Last month, a few friends met up with Alyssa and I in The Great Smoky Mountain National Park in east Tennessee. I was not-so-secretly stoked to have not one, but three different friends all staying the night in our RV. Even though we’ve lived in an RV for two years, this was the first time we’d had a slumber party of this magnitude.
Plus, it would be everyone’s first time RV camping. I felt like we really needed to “do it big.”
Once we got set up at our campsite we all took off for a hike around Cade’s Cove Campground. In true millennial fashion, we got lost a couple times and stopped every five minutes to take pictures for our Instragram.
However, we did rough it a little bit and gather up some wood for a campfire. I wish I could tell you I kindled two rocks together to light the fire, but we both know that would be a lie. We used a lighter and paper.
We sat outside drinking wine and snacking on chips. We almost grilled the chicken over the fire, but why work that hard when you can just bake it in the oven? While my wife cooked inside, we all sat around enjoying watching the last glints of sunshine break through the treetops.
I’ll be honest with you here: We had every intention of eating outside. That’s what campers do, right? But it was a little chilly so we all moved indoors. Don’t worry, we still made it back outside to roast marshmallows, watch the stars and enjoy a quiet evening in nature. That’s gotta count for something.
Somehow, as we were talking and connecting and enjoying being in a place where no one had cell service, we all found ourselves piled on the couch picking out a movie. I couldn’t tell you how it happened. The big screen TV beckoned us inside. So we all settled in and watched the Proposal before falling asleep.
(How many counts against us is that? We cooked inside, ate inside, used our iPhones way too much while hiking, watched a movie…yikes.)
The next morning after we all slept in, I brought out our espresso machine and started making lattes. Most people don’t think of drinking lattes while camping in a national park, but those people probably don’t travel with an espresso machine on hand. (Mornings are hard. Sometimes you need a latte).
I know what you’re probably thinking. Kids these days. They’re all about gadgets, comfort, lattes and entertainment. And you’d be partially right, especially about the lattes.
But here’s the thing.
Alyssa and I didn’t choose to live in an RV full-time because we loved to sleep outside on the ground and take “baby-wipe showers”. If we wanted that lifestyle, we would have saved ourselves some money and just bought a tent.
We enjoy the luxuries our RV offers. I’ve always felt our camping style fell somewhere in between the die-hard tent-campers and the 45 ft luxury buses. We don’t want to pick ants out of our butts and we don’t need heated tile floors. But espresso shots and a Sandra Bullock love-comedy while in the woods? Why not.
Some people who tent-camp on the weekends might live in a home or apartment year round. For them, an opportunity to camp is a chance to escape modern luxuries in exchange for a couple days of primitive living. For us, we live in our RV year round. We dump our black and grey tanks year round. We have a six gallon propane tank of hot water to use before it gets ice cold. We have limited water usage when not hooked up and always struggle with wifi (talk about a luxury item).
I have no desire or feel no pressure to be perceived as a high and mighty camper who roughs it in national parks. Compared to most, we rough it all year by living in an RV full-time while most of our friends have cozy apartments, swimming pools, on-site gym facilities and unlimited hot water (oh, how I miss you). If you ever decide to come camping with us, we will happily let you set up your tent outside our RV. We’ll sleep on our memory foam mattress.