It’s amazing how therapeutic a couple of weeks in the great outdoors can be. As the pandemic lockdown entered its third month, any optimism we might have had for a summer camping trip this year was dissolving rapidly.
Camping is something we’ve done without fail for the past quarter-century, and something we had done as kids for several years before that. But as the COVID-19 lockdown moved into June, the chances of getting out for another summer of sleeping under the stars was looking bleak. At the 11th hour, the Ontario government allowed campgrounds to open – mere days ahead of a reserved timeslot we had booked in February.
We didn’t have a backup plan for an alternate summer vacation in the event camping would be denied. Taking time off from work to sit around at home and watch television was unimaginable. A proper vacation – in our minds – is the opportunity to not only get away from work for a week or two, but to get away from home as well. An escape from your two most common surroundings is the epitome of a real vacation – even if it’s just a simple camping trip only a few hours’ drive away.
This trip was especially important for my wife, who has been an essential worker during this pandemic. She’s handling other people’s money and touching several other items and fixtures throughout the day that have been touched by scores of others. Her constant hand washing and sanitizing has left her hands chapped and dry, but that’s been the least of her concerns. Although she’s adamant about social distancing and washing or sanitizing her hands after dealing with every single customer, she understands that a single slip-up could lead to a series of unfortunate consequences.
Getting away from it all for a couple of weeks was precisely what she needed. Fortunately, camping is an activity that can be safely enjoyed through basic common sense. Your campsite is a comfortable distance away from your neighbours’, you’re in wide open outdoor spaces, and areas where there are common touch areas – such as the communal washrooms and showers – they promote cleanliness with plenty of available soap and water.
If there was one downside to this trip, it was the weather. The heat was a little too much at times, leading to several afternoons of laying back in the shade to read and often falling asleep soon afterwards. For me, sleeping during the day usually leads to restless nights, and there were more than one of those on this trip.
Nevertheless, the extreme heat could at times be deemed as a good problem to have, and the overall experience amid this pandemic was a positive one and something that was much needed.
In August, we’ll do it all over again, but hopefully with the heat turned down a little bit.
I’ll take a simple camping trip any day over a cruise or a winter getaway to an exotic tropical locale. There’s no air travel involved, no international borders to cross, and it provides a chance to see more of your own country and province. And certainly this year, it’s perhaps the safest option for a chance to get away from it all.