Well what can I say, the last 3 years have been a whirlwind of changes and adaptions for us all, something that we never could foresee or imagine. For most life changed almost overnight and the effect was felt in all aspects of our lives. I think it made us realise our kids are growing fast and time is precious, those days of wondering where did our babies go becoming a very real feeling, a very scary realisation for us they are changing fast and becoming their own person with their own views, opinions and outlooks on life, being influenced by this scary changing world.
For those with children we had to become teachers whilst many of us still had to go out to work or learn to work from home whilst being home school teacher at the same time, whoever said I will never need Algebra in adult life really didn't see this coming!! I think I realised I should have listened to the teachers comment 'must try harder' when I was at school, I may just may of been a little more prepared for the home schooling!
|One of our once daily walks|
As a pre school/ childcare manager I worked throughout lockdown to provide childcare for keyworker children, which looking back was such a valuable service. Seeing the after effects of delayed social skills and development delays for those that were required to stay home makes me wonder now if it really was the best decision to keep all children home, but like I say we have all gone through something never experienced by any of us before so who could predict the after effects when decisions were needing to be made as we moved quickly through the changing pandemic.
For us as a family it started to really show us what was important to us, it forced us to slow down and do nothing but focus on our family unit and how we lived. As busy working parents/ business owners we really saw the time and attention that was taken from us as a family and put into work/ business previous to Covid and this felt a little unfair on the kids.
With health issues on top of the workload we soon realised we could not return to our previous way of living and looked at ways we could maximise family time and prioritise health and well being, something I don't think we would have done if we had not been forced to slow down and take stock of what was happening in our lives.
This year has seen health issues lead to operations and recovery which again forced a complete stop in some parts of our lives, this helped us make future plans and changes we needed to make. As a result we have invested in a camper van and have started having some amazing family adventures, camping being something I never thought I would enjoy!
With the kids fast approaching teens I think we also realised how fast time goes and actually how short a time we have them as children so wanted to make the most of every opportunity for adventure and quality family time.
Camping although we have the luxury of the van has taken us back to the early days of the first lockdown of living simply and where we stopped and appreciated the amazing country we live in, fortunate to live between the mountains and the sea! I do however like a few home comforts and essentials for our trips.
Our biggest being a drive away awning, this gives us extra living space to cook in, dress and also have a portaloo (essential for those night time toilet trips!
As just mentioned the portaloo is a must if like me you often make a trip or two to the toilets during the night, especially after a few glasses of wine!
Self inflating mattresses - just for that extra comfort and home from home sleep experience. My other must in regard to sleeping is a coverless duvet, sleeping bags just don't have the comfort factor and a coverless duvet saves time, effort and easily shrinks down in size when using a vac pac storage bag!
Another must have to deal with all weather conditions because as we know here in the UK we can go from summer to winter in one night is a good heater and a good fan (especially the fan if like me the odd hot flush likes to creep up on you!)
A must for all campers whether in a tent or a van is a well equipped first aid kit, tripping on guy ropes, the odd stumble if a little too much wine has been consumed or even the kids falling from the trees means a plaster and some cream is always needed, a favourite of mine to keep in there is Sudocrem, especially their 'my little sudocrem' pots they are an ideal size for first aid kits or to pop in your bag for adventuring out and about, soothing for cuts, bites, burns, and the odd bit of chafing! suitable for all ages not just the toddlers.
Our aim for our journey is to be completely off grid which will enable us to do some wild camping and completely lose ourselves in the surroundings we visit as well as being a little bit more eco-friendly, creating the power we need without the need for electric hook up. This has led us to looking into solar panels for the van, an expense we didn’t want to really go to this year but certainly something to aim for ready for next year's camping trips or even full time once kids grow up and find us too boring!
So as school is now out for the summer we are looking forward to a summer of fun and adventures with the kids, and family members who share our love of camping and van life. Memories will be made and hopefully not too many dramas to be had!