Stress-free camping? Not here.

There is a difference between living in a campground and staying in a campground. Having lived in the same campground for more than two weeks I have observed the comings and goings of many campers.

Some people create miniature fiefdoms, complete with tents, dining area and multiple folding chairs. Others erect a small tent and go exploring. Our camp site has a prickly measure of permanence to it.

We have a large tarp and an 8-person tent. The footprint of our tent occupies most of our site. If you were to look closely, you might catch a glimpse of a toolbox placed under our tent-fly storage area.

Most mornings, my seven year-old son, Paul, lights a campfire. I am happy to have him do this as it keeps him busy while I arrange breakfast. The fire pit is under our tarp. And, when our campfire springs to life, the air becomes thick with wood smoke.

Based on that description we aren’t too far removed from camping in the traditional sense. But while most campers might use their site as a base for socializing or sightseeing, our campsite is a hotbed of phone calls and planning for our upcoming seagoing adventure.

Tonight, I watched my husband pace as he talked on his cellphone, rubbing his head as he spoke. It is a full-time job researching and ordering parts for the refit of our St Francis 50 catamaran.

Today he spent some time at a Starbucks researching a stereo system for our boat. And, there are other boat components that beg for attention. The stereo system has to be installed this week as my husband’s cousin (and master carpenter) is preparing the cabinetry for it.

Our target date to sail is August 15th, and all of the refits must be completed by that time. On August 15th we have skipper arriving to help familiarize us with our boat and to seek out a hurricane hole in the Florida Keys.

Before we leave Ottawa we have to update our wills, arrange a mail service and give power of attorney to our lawyer. I haven’t touched on what it’s like to do this and look after four children who run in all directions in a campground. Today, for example, our four-year old Henry escaped into another camper’s tent and refused to leave.

Meanwhile, we are interacting with professional folks in shorts.  We may not have showered. And, despite our best efforts – we almost certainly smell like wood smoke.

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