Camping with Campbell

Camping at North Haven

Campbell's first camping trip was to Jervis Bay. We camped at Caves Beach which only has cold showers and no vehicle access. Everything had to be carried up and down the hill between the car park and the camp ground. He was still little enough to be carried in a baby backpack, and also so little that he still woke for a bottle in the middle of the night. We had a pot of Milton (sterilising solution) and a thermos ready beside the blow up mattress.
On a side note we also went away camping when I was 23 weeks pregnant! Thank goodness we hadn't planned to go two weeks later- Campbell arrived when I was only 25 weeks.
So camping is in his blood now but of course he loves nothing better than staying in a MOTEL!!!
I won't pretend that camping is at all easy. In fact I know lots of people who think camping with 3 able bodied children is completely insane (or in fact even without children). Camping is an acquired taste and we love it. The truth is it is the only way that we can afford to holiday for the entire summer school holiday break.
I saw in a documentary recently that couples who share adrenalin pumping experiences together have better relationships. You know, something that is maybe a bit risky, exciting and scary all at once. Some couples might do a triathlon together, or try sky diving....we hitch up the camper trailer, put the three kids in the back seat, the wheelchair in the boot and head off across the Nullarbor!! That's the adrenalin that keeps our relationship strong in the face of regular hiccups, hardships, and while raising a child with cerebral palsy, autism and a vision impairment.
With a bit of very precious encouragement from a special friend, I thought that maybe some of the things we have experienced on our adventures may be helpful to other families. Maybe other people would like to hear about more than the happy overview of each day of our journey. Perhaps knowing where to find wheelchair access is helpful!!! YES!! It most certainly would be. If you have a child (or you're caring for an adult) with continence issues accessible bathrooms are fairly necessary.

We intend to continue our journeys around the country for many years to come, but with that we know we will continue to face new difficulties. Each trip has posed issues that stem from Campbell's autism or physical disabilities (or both) and this will always be the case. Maybe we could help to make it easier for others who have the same desire to camp across the country (there must be someone else as crazy as us out there) by talking more openly about the problems we faced and addressed.

Thank you to that very kind friend of mine who planted that seed and kept me awake with words bouncing around in my head. I will thoroughly enjoy reflecting on our amazing experiences and sharing some of our methods for maintaining sanity on long road trips with 3 bored kids in the back seat.

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