Having spent most of the summer on motorhome aires, which allowed us to visit some incredible places very cheaply, these last few weeks we have really appreciated a slightly different way of campsite life, drawing us to reflect on how much and why a campsite can add so much to our sense of happiness and wellbeing. Click here to read our best and worst bits of campsite life.
The Practical Benefits of a Temporary Roots
In addition, having access to mains electricity is possibly one of the most important advantages to us; allowing us to charge up our phone, computer etc with far more ease. Plus we can relax in the knowledge that fresh water and waste emptying facilities are only ever a stroll away. Touring around not knowing where your next refill or empty can take place was a small but ever present niggle of stress during our most active and mobile days through summer and autumn (especially when we stayed for several days in the mountains where motorhome service stations were few and far between).
Obviously the level of enjoyment bought about by these creature comforts varies massively from campsite to campsite, where the variation in the quality of facilities is vast. The enjoyment of taking a nice long shower is massively diminished when the water is lukewarm, the floors are in need of a good scrub and the block is open to the chilly evening air. Despite whatever the photos imply or the campsite description says, until you pitch up we've found you really can't count on the quality of the campsite.
Even personal reviews and recommendations from others can be a bit flaky since everyone has different standards, expectations and desires. For instance, before we arrived at Los Escullos, some people we had told we were coming here explicitly said "Why? There's nothing there; no bars, restuarants or anything" but for us the quiet, remote, natural setting is exactly what we wanted.
|Not a bad setting for some temporary roots over winter!|
There is also a key difference between our more fleeting visits and our current situation of staying put for some weeks in terms of both mindset and lifestyle that affects how much we get out of campsite life. Whilst on our short summer and autumn visits to campsites we certainly appreciated the access to some more conventional facilities (as well as 'treat facilities' such as swimming pools and spas), it is perhaps not true to say we enjoyed them or perhaps relaxed into them. After all, it was still fine weather in the mountains and in our minds that meant peaks to climb and cols to cycle up. Stopping a while to recharge both ourselves and our motorhome may have felt necessary, but we also wanted to hit the road again soon and had a list of 'chores' to tick off. Sometimes we actually felt busier during those 'static' days than we did on activity days. This winter, in contrast, we know we have access to those facilities for the weeks ahead. They are not time limited in the same way and that relaxation brings a much deeper enjoyment to us.
The Mindful Benefits of Temporary Roots
Before we set off some acquaintances who had traveled extensively had told us that everyone who travels, in the end feels a need to put down some roots again for at least a while, whether that be after 3 months or 3 years. We were far too exhilarated by the thrill of the open road in summer to think that this might be the case on our tour. But as winter has compelled us to move further and further south in search of sun and our options for outdoor adventures in the high Alps and Pyrenees disappeared we did start to feel a pull to rest up a while and take stock of how much had changed in the past months.
This sense of calm and restfulness has given us lots of space to think as well. We've felt inspired to start learning again, completing an online course. We've also hosted a family visit and found time to enjoy more social interactions with our fellow guests. We've even found ourselves enjoying the company of our new friend Felix, the campsite as well as the simplicity of an evening game of scrabble.
Although we have met many people during our touring months who eschew campsites entirely, implying that they are somehow the expensive and easy option and not as exciting compared to the touring life, our experience is starting to show the opposite may be partially true for us. The ability for us to recharge and put down some temporary roots for the last few weeks may in fact be an important factor in making our tour even more enjoyable overall.
As our time at Camping Los Escullos comes to a close we feel, in the past few days, that we've started to look forward to our touring life once more, with an excitement and vigour that we'd maybe lost sight of the start of winter. In a little under 2 weeks we'll be packing up our handful of possessions once more, moving back into "Homer" and hitting the road. We don't know where we'll be heading to first, but that doesn't really matter. We are definitely looking forward to finding out.