Many years ago, before we were parents, my husband and I dreamed of being able to work remotely from wherever we wanted. We imagined road trips where we could work from the beach, the ski slopes, and everywhere in between — so long as we had an internet connection and cell phone service. Since we both grew up camping, we imagined a life on the open road, living and working out of our camping trailer.
We’re not planning on adopting this lifestyle anytime soon, especially now that we have an 18-month-old son, but we did give ourselves a taste of it for a few days this summer.
You can probably already imagine my skepticism about this whole thing. We had a camper and had even camped with an infant before, but an 18-month-old? I was convinced my husband had lost his mind when he proposed a family camping/working trip. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE camping — but I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to pack up the trailer, set up at a campground, and chase a toddler around while trying to work. After months of doing this at home, the adventure wasn’t looking like it would be the escape we were hoping for — at least not in my mind.
So, we compromised: Our trip would only include two workdays, plus the weekend, and we’d be in southern Vermont, just an hour and a half from home. I did not have high hopes for productivity, but I figured it would be a nice change of scenery and a chance to have some semblance of normalcy during this crazy COVID summer.
When we arrived at the campground, I was pleased to see it had all our “must have” amenities — a playground for my son, high-speed internet, and, perhaps most importantly, empty sites on either side of us. The last thing I wanted was to be waking the neighbors with our teething toddler in the middle of the night. Once I saw that there were many families with young children doing the same thing as us, I breathed a small sigh of relief. I guess we weren’t the only ones looking for a change of pace.
The next morning (after a rough night with my son), we woke up, made breakfast, and went through our game plan. Working around our scheduled conference calls, my husband and I would trade off toddler duty while the other worked, just like we did at home.
Fortunately, the weather cooperated, and we found that with more space to walk and do some (socially distant) visiting with other camping families, our camping setup was better than what we had at home! My son was ecstatic to be able to play outside ALL day, and we had brought several outdoor toys to keep him busy. All my stress about the trip was gone once I saw how much fun my son was having. Even though we were doing our normal routine, it felt like a big adventure because of the change in scenery.
Although we did have a few challenging nights with little sleep — thanks to both the teething and the new environment — our family “working” camping trip was a success. After all my hesitations, I am so glad we tried it. I know next summer will look different, but we will definitely be spending at least a few more long weekends living (and working) out of the good old family camper.