this year. That ought to scare off the neighbours.
Then there is the heat.
Whilst it really does get ever-so cold in a campervan it also gets rather hot. Swelteringly hot. Damn vintage vehicles and their lack of air-conditioning. Somehow I always seem to spend the hottest day of the season travelling long distances in the camper, which mainly results in dehydration and a colouring slightly reminiscent of beetroot. I never thought I’d miss air-con quite as much as I do.
Get used to waving.
Everybody waves at you in a campervan and okay I’ll admit, the first time we drove past another VW and someone tooted and waved, I did get a bit giddy. You have to get into the spirit of it, people look at you wherever you go. I haven’t yet worked out if its admiration or sympathy.
They’re pretty much weirdo magnets.
And I do mean that in the nicest possible way but there appears to be something about a VW campervan that screams “OPEN HOUSE” and one minute you’ll be sitting their in your PJs with a cup of tea and the next they’re be some middle-aged nerdy man with his face all up in my pop-top. Not necessary. I don’t come poke my head in your tent do I? Get outta mine!
You will bang your head, on average, 7,342 times per trip.
How we have never come home from a trip with big bruises on our foreheads I do not know but yes, our heads get bang on the roof of the campervan repeatedly. The little people however thankfully don’t suffer with this problem. They just seem to suffer with some terrible uncontrollable chortling affliction when said head-banging occurs…
Plan to cook simple food.
As is usual for me, I got all over excited when we bought the van and got myself stocked up with camping cookbooks – which was pretty stupid on two fronts. One, you’re seriously limited on space in the van so just where the hell did I think I was going to keep them and two? With two burners and a slightly ropey grill gourmet meals aren’t all that achievable and you’re better off sticking to beans on toast and a jar of Dolmio over some pasta. Simple is the way forward.
Get used to smelling a bit, erm iffy.
You spend any amount of time in an old campervan you need to get used to the fact that you’re always going to smell just a little bit like…well, an old campervan. I can’t quite put my finger on what the smell is but it does tend to ingrain itself into your skin somewhat. It’s rather unique.
Sleepwalking children WILL still sleepwalk even when in a bunk-bed.
Fortunately the double bed was underneath said bunk and my feet broke the fall…that’s all I am saying.
When children drop things on a journey, it’s a huge pain in the proverbial.
Teddies, sweets… The campervan doesn’t corner very well (Hope you’re reading this Mr M – slow down for corners!) and as a result things tend to move around unless they are pinned down. This means that approximately 125 times during a short journey things will be dropped. I don’t recommend walking down a moving campervan at all because it’s probably illegal but I can’t help but think that some kind of extra-long poking/grabbing device would be a good idea. Watch out for me on Dragons Den soon. Not.
There was an old lady who swallowed a fly…
And quite possibly she was in a 1972 bay campervan. Pack fly spray and a swatter.
I know it sounds like a don’t love my van but I really do. Honest.
I love going away for trips in her, especially the long lazy drives.
Best to develop a thick skin though, people get annoyed and overtake, she goes up hills very very s-l-o-w-l-y but try not to bite back. It’s not big or clever when your horn doesn’t so much blast as meep.