Some of my earliest and most vivid childhood memories are of camping. We had a trailer tent with a vibrant orange cover and 1970’s style red retro fabric in the sleeping cabins.. We’d travel all around Ireland - to Cork and Galway, to Donegal and all through the North. That tent represented freedom and adventure and that spirit has never left me. As parents, my mum and dad did so, so many things really well; but instilling this love of camping and an appreciation of the great outdoors was one of the best things that they could have done.
I camped through my teenage years and when I met my husband, Trev, camping was always part of the bargain. After graduating university I got a job in Massachusetts and some of our best memories there were from camping trips in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. A different style of camping to our usual, but exciting nonetheless knowing that a bear could appear at any time!
Fast forward some more years and we now have kids of our own. We’ve done all styles of camping - small tents, large tents, trailer tent, caravans….but the spirit of camping is still the same. Both kids love it - and as I sit here and write, our oldest boy is out in the sun, “taps aff” playing on a homemade grass slide in an open area of the campsite and my youngest is up at the playpark playing with some friends that she’s met over the past few weeks.
The vibe on the campsite is relaxed and friendly. A new neighbour pulled in beside us today and was struggling to get his awning up. Our other neighbours were straight out to help them - quickly figuring out the issue and getting them sorted. The pace of life just slows and as a mother with a full-time job in the Tech industry, I’m so thankful for that. Life really does seem to shift down a few gears when we go camping - I can forget about all of the boxes that I haven’t ticked yet on my To-Do lists and just cherish some real, uninterrupted time with my kids (and when that gets too much I can pack them off to the playpark!!)
I hope that my kids have the similar great memories to what I had and that they in turn do the same for their kids…..that would make me very happy because from where I’m sitting camping is not five star luxury but there are few other things that I can think of that are as good for the soul.
-----Martina and Trevor McKee run explore54 - a camping equipment rentals business based in Northern Ireland. Martina is also a Director of Product Management at a multi-national tech company by day and is learning how to run this small business by night (and weekend)! Her long suffering husband, Trevor, is charged with putting tents up and down and ensuring that explore54 customers have a great trip and their own chance to make memories. Feedback so far is that he’s doing a great job!! Keep an eye out on https://explore54.co.uk/collections/current-availability-across-all-sites for our availability.