Camp as Christmas

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This morning was a reunion of sorts; it was a 6 day reunion which in the grand scheme of reunions is rather small but it felt big. This morning I did not have anyone’s limb overlapping any of mine, my back did not feel like it had been viciously snapped in several places and I was not wedged into a corner in the foetal position. This morning I woke up in an actual bed, complete with supportive mattress, fluffy pillows and sweet smelling sheets. This morning I was no longer camping.

On the downside my morning vista is not what it was, there will be no refreshing swim in the ocean to wake me from my slumber and my nostrils will have to readjust to toast as bacon and eggs no longer seems justified. Camp clichés were ticked; campfires were lit, marshmallows were toasted and stories were told. Occasionally I snuck off for a swim, a surf or just for the quiet that comes with sneaking off.


In the absence of technology I do what I tend to do and observe, Anna calls it “snooping” but I much prefer observe. I observe the Dad opposite who rocks up in full military gear, barking orders to his child squadron and long suffering wife. It pleases me that he is defeated by his attempts to set up a tent and that it’s left to his wife to show him how it’s done. I observe what feels like every other camper sipping coffee in the morning and curse my forgetfulness for not packing the cafetière. I observe the gang of seagulls that are eyeing up my sausages and strategising ways to make off with the loot. I observed camp set ups that were larger than our apartment dwarfing our humble little tent and wondered if it’s still camping when you have actually packed the kitchen sink?

Our Esky started out life packed with tantalising gourmet goodies wedged between crystals of ice, by the last day it was a slushy mess that housed warm beer and some ham that was right on the brink. Pork belly sizzled, Haloumi was charred, salmon was seared and beef was skewered. Sweet tooth’s were treated to roasted bananas glazed in caramel. I learnt to love the simple rules you must adhere to when gas is rationed and appetites need feeding.


The plump, bearded chap with a penchant for red and white fur also made an appearance. After weeks of “if you don’t do x Santa won’t visit” Max was in a state of shock to find that the big man did show up. Mince pies, carrots and milk were left out as an offering and snaffled by a wombat who must have thought all his Christmas’s had come at once. In a bid to prolong Max’s feverish anticipation I got up on Christmas Day and left a trail of arrows, ‘sleigh tracks’ and carrot crumbs leading down to the beach were a plump stocking was waiting for him.

It takes a couple of days to surrender to the simplicity of camping, to forget about all the other stuff that usually fills your head and to enjoy the simple things you’re surrounded by. Good times were had and memories were formed for both the young and old(ish). There were no baubles, tinsel or fairy lights but this was a very Merry Christmas indeed.


How was your Christmas? What did you get up to? Are you a happy camper?

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  • lifeatno2

    Sounds like you had a nice break with the family in a beautiful part of the world! As you know, we love our camping too, it’s where I am right now actually! The baby is in bed, the eldest is off making friends and riding her bike, hubby is playing golf, I’m sitting here reading and listening the waves crash……things couldn’t be more perfect!

    • daddownunder

      Waves crashing are the only noise I don’t mind when I’m reading, they seem to compliment each other – enjoy, it sounds fantastic.

  • Emily Callaghan

    It all sounds awesome Matt, minus the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements of course! We used to go camping every school hols when I was younger, usually on Fraser Island, I have such fond memories of those times.

    Our Christmas was kind of similar, just swap the tent for a beach house. So good to have a complete change of scenery!

    Fantastic pics of you and Max, gosh he’s growing up fast!

    Hope you have a fab New Years.

    Cheers Em

    • daddownunder

      I would have gladly swapped the tent for a beach house Em ; ) A change is as good as a rest and all that, I’m sure it was fantastic. Happy New Year to you too Em, hop eits a cracker

  • Georgia

    It sounds like you had an amazing Christmas. I can’t wait until our babies are old enough to go camping, I’m not brave enough with 4 month old twins. The older two have been asking for ages to go camping, so I think we might start with them camping in the yard to appease their camping wishes.

    • daddownunder

      I used to love a good yard camp Georgia, I would nag and nag and then when the novelty and the sugar wore off I could sneak into my bed for a good nights sleep. Be brave though, I think later this year you could bite the bullet and blood the twins : )