Admitting You Hate Something

Camper van.

Just get it off your chest. Go on, admit it. You’re big enough and beauteous enough to just say it. Repeat after me, “I will never like (fill in the blank with that thing that you’ve really, really made an effort to get into, but just can’t).

No? All right, I’ll start. I can’t stand camping. I’ve tried, God love me, I’ve tried.  From the Trip to Tipp in 1993 to a minibreak in a posh Airstream caravan, I’ve pretended on many, many occasions that there isn’t a lovely boutique hotel down the road and that I’d rather be cooking beans in a tin over a burning shoe, because it’s Such Fun.

Not only do I find the whole notion of pretending to be homeless in the name of good times slightly in bad taste, I find it an actively unpleasant experience. There’s the sleeping in a hot plastic bag element of things. The trudge – through the rain, and it’s always raining – to the ‘bathroom block’. The American Pie singalong. The burny taste of the toast. The bad person urge to shout out ‘Citizens of the world, hear us! We want only our land and cattle back!’ as we’re all playacting at being refugees anyway.

The return of harem pants had nothing in the heart-sinking stakes compared to the realisation that eejits everywhere were gobbling up the notion of cool camping. But I made the effort. I invested in a combination fork, spoon and knife (the kspork!) even though a bit of me died inside.

My friends now know better than to invite me any more. I’ve given it a decent shot, almost had a good time that one time, but honestly?  It’s just not for me. And what a relief it is to admit that.

Happily, the pendulum seems to be swinging away from glamping again. Unfortunately, it hasn’t swung far enough for me.  It’s hovering over ‘walking holidays’ like a woolly sock-shaped threat. I don’t wanna. I’m not gonna. And this time, you can’t make me.

Jenny Coyle


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