There really is a difference between “traveling” by RV or trailer, and “camping”. When we are in the big thirty-foot Airstream Safari, we travel. We stay in campgrounds fairly often but we don’t make camp fires, or cook outside, or lounge around in hammocks. Instead, we go exploring the local area, do our grocery shopping, work, school, have business meetings, and get together with friends in the area. This can go on for months at a time, even years. It’s a great lifestyle, but it’s not camping.
Things are different in the Caravel. We’re forced into camping mode just by the diminutive nature of the trailer. We can’t carry much stuff, and the tiny size of the trailer encourages one to sit, nap, eat, and socialize in the great outdoors.
I find this to be a refreshing change from the full-time travel experience. “Think Small,” was the slogan of Volkswagen in the 1960s, and it could as easy be the slogan for tiny travel trailers. By thinking small, we are forced to focus on the under-appreciated little things, like the sweet smell of blooming flowers on a spring day as you sit outside with a book. Suddenly, without many distractions indoors, you start to notice the bees pollinating nearby, the songs of birds in the morning, and the sensation of tensions easing as your subconscious accepts that today you have “nothing” pressing to do except relax.
Two weeks ago when we were at Picacho Peak I was reflecting on our neighbors, who were camping in teardrop trailers. Except for motorcycle trailers, teardrops are the smallest camping units on wheels you can find. The interior is usually just large enough for two people to lie down, or sit with a book. Cooking is done, by design and necessity, outdoors from a “chuck wagon” built into the rear of the trailer. If you want further shelter, you’ll have to pitch a tent. This minimalist lifestyle strikes me as a great system when you really want to disconnect for a few days. Only by stripping away all the accoutrements that we gather around ourselves, can you really get back to yourself. I get the same feeling when we tent camp — it’s much less comfortable than either of the Airstreams, but it’s fun.
This weekend we are heading to Chiricahua National Monument in southeastern Arizona. We’ll take the little Caravel and spend the weekend hiking the great trails. There will be no TV, no cell phones, no water slides. But there will be a “wonderland of rocks” and splendid vistas from the peaks, plus plenty of quality family time of a type we don’t get when we are at home. If you are in the area and interested in joining us, just drop by Bonita Canyon Campground (max trailer length 28 feet). It’s first-come, first-served and the campground fills up most nights at this time of year, so get there early!