What motivates us?
As the previous post implied, I'm going to get into what camper we finally chose, and how we got there.
But, perhaps just to tease things out a bit, I'm going to take a small diversion, and first introduce my immediate family (what's the antonym of 'immediate family'? Imimmediate? Or maybe just; slow?)
If you want a better reason for the delay other than the suggestion that I'm (a) procrastinating or (b) merely sadistic, then consider that knowing us a little could help you to understand our 'camping motivation'. And if that's still not persuasive, then just bear in mind that I'm also masochistic enough to go through our old photos. For example, check out the top worn in the first photo. Can only have been the late eighties! Poor girl. At least I had some dress sense.
So here goes.
Once upon a time there was a boy who met a beautiful girl, fell in love, got married, had some kids (just about in that order)...
So, all in all pretty normal, right? Ordinary, even.
Hmm. But I'm not so sure. For example, check out the wedding photo. Sarah's already staring at her feet, wondering what the hell she let herself in for.
Trust me, it's impossible to find a semi-sensible picture of our youngest, Lewis. Proof? Okay.
Told you! A healthy dose of anti-authoritarianism creeping in there. Gets it from his mother, me thinks. Mind you, he's not the only one:
Being a psychology and forensic science graduate, I'm pretty sure Beth wore that police uniform beneath a cloak of irony. Perhaps also telling, is her middle name. We didn't give any of the kids middle names... typically they're associated with religious connotations, and since Sarah and I are in that 3% minority who accept that we live and then we die and the Universe doesn't give a crap, we didn't want to drive them one way or another. As they grew up, we told them that they could pick their own - if they found that they subscribed to Christianity, or Buddhism or whatever, fine. Pick a name(s). Ibrahim Noah Gabriel Shristi Leonardo has a good ring to it.
Beth chose Storm.
And then there's the eldest, Laura-jane (or simply, Laura - no middle name (yet)), who's the very image of restraint and supplication... a history Master student whose latest dissertation focussed upon the benefits of suffragette militancy.
Between the three of them? Forgive me, world.
Like I say, I blame it all on their mother. She's the real hellraiser. Sarah Jane, otherwise affectionately known as 'Luton', is an international artist. You can see her work @ www.sarahjanehickson.com
Not only an artist, but Sarah takes a mean photo too. Odds are that if you find a photo anywhere in my blogs that particularly strikes you, then it's Sarah's. I stick to the writing, Sarah's the photographer.
Sarah has several passions in life besides her family; art, coffee, cake, Halo and trying to predict the end of the world/civilization/Universe. She has subscriptions to the NASA NEO project, Severe Weather International Zealots Zociety (SWIZZ), and a personal alarm linked to Kyoto University's Sakurajima Volcanological Observatory. Pretty much a life-long vegetarian, she often finds it difficult to source veggie food when we're away (hence tends to stick to coffee, cake and the odd cigarette), and this is one of the reasons we don't like hotel or catered holidays. When we ask the obvious question in restaurants, the majority of exchanges can be summarised as follows:
"I'm a vegetarian. What can I eat on the menu?"
a. "Everything. Just most of it you won't like."
b. (Said with enormous pride, as if they're planning a rabbit warren's summer banquet): "We can rustle up a salad. Ooh, lettuce? Yummy, eh? Cucumber? Ooh, wait. We have some Nepalese grass, just in from... Nepal. No, hang on. That's not for you."
c. (Said with poorly disguised disgust): "Oh. I see. Well... err... we only serve biological beef/fish/lamb [as if there are non-biological meat-eating options?]. Is that okay?"
d. "I can just pick the bacon out?"
e. "Really? Shit. "
Then, of course, there's me. The sensible, sober one (well, these days. Maybe.).
I like writing, and still harbour hope of becoming 'an author', but mostly I love the escapism of my own created worlds. You can read some of my work on this website (please leave some feedback!)
I also love the self-sufficiency of backpacking - I recently spent two weeks walking through the southern part of the Outer Hebrides (Barradise), together with Lewis and the sixth member of the family, Zep, our Jack Russell. He's utterly insane and fits our family perfectly (choose for yourself whom I refer to).
Key characteristics? I'm not very good at doing nothing. The idea of lying on a beach or by the pool for my holidays fills me with terror. I start twitching and reading the Daily Mail. Or arguing the benefits of Brexit or a Trump U.S. presidency. I get bored. Easily. Although I am well known for my even temper and patience with bloody idiots.
Strangely enough, I also like to drive. I'm not into big, fast cars; I prefer the autonomy of more rugged vehicles. Incidentally "Rosie" is for sale...
It's entirely true: it's not the destination (nor how fast you get there), but the journey that counts. To borrow from the American poet, Robert Frost:
Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
For sure, the 'prepper' nature of managing off the grid is a big motivation for my camper preferences. Let's return to that subject.