I never went on a camping trip with my father. At least not one that I can remember. Dad, if your reading, no hard feelings. It never really bothered me because I didn’t know what I was missing. By the time I started RVing with my own children, about five years ago, I was having too much fun with them to get all sad and mopey about the past.
So why do I bring it up? Because I think my personal lack of father/son camping time has subconsciously inspired me to try and be a better father. Too many fathers that I know struggle to find quality time to spend with their children. Not me. My family spends over 40 nights a year in our RV (weekends in the spring and fall, and long trips in the summer) and when it comes to spending quality time with my children–my cup runneth over. I know who they are–and they know me.
Sometimes, in the summer, I even wonder if we are spending too much time in the RV and not enough time at home. There have been two occasions, where after 16 days on the road I have wanted to extend our trips, but wondered if it was best for the boys. So we asked them if they wanted to keep traveling or go home. They said that they missed grandma and their friends. So we packed up and went home. That simple.
But over the last year the boys have become more and more comfortable on our longer and more adventurous trips to places like Cape Cod, New Hampshire, and Acadia National Park. Now when we get ready for a camping trip Max always asks if this will be a long trip or a short trip. Why? Because Max loves long trips. Good thing–because mommy and daddy do too. Travel guides to Montana, Wyoming, and Utah have already been purchased–and they will be used.
So why do these trips matter so much to me as a father? And why do my boys share that love? Because RVing allows us to leave behind all of life’s distractions and unecessary material possessions and just focus on each other in beautiful and adventurous landscapes. Think mountains, rivers, streams, oceans, sunsets, and night skies filled with stars. And did I mention camp store ice cream?
Why else do I love RVing with my children? Because, on a very personal level, it has transformed fatherhood into my greatest and most satisfying adventure. Too many dads think that the fun ends when the kids are born, and that their days of being young and easy are over. But I feel reborn each time I hitch up and head out. For me the adventure is always just beginning…