The constant casual meandering and slow shuffle of feet around the town square, is a reminder of how Exmouth in Western Australia is enjoying an unseasonal tourist boom.
Sitting behind me in this popular outdoor cafe is a young family. My partner is relaying to me her observations… otherwise of course known as people watching! One of the children spilt a cup of coffee all over the cafe table. It was clearly not intentional.
However it was the response by the parents that captured her attention. That is, there was no response. No anger. No frustration. No disciplinary action. It was just passed over as just one of these things that happen.
This poor young kid could clearly do no right in the eyes of his unrelenting ranting mother.
It was quite the opposite observation at an earlier tourist campsite. This poor young kid could clearly do no right in the eyes of his unrelenting ranting mother. You just wanted to snatch the kid away from his torment.
School Holidays! Mums, dads, kids all on an adventure. It was now quite the contrast to our past few weeks. Along the never ending coastline, our nearest campsite neighbours was more like fifty metres. Now it was close to fifty centimetres apart. All crammed together, tents, caravans and campers, lined up one after another that looks more like a hot dry version of an Asian city.
Countless tents still shining with new creases, brand new chairs and camping tables, yet untouched by the red dust.
Row after row of families escaping the routines of life back home. Kids buzzing around on their bikes. A young kid, with an expressionless face taking his shark on wheels for a walk. Countless tents still shining with new creases. Brand new chairs and camping tables, yet untouched by the red dust. Covid 19 has meant boom time for the chain of suppliers and services for these many new time family campers.
Behind all the flapping of tents in the unseasonal windy conditions is a microcosm of family life. For the most, somewhere in between that calm chilled out family and that ranting parent. As a family, holidaying can do either of two things. With the challenging break from familiar routines, living together in confined spaces, along with extreme weather, can often bring out the worst in a family. Some we heard of, packed up to go home after just a couple days.
For most others it is a refreshing challenge. The break from normal routines. The fun of roughing it in confined conditions. Coping with weather extremes.
I then consider the times we spent camping with my children as some of the highlights of my life
Above all, it’s an opportunity to spend time as a family. I look back on my childhood at the memorable times we spent camping as a family. I then consider the times spent camping with my children as some of the highlights of my life.
As a grandparent I now love watching the way my children and their partners interact with their children. Dad spending time with his young boys fishing. Watching how each child finds their sweet spot of interest. One son straddled across the wave battered rocks patiently fishing. Another fossicking for crabs, the favoured bait, while the third child just happy amusing himself in the sand. The raw exuberance sharing their excitement with a passerby. “We caught sooo many fish. Yeh we got three fish…” (that was after several hours!).
Have you ever noticed how the stories we laugh about and share for years to come are the instances we experienced together where things went wrong?
Above all, it’s the shared experiences as a family doing things together that makes it special. The family bonding it can create. And as much the family stories that live on for ever.
Have you ever noticed how the stories we laugh about and share for years to come are the instances we experienced together where things went wrong? The stressful moments when it doesn’t go as planned. The tent falls down, or everyone gets drenched in a sudden downpour.
Finding that balance as a parent to deal with the positive stresses and challenges of life, like camping, is what makes being a family on vacation so special…!
What’s some of your most memorable family vacations?