Intense fears for that holiday under canvas

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If you could go on holiday anywhere in the world, where would you like to go?’ I asked my five-year-old daughter Caitlin.

This was not in anticipation of actually booking a holiday you understand. It was just a random question to see what answer she would give.

As she had the whole world to choose from, she could have picked anywhere. I would have put money on the words ‘Disney World’ coming out of her mouth, but if I had done that my wallet would have been a lot lighter.

To my surprise and without giving it much thought, she simply said: ‘Camping.’ By this, she meant camping in a tent in a field somewhere.

We’ve been to a campsite before, but we stayed in a caravan with a toilet, electricity and comfy beds. It even had a television and DVD player to keep us all entertained.

So if Caitlin gets her wish our next trip will be very different.

I’m open to the idea of living in a tent for a few days, but I worry my expectation will be very different to the reality. For example, I expect it will be a great opportunity to relax, take the weight off my feet and chill out for a few days. I worry that in reality I’ll constantly be trying to keep everything and everyone dirt-free while cooking beans over a fire and then washing the dishes with baby wet wipes.

I also expect that as a family we’ll get closer to nature and by sleeping in a tent together, we’ll become closer to each other.

Probably, the reality will be the four of us in a tight and confined space, all hot and sweaty and sleeping on the ground. It will mean no one getting much sleep and we’ll spend the next day tired and grumpy.

Another expectation is that my daughters will be able to roam free and make as much noise as they want and they’ll be able to keep themselves entertained for hours.

In reality, they’ll have to keep the noise down because it’ll be so quiet at night you’ll be able to hear a fly land on top of your tent and the guests without children in the next tent will be trying to sleep.

Also, there is only so much entertainment a large grass field can bring, so the mobile phone will come out and we’ll all be huddled around it hoping for a good enough signal to watch the Disney Channel.

I may have to ask Caitlin the question again or at least explain to her the advantages of staying in a caravan compared to a tent.