East vs West: Camping Edition (#359)

Our only child was an extrovert. An extrovert with FOMO (fear of missing out). If his friends were doing an activity, Dalton had to do it. T-ball turned into Pony League. AYSO turned into club soccer. Going to the YMCA alerted Dalton to possibilities such as Jr. Lakers basketball, gymnastic class, kid yoga, and porpoise club. Porpoise club gave way to Junior Lifeguards.

There was also Cub Scouts. Dalton was all over that: “You build a miniature car! There’s races! And there’s a camping! And you get to spend the night on a Navy ship! Mom, please we have to join!”

“Sure thing, buddy,” I agreed. Visions of a night alone in the house danced in my chronically sleep deprived brain. “Seems like an excellent program with lots of father-son time!”

“Wait, what?” asked my husband, who hadn’t been paying attention.

“Yay!” yelled Dalton. “Camping!”

“Camping with Dad,” I corrected. “Poor mother will have to stay home with the pets.”

Andy reluctantly got a tent and sleeping bags. He also got air mattresses. I pulled out some old camping plates, tin cups, utensils, and a battery-operated light/ radio. Andy eyed my stash and said accusingly, “You’ve been camping before.”

“Haven’t you?”

Andy laughed and said, “No one goes camping when you grow up in Hawaii. It’s like road trips.”

“I saw campgrounds when we were in Hawaii.”

“Those are for tourists.”

“I bet other people in Hawaii went camping.”

“White people, probably. Everyone else is like, ‘I spent so much on this house, and you want me to sleep in a tent?!”

“Whereas my mom dragged us all out camping when Baby Brother was three months old.”

“Didn’t Baby Brother spend his first month in the NICU?!”

“Yep. I watched him while everyone else was setting up tents and swearing. But the wildlife programs at the ranger station were pretty cool. All about owls and how to avoid being attacked by the raccoons who got trapped in trashcans—”

“Attacked by raccoons? That’s a real camping thing?!”

“It is when they’ve been stuck in a trashcan for hours. And then in my twenties I did a kayaking trip in the San Juan Islands where we camped out every night.”

“Since you’re the one with all the experience, maybe you should—”

“Oh hell no.”

On their inaugural Cub Scout camping trip, Andy forgot the sleeping bags. He texted hopefully from the mountains: I guess we will have to come home.

I utilized the Mom Network and caught a mom before she left. She brought two extra sleeping bags.

Try to imagine Andy’s excitement.

Dalton had a fantastic time, relishing the abundance of activities and playmates.

Andy hated it. He complained about the food, the showers, the dust, the ill-behaved children, the crappy parents who ignored their ill-behaved children, and the hard ground (even with the air mattress).

They were home by 7 AM on Sunday morning. After a two-hour drive.

On all subsequent Cub Scout trips, they were also home by 7 AM. Andy would immediately go sleep in his own bed for 5 hours.

Camping Torture only lasted about 3 years. Once Dalton got serious about soccer, practices, weekend games, and tournaments conflicted with Cub Scouts. And as Andy was quick to point out, “We’re paying too much money for club soccer to miss a single game!”

That man sold the tent and air mattresses as fast as he could.

Several years later, Dalton asked, “Hey, Dad, why don’t we go camping again?”

Andy shot Dalton a reproving look and answered:

“Son. We are HOTEL people.”

Shoutout to Mark My Words for his inspirational post about indefinitely postponing camping.

Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

22 thoughts on “East vs West: Camping Edition (#359)”

      1. A nearby Starbucks elevates any hotel rating by a few stars. If it’s in the lobby, it’s definitely 5 star. I used to drink like Andy but my gut said no more. I needed a younger gut.

  1. Ha, love it! Andy’s right about Hawaii. We did a lot of camping growing up, but never in Hawaii. We did, however, stay in cabins on the beach there. I think the issue with camping in Hawaii is all the bugs. As bad as mosquitoes are, add in roaches and ants and god-knows-what-else, and that’s a recipe for constant misery.

    Still, I’d totally (and have) go(ne) camping in California. Especially if you can find a spot near the ocean. Andy’s missing out!

  2. I’m totally with Andy on this one… I am a hotel person!! I love hiking, but not camping. I’ll take my hot shower and bed, please 😉

    Poor Andy but… yay for you! I bet those weekends were bliss for you, haha. As a new mom I would relish in it.

  3. I have great memories of camping! When I was growing up, we went with other families with kids. Blowing up the air mattresses until I was light-headed. Dad putting up the tent and lighting the fire. Mom cooking. The kids taking off to explore the woods while the adults played cards. Western WA is a great place for camping. It’s still popular here. Even my Chinese husband seemed to like it. But then, Eugene followed always did his own thing. After reaching a certain age, of course, we gave away the tents and sleeping bags and made indoor reservations.

    1. Those are fantastic memories (mine is probably s’mores). Kids definitely love it–especially having other playmates and families along. I think some families are way better at it than others. My mom was great at spontaneity, but actual planning and execution? Not so much. And camping can be miserable when you forget the rain top to a tent (or a sleeping bag)!

  4. I’m with all the others. Camping is way too much work. One of the things I love about South Africa is the abundance of self-catering accommodation, which costs more than camping but less than a hotel and gives you the best of both worlds.

      1. Cabins, usually. But there also are some really fancy self-catering places. It’s a category that needs to exist in America. They’re like airbnbs just without the annoying extra fees.

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